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What Role Does ITIL Play in Running IT as a Business?

Business is going digital, and digital means more IT. This is a fact that many of us in the industry are both banking on and fearing. More IT means more job security, expansion of opportunity, and chances to become a major player in your organization’s strategic vision. It also means, however, more chances for mistakes, for being put under the spotlight (in a bad way), and finding the need to justify every action taken. According to this blog post by Derek Lonsdale, many CIOs are beginning to view themselves as the CEOs of IT: operating their side of the business as though their internal customers were external.

It is Lonsdale’s suggestion that if the CIO truly wants to view themselves as the CEOs of IT, they need to have a strong understanding of what the CEO knows and does within the business. ITIL has the ability of helping IT run as a business, as it discusses business outcomes and can act as a framework for understanding that ITIL isn’t done for ITIL’s sake, but rather for the benefit to the organization and the business as a whole. However, ITIL itself won’t complete the transformation: the CIO needs to also understand what the organization’s business model is, along with the market model and how your organization’s products and services are implemented and delivered to customers.

The article then moves on to discuss the capability model:

This defines those capabilities that are core to the business; those capabilities that can be acquired and the best ways to organize the capabilities for success. Developing the capability model as part of your business model ensures the focus is on identifying the capabilities that will add business value. Once these business capabilities are known, IT capabilities can be identified to support the business capabilities. Undertaking a capability assessment provides the organization with improvement priorities and this is where IT can become more strategic. If there is a particular business capability that requires improving, what can IT bring to the table in terms of IT capabilities and IT services that can transform that business capability?

The CIO must also take a CEO-esque look at what IT tools are being used, how much they cost, and the value they are able to generate for the company. This includes finding duplication and wasted effort. It’s common to find tools that only support one element of ITIL and duplicate effort, and cutting costs should be at the forefront of the CIO’s mind.

Lonsdale closes with the following 5 takeaways:

·         Use your business design to prioritize initiatives

·         Fix the basics

·         Become service driven

·         Balance the scale of lights on to innovation

·         Run IT as a business to improve services

These five represent not only the best practices for a CIO who wishes to become more like a CEO, but any CIO who hopes to facilitate a more strategic operation within IT. Through this expanded view of IT as not only part of the business but a business unto itself, a CIO can better prepare for the continued and exponential expansion that technology will play in the future of business.  

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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