It's no longer viable for companies to spend on IT services without hope of return — the days of unrestrained “cost center” efforts are quickly vanishing as businesses look for ways to make information technology part of board room discussions. To achieve this aim, many organizations turn to ITIL (formerly the Information Technology Infrastructure Library), which is designed to standardize IT processes and apply consistent practices across the entire technology life cycle. However, that's just the beginning — here's a look at the top five benefits of adopting ITIL.
As noted by Tech Target, the need for better IT management reached critical mass in the 1980s, with the advent of decentralized compute resources and geographically disparate server stacks. Variations in performance and processes created imbalance, which in turn hampered the overall utility of IT services. The ITIL framework includes five core publications that are periodically updated in response to technology changes — the most recent version, ITIL V3, was released in 2011.
Better Business Bonds
The first big benefit of adopting ITIL is better alignment between IT teams and overall business strategy. By standardizing IT processes and lifecycles, executives can better predict the cost of specific service deployments and shift the role of IT from back-end cost center to front-facing revenue partner. In effect, ITIL brings technology teams in line with other business departments, rather than relegating IT to the role of outsider. This falls under the first “stage” of ITIL: Service Strategy, which focuses on optimizing your IT environment to support business process.
Next on the list of ITIL benefits is improved service, informed by the second stage of the framework, Service Design. By optimizing IT deployments, it's possible to reduce the chance of over- or under-provisioning solutions — such as cloud computing resources, data storage space or network bandwidth. Instead of best guesses and vague assurances, you get the benefit of clear, actionable metrics that provide the foundation for sensible change. Customer satisfaction also stands to benefit — ITIL can help identify both bottlenecks in service and the root cause of these issues, letting you proactively tackle core problems instead of treating symptoms.
Visibility is also a core benefit of ITIL, but comes with a caveat. As noted by CIO, it's important to lay the groundwork for ITIL before rolling out any new IT framework. Start with questions: What specific problem are you trying to solve or processes are you trying to improve? With a clear understanding of purpose, you can design a best-fit deployment.
Here, the relevant framework comes from stage four: Service Operation. By implementing processes that clearly describe IT costs and assets, it's possible to better predict overall spend and achieve granular control over IT budgets — with the right operations plan in place, transparency becomes the foundation of IT.
Rolling out ITIL can also help reduce the risk of service disruption and improve your response in the event of a disaster or power failure. Stage three, Service Transition, speaks to this benefit: By drafting an IT-wide process for creating, deploying and moving IT services, you significantly reduce total risk, since each part of the transition is detailed rather than assumed. The same holds true for disaster recovery efforts. Designing a plan concentrating on business impact and speedy recovery — and that is regularly tested — lowers the risk of catastrophic loss after a severe weather event or server failure.
Double Down on DevOps
Last on the list is a brighter future for IT by partnering ITIL with DevOps. As noted by Forbes, some companies see this relationship as antagonistic and view DevOps as the logical replacement for ITIL. Yet stage five of the framework, Continual Service Improvement (CSI), suggests otherwise. Just as “traditional” IT processes can benefit from the standardization offered by ITIL, so too can more agile DevOps initiatives. By building in a feedback loop of process improvement, it's possible to increase the value of DevOps efforts without losing any other key benefits of ITIL adoption.
Time to shift IT from back office to front and center? Start with a call to Column Technologies. We're certified ITIL experts and can help design a deployment plan that matches your needs and maximizes the value of these key benefits.