Windward Insights

Why is ITIL© a Four Letter Word?

Published Jan. 7, 2014
Written by Michele Darwin

Why is ITIL a four letter word

By definition on the officialITIL website, ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world and provides a cohesive set of best practices drawn from the public and private sectors. Sounds good enough, right? So why do many commercial enterprise customers react like it’s a four letter word when we mention ITIL?

Let’s play a game. I say ITIL, you say …

  • A Standard forIT Service Management
  • Best Practices to design, implement, operate and maintain IT services
  • A bunch of books and training that I spent a lot of time and money on that resulted in a pile of reports on my desk that have gotten me nowhere?

We’ve all heard the pitch:

“ITIL provides process standards for improving and providing high-quality IT solutions in line with business needs in a cost effective manner.”

The reality is that this makes for a difficult discussion because customers felt a bit burned in the past. Many companies have spent a great deal of money bringing in ITIL consultants with the expectations of realizing the above pitch, yet the results aren’t matching the hype! The reality is that most company’s that have embarked on expensive studies have not put the recommendations into action and are left with a pile of reports that collect dust. So how do we actually get value out of ITIL?

Let’s look at ITIL as a prescription for efficiency. It’s not much different than visiting your doctor for an annual physical, going through a battery of tests and leaving with lab reports and prescriptions for medications to lower your high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other ailments. If you go home and decide that it’s too much trouble (more inconvenient) to take the daily dose of meds to help control your condition, why even bother having the physical done? Whether we are talking about the processes of evaluating your physical health, or the health of our IT business, it’s a waste of time if you don’t build and implement a process to improve the current state.

I know, going to the doctor isn’t fun and, frankly, neither is process development. But, without it, there are often unidentified issues that downgrade the quality of IT services. ITIL provides companies with tools and guidelines to establish, manage and maintain anIT Service Strategy,IT Process Alignment, and the ability to optimize theService Deskthrough a strong Service Catalog.

ITIL encourages companies to follow a process-based approach to ensure predictable and consistent results. We’re going to talk more about ITIL, including a look at the ITIL approach to the changing needs of business and customer satisfaction. But for now, when you hear ITIL, don’t think “bad” word, think about the benefits of improved quality of deliverables that you receive from your IT organization and a growing ROI on IT investments.

Oh, and while were at it, go get your annual physical if you haven’t yet. It’s good medicine.