Every builder knows tools are not the goal they are just the means to an end. After talking to his customer the builder knows what the goal is.
He looks over the situation, decides what the solution should be and if he needs screws he reaches into his toolkit and picks up a screwdriver, and if a nail does the trick you guessed it, a hammer.
Models are like tools: not the goal, just the means. In the past if you needed to implement IT control, get a copy of CobiT; if you were working on operational IT processes, ITIL was the answer. Life was so nice and simple in those days.
Over time CobiT developed from just control objectives into a more comprehensive model including domains, processes, control objectives, maturity, etc. It became clear that slowly but surely an overlap started building with that other well established model for IT Organisations (ITIL).
So the first mapping table was created and it became obvious that certain differences in definition were going to create problems for organisations wanting to adopt both models (the different definitions of problem management according to CobiT 3 versus ITIL v2 is a clear example here).
The introduction of CobiT 4 cleared the way of further alignment of both models and the new mapping table shows that the alignment of both models is now indeed more straight forward.
Enter ITIL v3. ITIL, which has its origin as a model for operational run-and-maintain processes, sees the light and introduces new material looking at full-lifecycle management of services (including strategy).
Furthermore ITIL introduces thoughts about business - IT alignment intended to ensure maximum value of IT services. Topics such as strategy and business-IT alignment were considered the domain of IT Governance (i.e. CobiT) so the models come even closer together.
To get back to our example of the builder and his screw and nail. What would happen if new developments in building technology led to a new way of fixing things that integrate the best functionality of screws and nails (let’s call it a “scrail”)?
Do you think the producers of screwdrivers would keep pushing the use of their tool to use when working with scrails while the producer of hammers advertises hammers as the better tool?
I hope not. I would hope the producers come to the conclusion that if screws and nails can merge into a product that combines the best of both designs, so should the tools designed to work with them. The new tool could be a ‘scrammer’!
By Arno Kapteyn