In today’s world, IT no longer supports the business. IT is the business, and the business is IT. If you turn off IT, nobody will be able to do their job and the business will cease to function. By Edward Carbutt, executive director at Marval Africa
Despite this, however, IT is typically viewed as a black hole where money disappears and value is seldom realised.
Ultimately, investment in IT should drive the three pillars of competitive advantage, by enabling organisations to do things better, faster and cheaper.
The challenge is to manage IT effectively to ensure that value can be delivered from this often significant investment.
Having a stable and well-managed IT infrastructure is critical to the success of any business. Just a few seconds of downtime can end up costing organisations significant amounts of money. Further to this, downtime can result in unsatisfied customers, reputational damage and dips in revenue.
In addition, if the service delivered by IT is slow, inconsistent, unstable or otherwise poor, it impacts on a business’ ability to function and can also interfere with an organisation’s capability to grow and mature.
Businesses change along with market demands and as such, it stands to reason that IT should change too – it must become and remain aligned to the strategic objectives and initiatives of the business. Investment in IT must be supported by evidence to prove that this has resulted in benefits to the business such as satisfied customers, improved value and more productive staff.
The reality is that a stable, well-managed, IT infrastructure does not just happen by itself. It requires hard work, planning and a team effort, underpinned by effective IT Service Management (ITSM). This is achieved by blending the right people, processes, products and partners.
These four Ps are one of the foundations of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which in itself offers a pragmatic, flexible set of best practice guidelines for the delivery of ITSM. ITIL effectively is a documented set of proven processes and guidance that helps organisations manage their IT more effectively for consistent, proactive and accountable services.
The key is not only to deliver value, but to demonstrate this value to the business. ITSM built on the practices of ITIL helps organisations realise and prove the value of IT to the business.
* In the next issue, Carbutt will discuss the role of ITIL in the management of IT services, the need to audit ITSM against ISO20000 standards, and how these practices and standards support IT governance initiatives.