ITIL: An Arm and a Leg?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You don’t need me to tell you that ITIL has exploded in recent years. It’s about 25 years old, but only in the last decade has it really become the dominating presence that it is now. For many organizations, it is the fundamental framework that the entire relationship between IT and business departments is based on.
But the world has become a different place in the last 18 months and budgets have become severely curtailed. For some that means that there is a greater willingness to accept risk on projects in exchange for lower costs, and that in turn brings the benefits of ITIL into question. Is the additional structure, process and service quality worth the cost and schedule impact on initiatives?
ITIL fundamentals
Clearly the answer to that question can only come from the companies that face these decisions, but it won’t surprise you to know that I have an opinion! If we take ITIL down to its most basic level, it is an attempt to provide efficient and cost effective IT services to the organization. It is of course only one approach, but if an organization decides that a project is not going to comply with their ITIL standards, then they need to accept that there is likely to be a drop in service quality--and potentially an increase in risks that goes beyond simply the cost of the project and persists into the operational support of the product that is …

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