IT Governance

What Problem Does ITIL Solve?

IT needs speed, speed, speed. ITIL is associated with structure, structure, structure. But to think that ITIL plays no part in modern ITSM would be a grave mistake. In a post for, Dan McCarthy offers a brighter, alternative perspective to gloomy ITIL outlooks.

Solutions Abound

In some organizations, ITIL has practically become a curse word, somehow becoming a comprehensive sponge for all of IT’s problems. And criticisms are swift. For instance, McCarthy finds ITIL has been criticized as too bureaucratic, too hard to implement, too slow, and overall too complex. This has led some to conclude that ITIL is obsolete in today’s speed-centric times. They back that up by asking questions like, “Is ITSM still applicable given XaaS, software defined infrastructure, and rapid cloud-based provisioning? Don’t these things invalidate huge swathes of ITIL?”

McCarthy however flips the script by suggesting you ask a different question: What problem does ITIL solve? As it turns out, the answers to that question are still myriad. Here is a sampling of IT problems and business problems that ITIL addresses:

  • How can we all get on the same page, speaking the same language, so that we can be more effective?
  • Who is accountable for what? We need clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Our processes are incredibly complex. It’s hard to see where they interact. We need to make their interactions clearer. …
  • We want to invest in IT. We see its value for the organization, but we want someone else to manage the technical details effectively.
  • We want to invest in IT. We see its value for the organization, but we want someone else to manage the detailed risks involved in it.

ITIL is arguably as effective at addressing fundamental problems of IT as it has ever been. ITIL itself may be complex, but its proper use allows so many other aspects of ITSM to become simpler. That makes it worth it to keep ITIL.

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