Can ITIL keep up with the real-time urgency of the modern business landscape, or is the way in which traditional ITIL definitions are structured too narrow to fit today’s changing needs? Let’s take a look at what ITIL brings to the table and if it may still be used in cases where business needs are not so easily defined.
Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken
Incidents – ITIL 2011 has a twofold definition for an incident: 1. an unexpected break in an IT service that usually results in a reduction in the quality of that service; or 2. a configured item that has failed without an immediate impact on the business, but would have an impact in the future if left unchecked.
Problems – According to ITILv3, a problem is defined as the cause of an incident or multiple incidents. At the time that a problem is originally recorded, the cause of the problem is usually unknown, although it is known that the problem has caused at least one incident.
Changes – ITILv3 defines a change as any removal, addition or modification that could possibly affect IT services. This is a slight change from the ITILv2 definition, which defined a change as a deliberate action that specifically affected configuration items.
Releases – A release is simply a version of a software that has been made available to the general public.
Applying ITIL to the Needs of Modern Business
All of the above definitions work quite well as long as the root cause of an incident and a problem can be found. However, because of increased sophistication in business tech, there are simply too many situations that do not fit these definitions, rendering these definitions impossible to use in any practical way. For instance, if the IT department is providing cross-department assistance, is this an incident or a problem if implementing a solution also incorporates a few bugs that must be addressed at the same time? ITIL has less power to provide an adequate roadmap of the next action in a situation like this, and this is causing many companies to reconsider using traditional definitions at all.
How Do You Successfully Move from Incidents and Problems to Changes and Releases?
The savviest companies compromise somewhere in between blindly sticking to tradition and completely redefining terms that have the potential to lead to positive workflow and effective solution finding in certain situations. Although the world of tech and commerce are moving ahead at warp speed, some of the trends in service interruption and the creation of problems still exist.
It is up to management to properly identify situations that would be more properly assessed through the traditional roadmap of classic ITIL or through a more nuanced solution set of newer terms, assessments and workflows. However, this should not come as such a shock, as the world of business always moves from its standards of the past, albeit more slowly than futurists would predict.
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