In the 21st century, businesses have become completely dependent on technology to perform their day to day activities efficiently. So how does the IT Organization keep this momentum going, while consistently delivering quality services to the business? IT has been mostly reactive in the past, where its primary goal was to restore services after an impact; the next time anyone thought about IT was when another failure occurred. In such a scenario, how could IT understand the business priorities and accordingly, deliver to them? The future of IT is all about IT Service Management i.e. aligning IT with business, this is an area that addresses the questions raised above. IT Organizations are increasingly becoming an integral part of the Corporate Leadership Team, where IT strategies are developed in line with business goals and objectives.
Developed in the late 1980’s, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has today become the most widely accepted approach to IT Service Management globally. ITIL 2011 is the current version, an update to the previously launched ITIL V3. ITIL introduces a lifecycle approach for managing IT services, it includes 5 stages namely: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement.
ISO/IEC 20000 is the worlds first internationally recognized standard for IT Service Management. The certification completely transforms the way IT Services are delivered, be it in house or in an outsourced environment. The current version is ISO/IEC 20000: 2011 an update to the 1st version developed in 2005. ISO/IEC 20000 was formerly called BS 15000 developed by British Standard Institution (BSI) Group. This is the equivalent to a restaurant winning a prestigious Michelin star, for consistently catering high quality food and maintaining an inviting ambience. Furthermore, it is even more challenging, also highly rewarding to retain this title; the quality needs to be continually improved to retain the old customers, while still attracting new ones.
Is there a synergy between ITIL 2011 and ISO/IEC 20000: 2011?
Don Page, IT Service Management Forum (ITSMF) lifetime achievement award winner and also author of many ITIL and ISO/ IEC 20000 books describes ITIL as ‘documented common sense’ and ISO/ IEC 20000 as ‘auditable common sense’ which is absolutely true.
ITIL provides answer to what should be done in order to deliver cost efficient and high quality IT Services. ITIL qualification scheme always focused on recognizing individuals and not to an organization for its ITSM best practices. In order to fill this gap, BSI and ITSMF introduced ISO/IEC 20000:2011. This certification is mostly based upon principles of ITIL and allows IT Organizations to have their IT Service Management Practice certified.
The current ISO version is closely aligned to ISO/IEC 27001 (Information Security Standard) and ISO 9001 (Quality Management System Standard).
Figure 1: Illustrates ITIL as a perfect fit between the existing operating processes and procedures of an IT Organization and the mandatory requirements for an ISO certification.
Fig 1: IT Service Management Pyramid
While there were 2 parts in the earlier version, the standard has now become more mature and many other parts have been introduced within the ISO/IEC 20000 standard. Part 1 - Service Management System requirements; these are the mandatory requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to achieve the certification. In addition, guidance and examples to fulfill mandatory requirements are covered in ISO/IEC 20000. Part 2 - Guidance on the application of Part 1. This was earlier called ‘ Code of Practice’ in the 2005 version.
The alignment of ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 with their new versions is much more evident than in the older version. Almost 75% of the mandatory requirements in Part 1 are aligned with ITIL 2011 processes. The ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL 2011 mapping is shown in Figure 2.
Fig 2: ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 Mapping.
Organizations that are and willing to adopt and adapt ITIL best practice, will not only derive benefit from the highest quality and cost efficient delivery of IT Services, but also introduce a new culture of Proactive Management of IT. The Organizations can, in turn, use this benefit in the marketplace by seeking ISO/IEC 20000 certification in IT Service Management.