Is this debate purely about developing honest communication between IT and the organization’s executive, not forgetting other business services? If IT professionals, who are using ITIL, are putting out their hands to the business, clearly the business should be capable of responding appropriately. Often these days ITIL deployments using the service lifecycle framework are being adopted across other business areas as is evidenced by the widely available white papers and reports. This is because the lifecycle (customer-focused initiatives built around an evolving framework) is attractive to them. The ITSM industry needs high-quality research in this area because it must surely validate the evolving ITIL framework approach. We also need to build on the high-quality academic research which has emerged over the past few years.
Most ITSM professionals see ITIL for what it is: a toolkit which does not rely on any particular version and is non-prescriptive. They have demonstrated that it works very well in the majority of cases and this is evidenced by the plethora of industry white papers built on practitioner knowledge.
It could be argued that the real debate to be had is not simply about ITIL and the different versions; it is about persuading the business to come out of its shell and fully support the endeavours of IT. After all, there are many organizational management and governance frameworks available to business leaders and the following questions should be asked of them:
- Do these adopted business methods have to endure the same level of scrutiny about their effectiveness?
- Do business strategists fully understand and appreciate the importance of business process management?
- Do business strategists fully understand the term ‘sourcing for value; not sourcing for cost savings?’
- Does the business really understand and have strategies to deal with risk?
- Does the business make key decisions at the correct level by understanding and embracing risk positively?
- Are knowledge-based organizational structures fully supported by human resource strategies?
… and the list goes on.
Maybe the true path for ITIL is to lead by example, nudging business strategists to think more clearly about their approaches to business process development and its symbiotic relationship with IT. With the increased use of managed services and the impending mass migration to cloud computing, business leaders must honestly reflect on their own strategic processes. They must also provide better foundations for true IT/business integration and let ITSM practices shine through.