When most ITIL devotees hear about COBIT (which stands for Control Objectives for IT) the tendency is for them to question why on Earth yet another governance system would be needed. After all, doesn’t ITIL deal directly with virtually all governance issues in IT? Though ITIL and COBIT are similar in their scope and duties they are in fact meant to be used in different ways, or rather, both systems perform specific duties which seem similar but really aren’t.
ITIL tends to focus toward specific services which are to be delivered by an IT organization (including all the various methodologies which have been developed for these ends). COBIT, on the other hand, is geared toward identifying what needs to be directed within IT and how these elements are to be measured / calculated. Does this imply that ITIL and COBIT are perfect partners in every regard? No, of course not; any time you start combining governance and framework methodologies there will be adjustments that need to be made. Simply put; ITIL and COBIT are both sufficiently complex enough that incorporating them simultaneously could be seen as a sort of trail and error process. However, those organizations which figure out how to utilize both ITIL and COBIT will greatly benefit in at least 3 different ways.
- Future alterations and additions are more streamlined because standardized processes have been put into place.
- The entire IT operation is more transparent and understood by a larger percentage of employees.
- Efficiency is improved and there is a better system in place for dealing with and/or preventing lapses.
While ITIL is about hands on methodologies for problem solving in a real world setting using proven processes, COBIT (as previously mentioned) is about IT governance. The components of IT governance are as follows:
- Performance Management – Keeping track of progress and shortfalls
- Strategic Alignment – Aligning business interests with the capabilities of IT
- Risk Management – Dodging disasters through ongoing assessment of risk(s)
- Value Delivery – Ensuring that IT services are cost effective
- Resource Management – Further adjudication of IT assets / resources
As you are likely well aware, ITIL is intimately associated with IT service management. So, whereas COBIT is centrally focused on the big picture concerning what IT should be doing, ITIL deals with the individual components, or services, which comprise a functional system. The components of IT service management are as follows:
- Quality Management
- Delivery and support
- Control objectives
- Program management
- Security management
While both IT governance and service management may seem to be nearly identical upon first glance, they are in fact situated on entirely different levels. A simple analogy would be; if COBIT is equivalent with the plot / outline of a novel, then ITIL would be a chapter by chapter synopsis. This isn’t a perfect illustration of course, but hopefully it helps to highlight what each system does (or should be doing).
If you are an IT professional or manager, chances are, you’re probably interested in ITIL training and / or certification. The question is; what is the best type of program to study if COBIT is being implemented in tandem with ITIL? In truth, any dedicated and thorough ITIL program is sufficient enough to help IT workers align themselves with upper level governance strategies. But an ITIL Intermediate program is arguably the most prudent choice for the greatest percentage of IT professionals simply because it is extremely thorough in addition to being centered on the IT service lifecycle. An ITIL Intermediate program is also not nearly as intensive (or expensive) as the requirements to achieve the ITIL expert certificate, and bulk pricing for multiple licenses are often available as well (assuming you are an IT manager who wants your team to get certified/trained in ITIL).
So, what is it that makes Intermediate training a perfect companion for instituting additional COBIT practices? The information, methodologies, and processes outlined in ITIL Intermediate allow individual workers to focus on specific components of IT service management, while not interfering with the upper level decision making process inherent to a system like COBIT.
If you are ready to plunge into ITIL Intermediate it is highly advisable that you seek out a fine e-leaning program in lieu of traditional classroom training. There are several reasons as to why e-learning is the superior choice (especially for IT careerists):
- Digitally delivered e-learning for ITIL (Intermediate) is extremely cost effective, often costing 4 to 8 times less than other educational methods.
- Course materials are viewable on virtually any device, including PC’s, Mac’s, Tablets, Laptops, and Smartphones. This gives you the ability to study whenever, and however you choose. Perfect for busy career schedules.
- Greater care is often taken to organize course materials so that learning is facilitated to a greater degree (retention of information).
- Most ITIL Intermediate e-learning programs come with bundled certification preparation (sometimes with coupons for free testing).
The simple fact of the matter is that employers in nearly every field of business and technology are coming to depend upon ITIL certification and training. Today, most businesses expect potential or current IT employees to have some form of ITIL education; (look at it from their point of view; they are simply trying to put their best foot forward and protect their assets).
For some of the best ITIL Intermediate e-learning programs currently available, click here.