Talking Point: Is ITIL Relevant in the Age of Cloud?

Often many self proclaimed pragmatists have questioned the relevance of ITIL in today’s world – the times when IT services are cloud based.

They call out ITIL as being referenced from the viewpoint of a service provider owning most aspects of a service, and thus defining a service lifecycle through ITIL makes sense.

But now, where all IT services lies with an external entity, and a certain service fees are paid towards it, and none of the design, transition, operations and improvements are carried out by the organizations themselves, does it sound the death call for ITIL?

I am glad such discussions come to the fore time and again. While these pragmatics sound their eulogies, there are others who are confused as to how they can apply ITIL to cloud based services.

My stand – ITIL is very much alive and kicking, even in the age when most services are cloud based. I have worked with organizations who are in this dilemma, and the solution is quite straight forward after all!

My argument in twin-pointed.

  1. If your cloud based service provider cares about the services that he is providing to his customers, if he cares about managing it with care, if he wants to get repeat business and new customers, would he risk not improving the IT services he offers, would he not make efforts towards optimizing and reducing the overheads. The answer is simple. YES. The cloud service provider would like all of the above that I brought forth, and the only framework that potentially can support him is ITIL.
  2. Suppose I am a customer, and I have just brought a huge chunk of cloud based services into my organization – like email, file hosting and web hosting among others. I pay a certain amount, and get the services that I am supposed to. In this scenario, would I not be interested in managing my service provider? If I do not manage my service provider, do you think the service provider would still provide me the level of service that he promised, would he still improve the quality of services and would he give me priority over other customers. The answer is NO. As a customer, I need to be on top of my game to get the best money can buy. How do I do it? ITIL – it gives me guidance on how I can manage suppliers and a plenty of inputs on how SLAs are to be drafted, and other service levels are to be monitored, managed and controlled.

There are actually a lot more arguments justifying the relevance of ITIL in today’s cloud based world. Just think about all the aspects of the services that you are working with, either directly or indirectly. Either from the standpoint of customer, service provider or supplier. Check for pertinent guidance from ITIL. More often than not, you will find help. I am confident of it. If you are in this position, stuck between the rock and a hard place, do share your concerns. Happy to help!

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Biswajit January 18, 2016 at 10:59 AM

I am an MBA(Information Systems,2015) and OCP(2009) with more than 13 years work experience.

I want to enrol for the ITIL Foundation course as I am more keen towards the IT Service industry compared to Software development.

Please advise if I should go for it considering my background and what kind of salary can I expect assuming I pass the exam.

Abhinav Kaiser January 19, 2016 at 2:49 AM

Don’t expect wonders with the certification. It will help but just not immediately. Definitely with your experience and qualification, you need to have it for better prospects.


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