ITIL’s ROI hard to measure: Compass survey

It's beneficial, but by how much is difficult to say: respondents

A recent survey shows that two-thirds of 80 companies that have deployed ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) say they feel the process changes are delivering ICT performance improvements, but most don’t have effective tools in place to measure the return on their investment.

ITIL is a customisable framework that provides guidelines to help ICT departments coordinate their processes and deliver the best services possible. Compass, which provices technology consultancy services, conducted its survey to find out how companies embarked on ITIL adoption and how they measured the success of their best practices implementation.

Eighty percent of those the research firm polled had had the ITIL best practices in place for at least 18 months, but while a majority (67%) believe they are benefiting from the change, only 4% have the means to measure how successful they are. The survey also found that 9% of respondents could link the process changes to performance improvements, but close to three-quarters could not tie process maturity to performance improvements.

“Organisations are rushing to implement ITIL if they have not already because there is a widespread confidence in its ability to improve IT performance. But now that managers and top executives are eager to see tangible benefits, most companies are ill-equipped to provide those measures,” says John Sansbury, global director of service management practice at Compass.

Compass, along with Evergreen Systems, ValCom, Oblicore and Siemens Business Services, and others, provides products and services to help companies quantify the benefits of process improvements. And industry watchers point out that ICT organisations can actually use details within the ITIL processes and the Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM) to determine if there have been tangible improvements.

“Once ITIL has been used to map out where the process should be, CMM can be used to baseline the existing process,” writes Chip Gliedman, a vice president with Forrester Research in a June 2006 report called Assess The Maturity Of Your IT Support Processes: A Road Map For Assessment And Improvement.

“From this point, the organisation can implement specific process improvement initiatives that will move the process from the current baseline towards a fully ITIL-compliant best practice,” writes Gliedman.

Other survey findings revealed how ICT executives perceive the processes that comprise ITIL. For instance, respondents found incident management to be the most mature process and capacity management to be the least. The underpinning process of ITIL, configuration management, was also perceived as being among the least mature processes.

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