ITIL is not a show-stopper

CIOL Bureau
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Will it be a sibling or challenger for the CMM limelight or will it inundate the choc-a-bloc of already present best practice frameworks like Information Services Procurement Library (ISPL), the Application Services Library (ASL) and the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM). At the same time, this standard, that was developed in the 80s, is subject to issues like adoption, obsolesence, rigidity etc. Sunil Mehta, country manager, Quint Wellington Redwood ,fields some of these concerns and distills ITIL in a chat with Pratima Harigunani from CyberMedia News


What drives ITIL? Do we really need it?

The 90s saw a lot of infrastructure investment, both in software and hardware, in the IT industry. Managing the same calls for best practices and ITIL took shape in UK when Office of Government Commerce (OGC ) coined the term. From UK it gained attention in Europe, USA and Asia. Its objectives are efficiency and reduction of wastage, and its components include service support, which is reactive as well as service delivery which is proactive.

How does it differ from CMM (Capability Maturity Model) and do we need ITIL when CMM is already rife in use and recognition?


CMM encompasses the turf of software creation and testing while ITIL's domain is the post creation part that includes implementation and maintenance of the complete IT environment in a manner that is predictable, robust, repeatable and consistent. According to a Gartner study, 20 per cent of time and efforts for an organisation in IT are on the creation side while 80 per cent are consumed by maintenance. If we look around the software biggies in India and the new project wins that they have earned, things are tipping more towards application maintenance than application development work.

As regards the question of whether it will catch up the way CMM did, it already has, as companies cannot ignore the claims made by competition when they move for work to UK or Europe. Rivals have forced them to adopt best practices.

Does ITIL involve the same rung-wise certification process as in case of CMM?


Unfortunately No. There are no levels in ITIL the way an organisation can climb up from level 1 to 5 in CMM. It's an either pass or fail scenario. However, there are some maturity assessments and models that we, as a company, do. We have introduced level 1 as first model. We do maturity scrutiny before we implement the practice in an organisation and if it's already best practice compliant we tell them their level of achievement and even a suitable response if there's no need to undergo our services. The certification stamp in case of ITIL is ISO/IEC 20000.

Many critics of ITIL have tagged it as too prescriptive, non-pragmatic or outmoded in definitions? Your comments on that?

I don't agree with the criticism that ITIL is not in sync with the times. In fact, it is very much dynamic and keeps changing since it is fundamentally woven around best practices. Its first version came in 2004 and in 2008 we are ready for version 2. Many people have also labeled ITIL as bureaucratic and to some extent they are right when they say that each and every process cannot be recorded due to time and pressure constraints. If there is one system breakdown, it is definitely not practical to record its incidence and repair. But if you keep overlooking ten seemingly trivial downtime fixes, you might be missing on a bigger problem that is surfacing. On an individual level, ITIL might not be pragmatic but it is actually practical if we see the bigger organisation picture. We have to understand that ITIL is a support framework and not a show-stopper.


Does ITIL have any link with Control Objectives for Information and related Technology or COBIT?

COBIT works at a strategy level, which is the planning tier. ITIL comes in picture at the second and third tiers, which are conversion of plans into action and execution respectively. Hence it is more tactical in nature and works very closely with COBIT.

How are competitive frameworks like MS Open standard, ASL etc., placed vis-a-vis ITIL?


ASL is not a rival but an ancillary to ITIL. Frameworks likeMicrosoft Open framework and SLIM which is from IBM are actually product versions of ITIL for respective companies. ITIL per se doesn't apply to products and it doesn't say which tool should be used. It is vendor neutral. For Quint, IPW or Implementation of Process Oriented Workflow is applicable as being a consulting company we take a process perspective.

How rosy is the ITIL scenario in India so far?

In India, we stepped in the year 2000 and soon realised that industry is still at the ignorance stage. So from then to 2003 we concentrated on educating people around ITIL by covering 250 organisations and kicked off consulting in 2004. Only top 10 per cent of the industry is aware of ITIL and vendors dominate that portion. Thankfully, recently we have seen the second wave of adoption by end customers that includes banks, insurance companies and research companies. In short, last two years were about understanding and internal usage while now, I see the end-customer trend catching pace. At the same time, there are no packaged versions for these verticals. It's all about what priority an industry accords to ITIL.


How is your company poised to take it further?

Quint is the only company in Asia Pacific to have a clientele base of more than 200 clients across verticals. The roster so far includes Johnson & Johnson, Dell, IBM, ABN-AMRO and KPMG. Quint has also recently received CITREP endorsement (Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme) for its ITIL Foundation in IT Service Management course.

What is the training Vs implementation mix for the company now?

Right now training occupies 70 per cent of our pie with 30 per cent taken up by implementation. In the next three years however we see the mix reversing.

© CyberMedia News