The manual of good practices

Although its development began during the 80s, it is now with the launch last year of version 3, when organizations are decanting more by implementing ITIL, a guide to best practices to facilitate the delivery of IT services within companies.

Today, reliance on information technology by organizations is total. Not surprisingly, they have become an indispensable element in creating business for companies. So have standards that help maintain the quality of IT services and reduce the complexity of the technological infrastructure that must be managed is essential. In this regard, as noted by Rose Cross, Commercial Director of Services, Sun Microsystems, “ITIL plays a key role when the most recognized worldwide for quality improvement in the provision and increasing productivity and efficiency in the methodology management of IT services. ” And is that ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or Infrastructure Library Information Technology) is a collection of public documents, and processes based on a framework of best practices in the industry, allows the management of quality IT services and an appropriate cost.

This concept therefore reflects the experiences of many organizations around the world in IT service management, which, once analyzed and selected the most useful, leading to a set of books from best practices. “It provides” because, “a method for planning common processes, roles and activities with appropriate relationships and lines of communication, to optimize IT management services; ie provides a systematic approach to the provision of quality IT services, “explains Orlando Pereda, coordinator of ICT Management System Computer Services El Corte Ingles.

“I think it will continue to produce progress regarding the implementation of ITIL in IT departments of enterprises and will have more and more popular because it allows very clearly see the situation of information systems, their strengths and aquéellos to be improved or created, providing concrete metrics and being an objective basis on which to start work, “Rosa Cruz, Director of Business Services, Sun Microsystems.

However, for managers, other than that, this concept also provides a shared philosophy of “industrialization” of IT services from three points of view. The first is that “is a common language in which to explain the capabilities and activities of ICT areas of organizations.” On the other hand, as a set of good practices it is, it becomes a reference as long as “links and gives meaning to activities that can be considered disjoint, encompassing, under one vision, exercise management systems information and establishes a framework for broad improvement that transcends technology. ” Finally, ensures that “the projection client activity and processes meet the needs of its management of information,” he says.

“I think nowadays ITIL is already becoming a de facto standard. Most companies and public administrations are adopting, because it is very comprehensive and covers all the necessary aspects. I honestly think it has much travel, “Raul Lopez Bonilla is responsible for Business and Services Seidor.

Brief History
This methodology, as such, was developed in the 80s by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) of the British government. It arose in response to the growing dependence on information technology and the recognition that without standard practices of IT management, contracts of state agencies and the private sector independently created his own and duplicated efforts within their projects TIC , which resulted in higher costs and common mistakes.

Thus arose the first version of ITIL, consisting of a set of books that, over the years reached the thirties, each one dedicated to a specific area within IT management. However, in 2001, in order to make these more accessible and less expensive recommendations to those wishing to explore the Version 2 was launched, whose raison d’etre was to group all those books in ten as a logical sets aimed at treating processes administration that each covers. Thus, various aspects of ICT systems, applications and service were presented in thematic clusters.

This compendium of good practices continued to evolve up to May last year, at which time the third version was published. His first innovation is that it only consists of five books, half than its predecessor: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. These revolve around the life cycle of the service, which gives coherence and unity to all processes. So, thanks to this new scheme, it is one of the main shortcomings of the previous version solves, as is its alignment with the business strategy with regard to the integration of tactical and operational levels.

“The importance of ITIL within the IT sector is clear, is that by bringing IT services to business goals achieved an improvement in the quality of services, IT is the service which requires the company and not vice versa. It also allows corporate expectations set objectively, it also optimizes the perception of IT by the customer, “Mikel Kunas, Osiatis consultant ITSM.

Advantages

Of course, the advantages of this methodology do not end there. According to Raul Alvarez, technical director of BMC Software, “in very general terms, we could say that ITIL helps IT organizations reduce the overall costs of your organization, improve service quality and alignment with the overall goals of the organization “he says.

Julian Garcia, director of practice IT Service Management HP Spain, sums it up in one sentence: “It helps to have a more complete picture of the most important functions and IT processes.” Although obviously the manager goes further, as it also considers that helps change the mentality of departments, since “forces to think about the services we provide to clients and requires the effort to identify these services, measure and commit to their provision with agreed quality levels. ” All this leads undoubtedly improve the image of IT within the company, and identify the key role it plays in business.

“The primary and absolute goal of ITIL is to make things easier and streamline processes and procedures that a company faces in their day to day with what precisely his own intrinsic nature is aimed at the elimination of drawbacks. If implemented properly and organized way, not to worry, “Luis Campos, Product Manager Service Definition Tools Consulting and Service Desk Ireo.

On the other hand, if we turn to the opinion of Gartner also we found some benefits, especially in reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO), the consultancy estimated at 50%. In addition, Mikel Kunas, Osiatis consultant ITSM lists other advantages as “improved resource utilization, increased competitiveness, reduction of repetitive tasks or timeliness in delivery,” among others.

In the same vein pronounced Pereda, of Informatica El Corte Ingles, who also lists some added advantages: “By documenting procedures and using good practices provided by ITIL, the culture of use of written process is facilitated and improved procedures work used “. It also represents the creation of a proactive culture, “a fundamental shift from reactive to proactive processes”; and it allows self-assessment of the maturity of an organization in its management information systems, making it possible to compare with other companies, “getting an idea of ​​how it is and how it is, in a repeatable, verifiable and comparable framework,” says .

But the implementation of the ITIL methodology is not only beneficial for the company as a whole and as a way of adapting the technology to the business, but also to those responsible own IT organization and all suppliers of the company.

“ITIL reduces the average time in the delivery of services; It allows early identification of potential problems; impose greater rigor in defining and exchange control, reducing the risk thereof; and achieves a degree of specific, consistent and measurable service, “Orlando Pereda, coordinator of ICT Management System Computer Services El Corte Ingles.

In the case of the former, “have a more accurate view of their IT system and work in a proactive, rather than reactive, to problems increases their positive perception of work,” says Kunas, Osiatis. It continues, “service management according to ITIL can do more with fewer people and less investment, which ultimately results in a reduction of overall costs,” he argues.

As for the latter, ITIL is a good tool to improve relations with them in a multisourcing environment; ie in which certain functions are outsourced and others are carried out internally. Ceferino Raposo, Director of Services and Solutions at Dimension Data, see this relationship very clear: “ITIL fits multisourcing environments as to implement their processes, activities are structured. It also allows to identify activities to be allocated internal resources and which can assume thirds. Also, if you do not have structured processes, you can not ensure that service providers are aligned with business expectations, “he says.

“Reducing costs, the need to improve the quality of service and bring more value to the business, the appearance of the ISO20000 standard that endorses these best practices and the pursuit of excellence in an increasingly complex sector to manage have been the main reasons for the ITIL revolution “, Raul Alvarez, technical director of BMC Software.

Increased adoption
Given all these advantages, IT managers of companies are beginning to consider the gradual introduction of this methodology in their respective departments. Thus, at least, it is clear in the recent study by consultancy Market Clarity, at the request of BMC Software. In fact, the results show that is increasingly appreciate the advantages of ITIL when aligning technology with business objectives. Thus, the results show that adoption is progressing properly. 70% of surveyed companies know this methodology and the benefits it offers. Of that group, 56% have personally implemented some element of ITIL in your business.

“While ITIL is recognized as the de facto standard ITSM best practices can and should coexist with other methods, because there is no single best practice framework to act as a miraculous solution. The best combination depends on the size, nature and maturity of the organization and objectives of the company, “Ceferino Raposo, Director of Services and Solutions, Dimension Data.

On the other hand, the response of those responsible for making decisions when asked about his experience in working in an organization based on ITIL is mostly positive. 77% say that the implementation met their expectations, and 62% of them said that ITIL recommend.

For respondents, the main advantages of implementing ITIL are to improve the alignment between technology and business (54%), improve productivity (51%) and ensure best practices (53%). However, despite the perceived advantages, IT departments still need to convince the management boards. 70% of respondents, which has yet to deploy an infrastructure of IT best practices within your organization, believes that a better understanding of ITIL beyond the technology department, more IT budget and getting the approval of management are key requirements to eliminate existing barriers to adoption of ITIL. This statement is endorsed by Kuna, of Osiatis. “The main barrier that has this set of best practices is limited outside of the IT department regarding the advantages of this methodology knowledge. As a result, IT departments find it difficult to convince the boards of companies for introduction, causing a high percentage of companies have not yet deployed schemes IT best practices. ”

“The goal of ITIL is to improve IT service levels and manage the lifecycle of every service more efficiently. By automating certain processes means saving management costs and improve the productivity of a company, “Gonzalo de la Hoz, Tivoli Technical Sales Manager for Spain, Portugal, Greece, Israel and Turkey.

In this regard, also it pronounced Cross, Sun Microsystems, which considers that the adoption of ITIL can make for organizations new activities, change the way they perform other, or even stop them. “This situation may create some suspicion or resistance in people or departments concerned. However, our experience tells us that if properly explain the necessary changes does not have to be a bad host. It is appropriate to establish a channel of communication and a good resistance management to get what is called an ‘active mobilization’, positive and proactive organization to changing attitudes, “he argues.

Following the study of Market Clarity, by country, the UK and Germany lead the implementation of ITIL. 63% of participants in the study of each of these countries reported having comprehensive ITIL implementations in their companies, followed by Spain (38%), France (33%) and Italy (18%). France has a higher than average knowledge ITIL (almost 2 to 3 times), but is considerably behind speaking of implementations. Italy and Spain have similar levels of knowledge in general, but while the latter have implemented ITIL, the first they have not done.

“At HP, we believe that ITIL is very important, because it is a way to extend the best practices of information technology to help these departments to identify the functions and processes relevant to the good performance of the IT function and their interfaces, leading roles, etc., “Julian Garcia, director of practice IT Service Management HP Spain.

Drawbacks
Despite what has been said here and the efforts of companies to implement ITIL, the fact is that this methodology is by no means a panacea, as it explains Rapodo, Dimension Data: “Most likely is that companies need adopt a methodology of best practice, or at least parts of many, if you want a complete set of guidelines and effective IT management processes. Given this, it is advisable that organizations assess the options available and then plan an approach that combines the best practices of each model according to business needs, “he says.

Besides this, there is another basic element to be taken into account when transferring the recommendations of ITIL best practices that reflects each organization: the need to educate both the business and IT professionals. And, as Enrique Lopez, manager of Systems Management Solutions at Microsoft, he said “often involves the lack of training and try to cover too quickly, setting high expectations that are very difficult to comply without sufficient time and so just back many times in disappointment and abandonment. ” This obviously can turn into failure, like the attempt to adapt the company too sharply ITIL. “Many of these companies,” says the manager, “suffer from ‘herramientitis’, believing that without the purchase of all the tools in the world, and therefore a strong investment ITIL, do not come forward. This is wrong without the support, education and the right approach, “he says.

Nor is highly recommended to implement “all ITIL hit,” said Luis Campos, Product Manager Service Definition Tools Consulting and Service Desk Ireo. Nor pretend to “implement to the letter all and each of the proposed practices for all organizations, regardless of their environment and size among other factors, because it says ITIL,” says Pereda, of El Corte Ingles. “ITIL,” he continues, “tells us that we have to adopt the model as a source of good practices, but also that it must adapt to the reality of each company.” It is what also believes Gonzalo de la Hoz, Tivoli Technical Sales Manager for Spain, Portugal, Greece, Israel and Turkey of IBM: “There is a risk of wanting to tackle ambitious projects ITIL to its conclusion, and must take into account that , depending on the company, some of the recommendations may not be applicable. “