Technology vendors try to develop new releases and upgrades at a regular pace to keep their users happy and their profits up. But it has been seven years since the UK government agency that develops the ITIL (IT infrastructure library) specification has updated the IT service management guide. Therefore, the release of Version 3 of ITIL last week by the UK’s Office of Government Commerce is generating a lot of interest.
ITIL sets out methodologies for managing an IT organisation and processes such as helpdesk operations, as well as procedures for change management. The update covers some new areas that have emerged over the past seven years as major IT concerns, particularly outsourcing and security.
Michael Cardinal, a business analyst at State Farm Insurance, has yet to see ITIL Version 3. But Cardinal, who is also on the board of directors of the IT Service Management Forum USA, says he isn’t expecting copies of the new release to fly off the shelves in the US because companies there have been relatively slow to adopt ITIL compared with companies in Europe.
Cardinal adds that a company’s level of interest in Version 3 may well depend on how far along it is in implementing ITIL overall. Vendors, which make their living off of service management, will be the first to work with the latest release of the specification, he predicts. But for most user companies, “I think it’s going to take a little while for it to settle in”, he says.
The ITSMF (IT Service Management Forum), an international professional association, is a member of the ITIL Certification Management Board. Stephen Hoadley, who heads a local chapter of the ITSMF in Boise, Idaho, says he is looking forward to the new version because he expects it to improve the ability of ITIL to integrate with other technology standards. “That’s kind of what I’m hoping for,” says Hoadley, who works as a service-level manager at Albertsons, a grocery store chain.
One of the standards that ITIL Version 3 is supposed to be more tightly integrated with is Cobit, the Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology. Cobit is a framework for governing IT and evaluating internal system controls, and it is increasingly being used by companies to help with their Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance procedures.