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Interest in ITIL Framework Skyrocketing

With internal auditors breathing down their necks over compliance and security issues, many large companies are eager for help organizing IT operations infrastructure. That helps explain the mushrooming popularity of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.

ITIL, developed and maintained by the British government, offers companies a set of industry-standard best practices for managing IT services. Although it’s focused on the production side of the house, development groups are beginning to take notice. Change management vendors, such as MKS, that target both elements are including ITIL-compatible frameworks in their products as customer demand grows.

According to Gartner analyst Jim Duggan, ITIL is becoming increasingly important to large companies. “Over the last 3 years, the level of interest has just skyrocketed,” he says. That’s why vendors including MKS, Serena Software and Borland Software are either offering ITIL-specific releases or working toward that end.

MKS just announced an ITIL process framework in its MKS Integrity Suite 2005, the company’s enterprise application change management solution. According to Dave Martin, MKS VP of product management, ITIL has become huge in the industry as companies look for better ways to manage IT operations infrastructure. “In the era of compliance, it’s a little bit of a silver bullet to show they’re compliant with some sort of industry best practice,” he says. Also, Martin says, ITIL is very specific about how to manage an IT operations infrastructure, giving companies something tangible to implement.

Regulations such sa Sarbanes-Oxley may have triggered initial interest in ITIL, Duggan says, but a cascading effect has followed. Internal auditors are realizing the need for tighter control of systems and data throughout the enterprise for better security and data privacy. “This is an area where they realize they need to start investing before they get caught,” Duggan says. “They’re looking for standards they can point to,” which ITIL provides.

It’s all part of a move toward more formal development processes and controls. Better tracing and tracking will trickle down to mid-size and small development organizations, but for now, Duggan says, only companies large enough to have an IT auditor on staff are looking at ITIL and similar structured measures. Eventually, that will have to change. “It’s just good security,” Duggan says. “We’ve been lucky for 20 years, but that luck is running out.”

About the Author

Linda Briggs is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She can be reached at lbriggs@lindabriggs.com.

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