Do I Really Need ITIL To Improve IT?

January 23, 2009

I write a lot about ITIL on this blog. My reason for that is that I have found that ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) provides a good framework to reduce IT costs and streamline the the processes of managing your technology infrastructure.

ITIL and other formalized frameworks can help provide a baseline on the requirements, inputs, and outputs required to perform a function or supply a deliverable.

But, can you do without ITIL?

In short, Yes.

I wanted to point out a couple of excellent articles that do a much better job at describing this capability than I can.

The first is Dr. John D. Halamka, Chief Information Officer of the CareGroup Health System and his blog post titled; The Broken Window Effect.

In IT organizations the Broken Window Effect can occur when management begins to tolerate downtime, constant workarounds, and broken processes.

In that article, Dr. Halamka does not mention using any framework such as ITIL or COBIT, but he extensively describes their formal change

Broken Windows

Broken Windows

review process, and the critical questions asked to ensure continuous improvement and learning.

The second article is titled; Do You REALLY Have Effective IT Processes? by Management Consultant and researcher, Vaughan Merlyn,  which provides excellent guidance on the Charactersitics of Real Process

Processes tell you how work should be done, where inputs come from and outputs go to, what results should look like and how they should be measured and evaluated

The SMB Takeaway

I urge you to read both of those articles.

As both of these examples clarify, if you already have mature internal controls to identify, monitor, and improve your internal processes, then utilizing your existing controls within IT can generate the same improvements as ITIL et al.

The Value of ITIL

If you do not currently have disciplined internal processes and controls, the third party frameworks (including ITIL) can provide  the road map necessary to begin that journey towards continuous improvement, and continuous learning.

Photo Credit phrenologist

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3 Responses to “Do I Really Need ITIL To Improve IT?”

  1. Very interesting!! my friend!


  2. elliotross Says:

    Thank you for dropping by!

    I agree, the PDSA cycle can provide a benefit both with more statistical situations (ie six sigma) vs more qualitative ones such as ITIL.

    In the SMB space, I have found that there is a lack of understanding of the advantages to a process & learning oriented approach.


    Elliot Ross

  3. itorganization2017 Says:

    A useful post and a nice summary – not just for SMB’s, but generalizable to any sort of enterprise or agency.

    I’d also suggest that the underlying concepts and philosophies of ITIL have universal relevance and applicability, even if you don’t go “full boat” ITIL. Deming’s 14 points work as well today as they did in the 1940’s and 50’s!

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