Framework puts focus on best practice

Today it may be a common framework used by IT organizations across the globe but ITIL is basically an encyclopedia of IT best practices enabling in-house service delivery.

It has the support of accredited training organizations and also of public and private sector organizations across the globe.

Aiden Lawes, chief executive officer of the itSMF, said that on a global scale, organizations are turning to the ITIL handbooks to gain a clear understanding of the value they get from their IT; however, to their dismay they discover that their IT investments are not worthwhile because they are under utilized.

In Australia, Lawes said this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

"Some organizations only focus on technology rather than the role technology and services play in business," Lawes said.

"The key driver for adopting the ITIL principles in Australia is the necessity for business to get into a dialogue with IT; we need business and IT to speak a common language of technology and in Australia businesses are starting to take notice of the importance of ITIL.

"Four years ago there were 80 people at the Australian itSMF and now there are 400 people which reflects the take up, globally, of improving IT service management."

IT service management consultant Karen Ferris agrees with Lawes, stating that the underlying issue to the adoption of ITIL standards is global best practice, the groundwork for providing common sense.

"ITIL allows you as an organisation to work around vendors and also gives you the ability to do additional support framework," Ferris said.

"Organizations should be getting their processes defined upfront as opposed to buying an application or service by price and then shoving the organization into a tool; those that have purchased a tool have now realized it is driving their business as opposed to meeting their business needs."

Ferris said the driver behind the adoption of ITIL in Australia is the fact that organizations want a standard as 'best practice', so customers, vendors, and IT staff talk the same language. Once government agencies fully implement ITIL process, the private sector will follow suit, she added.

Ken Doughty, a former CIO with betting agency Tab Limited and now lecturer at Macquarie University, was responsible for pushing nearly 100 staff through the ITIL implementation in an environment that not only demands real-time access for customers but deals with some 40,000 transactions per minute under peak load.

The fact that they were coping with that many transactions meant that at the front-end, customer service principles had to be refined and thorough.

Using the ITIL framework Doughty was able to reduce operational expenditure by 14 percent, but more importantly, Doughty said, using the ITIL protocols allowed him to drive change through at the staff level.

"You have to drive the service management change through, encourage debates and ultimately be responsible for your decisions," Doughty said. "The new generation of CIOs are no longer in their comfort zone and now have to be pro-active instead of re-active when it comes down to cutting loss. I pushed 64 staff out of 100 through the ITIL course and it delivered results well under budget," he said.

"Past failures in service management [implementation] have made executives and management more wary, which means you need a change in culture to be pro-active and IT service management, generally, is about giving management the confidence that we can deliver."

Michael Crawford flew to Melbourne as a guest of the itSMF

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