ITIL ® compliance supports goals

Commentary–With the multitude of services and applications at work
throughout an organizations IT infrastructure, businesses require tools
to help them maintain high system availability and performance.

Today, IT infrastructure is the definitive backbone supporting every
mission critical business function. This one fact is the hinge of some
of the industry’s most electric shifts: business service management
(BSM), utility computing and the all encompassing "on-demand"
businesses.

Now, CIOs and IT managers are in a position to constantly prove IT’s
worth and contribution to their businesses–delivering ROI, and
ultimately, supporting corporate business goals.

The business services that generate revenue almost always depend on the
integrity and performance of the IT infrastructure and thus, IT
Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) has emerged as a definition of best
practices for a range of IT disciplines. It is the accepted standard
that enables IT managers to run their business services through a
series of proven processes and methodologies. ITIL® compliance promises
to improve effectiveness, productivity and competitiveness by enabling
organizations to ensure business continuity and efficiency. It’s not
hard to understand why ITIL® is gaining so much traction in today’s
“prove it or lose it” climate.

IT Governance: Making IT accountable for business results IT is a place
where money can be saved, earned or lost–in record time. As a result,
there are more stringent requirements for the IT department to manage
and report on the delivery of IT services relative to standards. With
IT services so vital to the company’s ability to drive profit, they are
now being viewed as corporate investments and measured accordingly.

With delivery of results as the yardstick, companies must understand
their business processes and the IT services on which they depend. This
allows companies to fulfill two fundamental tenets of IT governance –
measuring the value that IT brings to the business, and holding IT
accountable for business results.

Three basic questions are fundamental to this goal:

• What are the IT services that support the company’s key business activities?
• What metrics measure the quality of the business service that is delivered to your customers?
• How can you manage the entire IT infrastructure that supports the key business activities?

Use of a standard IT governance model, such as ITIL®, gives
organizations specific information on how to improve a variety of IT
disciplines associated with service support and service delivery. IT
managers should look for tools which provide a broad set of management
solutions focused on business service, application performance, and
network management that support the best practices recommended in the
ITIL® Service Delivery and Service Support specifications.

ITIL® technology considerations
When considering implementing IT best practices, organizations need to
find an integrated technology solution that improves performance across
applications and business services, assisting the IT department in
mapping services to business needs, measuring the actual end-user
experience and managing across all organizational systems and networks.
CIOs and IT Managers should look for a business service management
(BSM) model which supports service delivery and service support
frameworks in order to strengthen the IT organization’s role as an
equal partner to the rest of the business. By spotlighting the value of
the IT infrastructure to the bottom line of business, ITIL® helps prove
the business case and ROI for ongoing IT investments which can drive
the business.

Tips for successful ITIL® deployment:

1. Start small
IT organizations know what disciplines operate least efficiently and
contribute to user dissatisfaction. Addressing these areas first
provides experience with the process, while quickly relieving pain
points. Many organizations have benefited by simply applying best
practices to the area most in need. So, if for example, you need
availability management, then start there.

2. Document benchmarks
Documenting benchmarks is one way to communicate IT value. The
beginning benchmark lets the organization measure progress. Later
benchmarks serve as a baseline for efficient operations. As IT services
become more highly scrutinized, it becomes more important to quantify
service levels.

3. Get buy-in
Change can be difficult. As with any major initiative, management
buy-in is a must. Significant work is required of the IT department to
deploy best practices for even a few of the IT disciplines, so top-down
endorsement makes the difference. Also, if management is committed to
the process, they will be willing to support training efforts that will
smooth the deployment process.

Business service-oriented organizations everywhere are requesting tools
to meet ITIL® compliance. In fact, according to research, “the next
years will be when when ITIL® goes mainstream.” Organizations require
tools to monitor and manage the service level, application performance
and network management, helping organizations prove IT’s worth. Making
IT investments manageable and cost-effective is the primary objective
when considering an organization’s ROI and implementing best practices
for IT is the most effective method for achieving solid results and
increasing competitiveness.

Biography
Michael Marks is director of strategic alliances and service provider
market development for Concord Communications, Concord Communications
is a global provider of business service management (BSM) software.

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