ITIL Version 3 is All Business

“v3 closes the gaps,” said Potter. “That, however, may prove to be a two-edged sword as the companies that can’t or don’t care to involve the business will not do v3 for very reason that business must be involved.”

What To Do?

So what should users do that are in the midst of an ITIL v2 project? Potter suggests it is probably best to stay the course with in-flight ITIL implementations as they already have senior management buy-in. Once ITIL is in place, the project team should have an after-action taskforce review the differences between the two versions, see if there’s anything that brings additional value to the organization and only then commission work to tweak the processes.

On the other hand, some organizations are struggling to commence ITIL because they failed to achieve a common point of understanding among their various stakeholders. In a case like this, Potter said it may be best to switch to v3 as it will probably facilitate better understanding. ITIL v3’s changed viewpoint does a good job of communicating the business value of ITIL.

Using the service perspective of v3 will permit senior managers to better understand the advantages IT brings to the organization, both from a service quality and a cost perspective. Since it is more customizable, ITIL will meet the organizations needs more closely than with the older method which made use of generic process views. As a result, the odds of success improve because the solution is designed just for that organization and described in terms that both senior IT and business management will understand.

Products Proliferate

Vendors, of course, are quick to come out with products that facilitate the move towards ITIL and incorporate the v3 changes. TeamQuest Performance Software v10.1, for example, includes the concept of IT Resources which aligns closely with ITIL methodology. Additionally, TeamQuest IT Service Analyzer permits quicker identification of performance-related issues. Capacity managers can drill down to isolate affected services and users, and determine the exact reason for bottlenecks before they snowball into major problems. This facilitates the accomplishment of many of the capacity management goals of ITIL v3.

CA for example, has just released Unicenter Server Catalog that enables IT services to be defined, delivered and consumed in business terms. It provides a centralized source of information for all services. By keeping IT informed about who is requesting and consuming resources as well as the frequency with which they’re doing so. It also aids in demands in demand planning and allocation.

“Organizations need to ensure their IT spend is directed where it will do the most good and deliver the best returns,” said David Hurwitz, vice president of product marketing at CA. “Unicenter Service Catalog enables the business and IT staff to work cooperatively and implement best practices that optimize IT spending.”

But ITIL isn’t the answer to everything. While v3 encourages business and IT to coordinate, it takes real live communication between CIOs and line of business heads to relate ITIL to their own environment. And from there, they need to align it closely to ongoing programs and strategies.

“ITIL is high-level and focuses on what should be done, but doesn’t describe at a detailed level how to do it,” said Gartner research director Ed Holub. “It is important that IT and business executives work together to understand what specific business problems they are trying to resolve, and how ITIL can be an enabler to solving them.”