ITIL can reach beyond IT

Can ITIL ever step out of the IT department to deliver board level value? asks Rick Firth, managing director of Parity Training.


IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has the capacity to drive the strategic aspects of IT in every business. And with the introduction of version three, the goal is to raise ITIL awareness to board level and deliver quantifiable business value.

Yet how realistic is this objective? Today, despite widespread adoption of ITIL processes, few organisations have attained a true business-led IT focus.

According to research undertaken on behalf of Parity, today less than 40% of IT Service Managers measure IT Service Management value to the whole business and only 27% have measured the return on investment of ITIL implementations within their organisations.

Instead, most are focused exclusively on internal customer satisfaction ratings. Yet with the majority of organisation functional departments demonstrating little or no interest in the process of IT service delivery, perhaps these figures are no surprise.

Even with the arrival of ITIL version 3 (ITIL v3), IT departments face a massive challenge if they are to break out of the IT enclave and delivery true, quantifiable value that is acknowledged across the business.

Customer service

Over the past decade ITIL has become the management language of the IT profession. It promises to align IT with current and future needs of the business and its customers, to improve quality of service delivered and reduce cost.

The reality is that while ITIL has gained huge acceptance across both public and private sectors, the vast majority of organisations only implement Service Desk and Incident Management functions. The result is a strong transaction-level focus across Service Management that bears little or no relation to business value.

The good news is that successful ITIL implementations have undoubtedly transformed the quality of IT customer service over the past decade. On behalf of Parity the Market Research Group based at Bournemouth University asked IT Service Managers their views and opinion on the level of integration of ITIL within the business and how it is currently measured.

Topping this list is a clear commitment to customer service, measured by 87.2% of IT Service Managers, whilst transactions and incidents are measured by 83.3%. Only 39.7% measure IT Service Management as a value to the whole business, whilst a paltry 27% of respondents measured the return on investment of ITIL implementations within their organisations.

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