Lately it feels like we’ve been hearing less about ITIL and more about ISO 20,000 certification.
I wasn’t completely clear on the difference between the two, but according to this very useful site:
ITIL is usually the starting point and in practice is often used by organisations wanting to address a particular “point of pain”, such as a process that is obviously failing. Once one process has been implemented successfully it soon becomes obvious that the related processes would also be worth implementing…and a service improvement journey begins.
Achieving ISO/IEC 20000 is undertaken when organizations want to test and prove they have adopted ITIL advice effectively. It is used to develop consistent, integrated processes across organisational and national boundaries. Customer organisations also use it to compare providers.
Except that’s not what we’re seeing. Undoubtedly, IT has been hit as hard (if not harder) by the recent economic turbulence as any area of business. And when budgets are cut, the first things to go are areas perceived as luxuries – things like systematic improvement of processes – and the areas that remain are the critical, can’t-do-without things: fighting fires as and when they appear. The irony, of course, is that proper process improvement would reduce the need to fight fires, and so an effort to reduce costs ends up costing more.
The other thing we’ve noticed as a result of the downturn is that IT departments are being asked to justify themselves to their customers – more so than ever. CIOs now have to demonstrate the value of IT, and the return on investment that the business can expect from increased IT infrastructure. It’s something that we at Westbury are very interested in, because the easiest way for a CIO to demonstrate value is through producing cold, hard metrics – and that’s where SMI Suite comes in.
So maybe this move towards ISO 20000 is nothing to do with maturity, but rather an attempt by IT departments to protect their budgets – the idea being that the certification proves the worth of the department.
If so, it’s a shame. We’d rather see real progress in maturity and real commitment to efficient, productive processes. But whether that means ITIL or ISO 20000, you won’t get anywhere without the data, and that’s when you’ll want to start talking to us.