Considering the many challenges faced by IT service providers today, leveraging frameworks to assist in managing and controlling IT services is a logical, yet difficult task. With so many best practices in the market today, how can you know which ones are applicable? There are several methodologies and frameworks competing for the attention of IT leadership, and they all have valuable contributions. If you are looking for a good overview of these, watch this webinar where I discuss this in more depth: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/845/60841.
Frameworks are becoming so popular because the rising demand for best practices is driven by requirements to be more competitive while holding costs down and ensuring the performance and conformance of IT services. Historically, IT Service Providers were self-directed and considered cost centers. Today, best practices help these providers focus on meeting enterprise objectives. As IT moves up the list of strategic goal priorities, justifying technology investments grows – therefore the need for best practices.
With the overall goal of providing value to the business, consider two core tenets of every IT service provider: provide value in delivered services, and ensure proper governance and control of the processes that support them. This is where the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) play a valuable role.
ITIL is a widely adopted approach for IT Service Management that helps identify, plan, deliver and support IT services to the business and is detailed within five core publications (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. ) It enables delivery of appropriate services that continually ensure benefits delivery and business goal achievement.
COBIT is the latest edition of ISACA’s globally accepted GEIT framework that provides an end-to-end business view of the governance and management of enterprise IT by integrating other major industry frameworks such as ITIL, TOGAF, PRINCE2, and related ISO standards. COBIT effectively helps govern enterprise IT with five principles and seven enablers.
Pick one or use both?
So, where would I start? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. From my experience, most organizations are in one of three situations (or worse, more than one.) I’ve described these below, with my suggestion on which framework seems to make the most sense to lead with.
Remember, the goal is to implement and manage IT services to achieve business benefits while meeting governance and control requirements. Because of its high level approach, broad coverage, and foundation on many existing practices, COBIT can easily be used as the integrator that brings multiple practices under one framework which links those to business objectives. With this in mind, the following table will help you understand how COBIT and ITIL fit together.
Critical Success Factors
Whichever approach you choose, there are a few critical success factors that should always be considered when adopting frameworks:
Need a little more information? Check out this webinar by APMG: