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IT is inseparable from the business processes it automates. Hardware outages, infrastructure costs, and misaligned applications directly impact the performance of your business. IT managers are now directly responsible for keeping the business running.

This responsibility requires that managers have firm control over their IT portfolios and the services they provide. Managers must not only correct IT issues before they affect corporate risk, cost, and mission. They must take a strategic approach, getting ahead of firefighting mode, to better match IT plans with business plans.

To do so IT leaders are turning to best practice models like the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL has helped IT teams to deliver higher quality business services that match business needs.

However, IT organizations struggle to get to ITIL or other approaches because they are too busy "operating" to focus on "improving." Second, once they do get to ITIL or other practices, they struggle with key aspects of implementation. This paper will look at a dual approach to get to ITIL faster.

Problem: Complexity Slows You

Why are organizations focused on fighting fires? Why are 80% of budgets devoted to lights on activities? Surely IT managers want to focus resources on innovation. Of course they do, but the sheer complexity of their IT portfolios makes it difficult to focus elsewhere.

IT portfolios include complex interplays between hardware, software, processes, and people that have been adapted over decades. For example, a Java-based order management system may connect with a call center's COBOL application on top of a PL/I order fulfillment system.

These systems only grow more complex over time. New business requirements arrive, hardware is added, and architectural standards are ignored. IT portfolios now include duplicate, redundant, undocumented, and fragile systems.

Worse still, the need to put out fires reduces communication between stakeholders in development, operations, architecture, and business users. That means that a comprehensive approach to managing and executing IT tasks is difficult.

So, it's no wonder your time is devoted here. To get to a controlled state, like that provided by ITIL, requires getting ahead of this complexity.

Problem: Complexity Makes ITIL Challenging


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