IT service management (ITSM) is an essential tool in creating a stable, well-managed IT infrastructure, which itself is the cornerstone of a successful enterprise in today’s challenging market conditions. By Edward Carbutt, executive director of Marval Africa
Supporting ITSM requires the right combination of people, process, product and partners. These four P’s are the foundation of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a pragmatic, flexible set of best practice guidelines for the delivery of ITSM.
However, while ITIL provides guidelines on what should be done, in order to achieve effective IT governance, this process needs to be measurable and backed by auditable standards. This is where ISO20000 comes into effect, providing rules for what must be done to comply with the standard.
To understand how ITIL and ISO20000 support the effective management of services, it is necessary firstly to understand what a service is. According to ITIL, a service is “a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating the outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks”. While this may seem complex, the key takeaway is the word “value” – service management is all about ensuring the value of services is greater than the cost of delivering them.
Value can only be achieved if services are fit for purpose and meet specific user requirements. ITIL effectively provides the framework for ensuring services deliver value, but it is non-prescriptive and cannot be enforced. ISO20000 on the other hand gives ITIL the ‘teeth’ it needs to be effective, by enforcing best practices and standards.
In the ISO20000 standard, the guidelines from ITIL are made measurable and enforceable, which is an essential part of continual service improvement. ISO20000 provides standards, against which progress can be measured, to ensure improvements are made, and insists on evidence to prove quality and progress. In addition, the ability to externally audit and benchmark ISO20000 provides the required governance controls and accountability for improved IT governance and compliance with a multitude of regulations and legislation.
By adopting ITIL practices and then working towards the standards and certification of ISO20000, businesses not only leverage improved service management, but automatically benefit from governance and compliance improvements.
In the next issue, Carbutt will discuss the importance of aligning IT with strategic business objectives in order to improve value and efficiency, and how ITIL adoption can help organisations to achieve this.