Implementing ITIL is not inexpensive. It takes plenty of effort and costs escalate depending on the complexity of the processes. The implementation calls for workforce for owning and managing processes, and certain tools to aid in achieving specific targets. In short, if an organization needs to implement ITIL, even with minimal set of processes, they must shell out considerable amount of capital expenditure (capex) and ongoing operational expenditure (opex).
If you are going to propose an organization’s IT department to follow ITIL framework, you should expect them to ask what they will achieve out of it. In business terms, what is the return on investment (ROI)? Consultants get hammered with this question time and time again, and the answers are the crux of this post.
Alignment between Business and IT
IT has always been treated step motherly when it comes to managing a business. IT is looked as a supporting function and not as an integral part of an organization. This setup is irrelevant today where technology is expected to drive business. Business needs to start looking at IT as equal partners if they are to succeed in achieving their business objectives.
ITIL helps to align business objectives with that of the IT objectives. ITIL is not about managing infrastructure and ensuring that all is well. Rather it goes into understanding how IT supports the business and strategizes on how IT must be designed, implemented and operated to achieve IT objectives -> that are directly in alignment with the business objectives. For example, if a bank plans their business recovery in case of riots or natural disasters by transferring activities to the closest working branch without any delays, IT must be able to support it by ensuring that the recovery is instant and the end user does not experience any outage of the banking services.
To conclude on this point, ITIL aligns IT with the business and this is the major driver for any organization to opt for ITIL implementation. Even better is that ITIL works with all types of organizations – be it manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, defense and hotels among others.
Makes Businesses Competent
A good IT setup along with ITIL processes and functions ensures that your business is competent in the present generation. How is that possible you might ask? Just a couple of decades back, most purchases were retail. People went into stores and picked up what they wanted. And then the e-commerce boom set in, and it enabled consumers to buy products from any part of the world, at any time and from any store of their choosing. The answer to this solution lies within the realms of IT.
IT made it possible for businesses to put their goods and services online, and link them to their supply-demand chain system. This changed the strata of shopping where goods are stored strategically and shipped to consumers based on certain equations. Now e-commerce has become the norm. So where does ITIL stand on this?
ITIL will help e-commerce organizations be the best in class. How? If there are outages in the system, it detects the outage early and sets course for early resolution – ensuring on time delivery and accurate billing. When there are vendor dependencies, ITIL will get the best possible service from vendors and align vendors with the objectives of the business – like vendors for logistics and plastic cards compatibility. When there are migration or upgrades in technology, ITIL clears the tide by minimizing the impact and maximizing the chances of successful migration/upgradation.
To sum it up, ITIL makes businesses competent in their line of work. I have provided an example on e-commerce but you can apply it to all types of business and the difference between ITIL and non-ITIL outputs are as clear as day.
In part 2, I will discuss a few more reasons how ITIL can help businesses achieve what are set out to do.