Friday, December 9, 2011

ITIL Advantages and Disadvantages

Note: The points are taken from articles all over the Internet. I decided to talk a little about ITIL because it seems to be a topic of interest of conversation between me and my IT peers these days.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts developed by the UK government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) to standardize IT management practices. Initially published in 1989, it has gone through a few iterations, namely ITIL v1, ITIL v2 and ITIL v3, its most recent version released in 2007. The current version is comprised of five volumes that focus on Service Management.

As with any type of guidelines, there are proponents and opponents who constantly argue about ITIL. The proponents argue that ITIL offers many cost saving measures, which in the current context of the recession makes enormous economic sense. It also helps to organize and manage IT departments. The biggest factor in its favor is that ITIL has been implemented in various parts of the world and has been proved to work.

That being said, it also has its own disadvantages. While ITIL does start to get everyone speaking the same language, its language/terminology is far from complete because it only handles a very small area of IT.

Parts of its language/terminology conflict with other parts of IT's understanding of that language, such as how software developers view "Release Management" and "Configuration Management". This means implementing ITIL to the letter will cause instant conflict with other teams that already have such solutions in place, as part of their own best practice frameworks.

Most people overcomplicate the implementation of ITIL. People and enterprises that lack experience in ITIL tend to implement it one discipline at a time, trying to "scope" its implementation and make it simple. Anyone that has experience in implementing ITIL will tell you that this will lead to far more problems than it will solve. Expenses will be high. Disciplines will be incomplete and in many cases not implemented. Rollouts will take many years. Rollouts will take a great level of time, money, and energy. Tools will be incompatible to each other. Tools will naturally be antiquated as you move from the 1st discipline you rollout to the Nth, which might be years later.

Nevertheless, even with all these disadvantages, to quite a number of people, ITIL remains an excellent management tool. The regular updates, worldwide acceptance and the sheer longevity of the concept are enough to outweigh all its disadvantages.

What do you think?

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