These days organisations use IT for a variety of purposes. Not just for the basic administrative tasks like accounting and filing but increasingly for things like:
- To revolutionise the way they operate, communicate and do business
- To develop and innovate, gain market advantage and differentiate themselves to their end customers
- To drive increased productivity and efficiency, improve business processes, make cost savings, and increase sales and growth
- To communicate with a larger, more global marketplace
The quality of an organisation’s IT maturity is also reflected in its reputation and brand and it has a direct impact upon sales and revenue. The cost of IT though, is never insignificant – so it is essential to get good value from all IT investments. Often though, this value is not realised. For an IT investment to provide benefit, the resulting IT service needs to be well planned, well designed, well managed and well delivered.
And this is precisely what the practice of “IT Service Management” is all about. In essence IT service management is:
- The professional practice of planning, designing, developing, delivering and optimizing IT services that are both fit for purpose and fit for use, thereby providing best value and return on investment for the organization.
- A specialized discipline, which includes the processes, methods, activities, functions and roles that a service provider needs in order to deliver IT services which provide business value for customers.
- A growing profession of people, skilled and committed to delivering high-quality IT services which bring measurable value for businesses.
The growing importance of Service Management, and the fact that so many organisations get it wrong, has led to a steady interest in something called ITIL. And so great has been the recent focus on this aspect of IT that more and more IT professionals consider a qualification in ITIL more important than the more traditional courses like PRINCE, the leading methodology.
ITIL is the most widely adopted guidance for IT service management worldwide. It is a non-proprietary best practice that can be adapted for use in all business and organizational environments.
ITIL was created by experts who incorporated the learning experiences and practices of leading organisations, ‘best-in-class’ practitioners and IT service providers from around the world. Since its introduction in the early 1990s, ITIL has proved its worth through the positive impact it has brought to businesses that adopt its practices.
ITIL essentially provides an extensive body of knowledge, capabilities and skills. It is accessible through publications, training, qualifications and support tools, and is available in many languages and its central value proposition centres on the IT service provider.
ITIL adopts a ‘lifecycle’ approach to IT services and has five areas of focus – service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement. More and more business leaders are recognising that good IT service management is essential to achieve business benefits from IT at an agreed and controlled cost. Without good IT service management, it is far too common for IT projects to fail or go well over budget at project stage, for ongoing IT costs of ownership to spiral out of control, and for businesses to fail to achieve the benefits they expected. Good IT service management is therefore the key that unlocks the value of IT investments.
In terms of the drive for improved quality and accreditation ITIL is rapidly becoming one of IT’s cornerstones and more and more professionals are studying for the ITIL qualification in order to demonstrate their understanding of this critically important element that links investment in IT and ‘value for money’.