Friday, April 28, 2006

ITIL and aligning Business to IT

Earlier this week I attended a seminar titled "ITIL and Aligning Business to IT". I wondered what the connection was and how can ITIL facilitate the nemesis of all CIOs "IT-Business alignment" considering that ITIL has been around for over 20 years and rarely this connection has been made.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library developed in the UK for controlling the chaos in IT services and creating a consistency in what IT does remained a good case study for long until it became obvious to many that there were indeed a few good practices that could be adopted by other IT Organizations to improve their internal ratings with their customers. Consultants created practices, Software organizations started talking about ITIL compliant tools and suddenly a market for ITIL certified professionals began to appear.

Having implemented ITIL practices across two different companies in the last 3 years, I was wondering how the SDIM (Service Delivery Incident Management) and other formalized practices like Change management, Configuration management etc will help create a better business alignment if the underlying technology or solution is not compliant to business requirements or if your customers don't like the way you look.

As the seminar unfolded, we had the vendors' view of how their tools bring you closer to the holy grail and then a consultant from the big consulting organizations presented his perspective. It was but fortunate for me that the subsequent panel discussion between CIOs, the vendor and the consultant had one dropout and thus creating an opening for me to be called upon to fill in the gap. It's becoming a bit irritating to be pulled off the audience onto the stage regularly with no preparation.

So I asked the question to the panel braving brickbats from the audience for asking such a stupid thing.

ITIL provides consistency in service delivery that comprises typically 70-80% of the activity carried out by most IT organizations. It ensures that the experience does not have elements of surprise irrespective of rank and order in the enterprise. ITIL defines everything explicitly and expects commitment to deliver which some IT shops do extremely well and a few even with internal Service Level Agreements (SLA).

The underlying assumptions being that the systems, hardware, networks etc are well crafted and architected, services and service levels promised are in line with expectations and effective usage of these systems by the users, ITIL will create harmonious co-existence between IT and business. There you are !

Now you know how ITIL will help you align IT with business ? No ? Then if you find the answer let me also know.