ITIL and the Small Business / Medium Business Part 1

March 12, 2008

Organizations of all sizes are in, or heading for, a chaotic state for the next little while. First, the “R” word is still flying around, Business Week- “Recession Watch” and To Survive or Thrive in Lean timesCough Cough – “Downturn” – not the ‘R’ word.

Secondly, for the last 10 years, IT research organizations such as Gartner Group, and Forrester Research have documented that the cost of maintaining and supporting an IT asset or service over its life cycle is far higher than its original purchase price.

Thirdly, at the same time businesses of all sizes are investing in, and implementing more technology solutions than ever to solve business needs.

So at the plainest, item 2 plus item 3 demonstrates that the cost of supporting technology, plus the costs of potential technology related failures is escalating.

The above reference to is just one article that provides strategies for investment in a downturn that leave a stronger organization as things pick up. The tough part is the “investment” word – when costs may already be too high. Removing unnecessary costs from the IT infrastructure can provide dollars that can go towards improving customer service or other investments.


The IT Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, is a strong method of reducing the costs of IT service delivery, and improving quality of IT services. I have briefly written about ITIL on the site here and here

This note will go over the ITIL concepts at a high level, then following ones will breakout the more common ITIL framework pieces that I have found to be the most beneficial to the SMB space.

The initial elements of ITIL were released about 1998 by the UK based Office of Government Commerce (formerly the CCTA) . ITIL grew rapidly in the UK but was adopted slower in North America. The most common parts of the ITIL framework (in version 2) are the service support and service delivery sections.

These sections provide guidance on these processes; (NOTE: The image is just a sample – not a process relevant tothis post – I may build one in the future – so my apologies to those of you who have clicked it!)

Incident management

Process Management

Process Management

Problem management
Configuration management
change management
Release management
IT financial management
IT continuity management
capacity management
and service-level management

The ITIL framework is not an all-or-nothing initiative. It can be used in pieces on areas where improvements are most obvious. The large benefit of ITIL is that it is not a”Cookbook that forces a business to do things this way. But a road map of best practices. As such it can scale up or down depending on organization size. Fortune 1000 companies can spend millions on ITIL aligned products from companies like CA or IBM yet at the same time small business can lift many of the principles with no more investment than time. Most of us will come in somewhere in between. The ITIL framework is not complex, however it does demand a lot of work in understanding your processes, and committing to change and improve those processes.

The benefits to ITIL include;

– Mitigating risk of IT outages, and reducing outage times
– Improve IT operations efficiency, reducing labor time in maintenence and operations
– Reduce those long term “total cost of ownership” (TCO) costs of IT assets and services
– Reduce hidden costs such as change orders, training, maintenance and user support

Again, later posts will start breaking down some of key ITIL guidance sections.

UPDATE: part 2 is now here

April 2008 Update – a lot of people have visited this post – if you are looking for more detail and resources on ITIL – click here

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3 Responses to “ITIL and the Small Business / Medium Business Part 1”

  1. […] is that implementing ITIL processes are not an all or nothing exercise. I know that I have written a lot about this, but here is one excellent example. As the article referenced above states about one journey into […]

  2. […] ITIL, Lies, Damn Lies & Statistcs This blog has covered quite a bit about the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) within the context of the benefits I believe it can provide to the small to medium enterprise. […]

  3. […] The first post on ITIL for the small to medium business is here. […]

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