How Small and Midsize Businesses Can Maximize ITIL Advantages

By Oded Moshe  |  Posted 2010-04-21

How Small and Midsize Businesses Can Maximize ITIL Advantages

The founding of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) was a landmark event for the IT industry. Based on the knowledge of thousands of CIOs, ITIL provided, for the first time, a cohesive set of IT best practices drawn from worldwide resources in both the public and private sectors. This allowed all organizations, regardless of their size, to benefit from the implementation of IT best practices.

With its detailed description of a number of the most important IT processes and its checklists, tasks and procedures, ITIL was intended to allow any organization to implement it to best fit the company's IT processing needs. Moreover, by enabling small and midsize businesses to utilize the comprehensive information resource to develop and manage their IT on par with larger players, ITIL would essentially level the global IT playing field.

But something happened on the way to industry parity: ITIL was tagged by many businesses as too comprehensive and complex, leading to a reality in which only large players were able to consider dedicating the resources needed to learn, absorb and then implement the fundamentals of ITIL.

So, while ITIL succeeded in becoming the IT industry's de facto standard for best practices, the "rich" continued to get richer. And the question evolved slightly, but importantly: How can SMBs implement and manage ITIL-based infrastructures without monopolizing the time and resources of their entire IT teams? Or, put differently, how could the industry take this powerful set of processes-originally designed to standardize IT best practices-and make it less complicated so that it would be practical for organizations of all sizes?

The Benefits of ITIL

The benefits of ITIL

After all, the benefits of ITIL are strong. By providing a systematic and professional approach to the management of IT service provision, ITIL offers a significant range of benefits to the businesses that adopt it. These benefits include reduced costs, improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes, and improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service delivery, standards and guidance.

Additional benefits include improved productivity, improved use of skills and experience, and improved delivery of third-party services using ITIL methods as the standard for service delivery in service procurements.

Having a worldwide standard for IT infrastructure makes sense. It helps IT managers around the world by eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel each time an infrastructure is put into place. Moreover, ITIL is almost universally considered smart and helpful. However, these benefits come with a price tag. Oftentimes, the fees for the certification and training courses, the costs of the materials, and the time needed to fully master ITIL are usually greater than what SMBs can afford.

So, what needs to happen for ITIL to realize its full potential? To answer this question, we must first look at the problem. The problem is that SMBs don't have the critical mass, collective experience or knowledge to solve their internal ITIL challenges. This leaves them with either a scaled-back version of ITIL or an inability using ITIL at all.

These drawbacks have led to the creation of a "how-to-implement-ITIL" industry of tools that support ITIL. However, these tools lack an inherent logic, leading organizations to invest a great deal of time and money in order to properly implement the tools.

Affordable and ITIL-Compliant Tools

Affordable and ITIL-compliant tools

The solution to this is in the designing of a tool that is both affordable and ITIL-compliant. In essence, such a tool will have to guide the IT team without forcing the team to know ITIL backward and forward. Think of it as a Seeing Eye dog for IT. The IT person knows how to walk and he tells the dog where to go, but the dog knows how to get there and will lead the IT person there safely.

This metaphor is not so far removed from reality. SMBs simply can't afford to really understand ITIL. They would be perfectly happy knowing that a tool understands ITIL for them and will be sure to base all processes and implementations on the standard.

The potential of ITIL was, and still is, extremely exciting for the IT industry. However, to date, ITIL has been implemented mainly by large, resource-rich organizations. That is not exciting at all (for SMBs). It is a continuation of the status quo, something counterintuitive for our industry of innovation.

ITIL will realize its potential when it is automatically implemented, without IT professionals being required to take significant time in order to learn what it has to offer. Now that we understand that, it is up to us-the industry-to develop tools with ITIL built in. Once simplified tools are put in place that allows for the implementation of ITIL, the full potential of ITIL will be realized. This will lead to a significant rise in productivity for the entire IT industry.

Oded Moshe is the Director of Product Management at SysAid Technologies Ltd. With more than 15 years of experience in various IT management positions, Oded previously served as IT manager at Eden Springs (Europe), where he led the implementation of IT strategy and systems, and the standardization of IT management processes in 18 new European markets. Oded holds a BA degree from the College of Management Academic Studies in Israel, specializing in IT. Oded gained CIO certification in 2005, is an ITSMF member, and regularly participates in ITIL forums around the world. He can be reached at

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