Asian firms step up ITSM efforts

Organizations in the region are finding IT service management is paying off, and many are incorporating it on a wider scale, new study finds.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Organizations in Asia are mostly satisfied with their IT service management (ITSM) initiatives, with many increasingly tapping on ITSM to better meet business requirements, according to findings of a new survey.

The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) Asia Survey 2008, conducted from end August to early October, found that about 62 percent of organizations indicated that their respective ITSM implementation exceeded or met expectations. Over 150 respondents from seven Asian economies--Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand--took part in the online survey, the first of such a scope for the itSMF.

Only 5 percent said their ITSM efforts did not meet expectations, while around a third of the respondents (32.6 percent) indicated that it was too early to gauge the level of satisfaction.

Peter Edwards, honorary secretary of the Singapore chapter of the itSMF, told ZDNet Asia in an interview Tuesday that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the number of respondents that was satisfied with their ITSM efforts, as well the low proportion that was not satisfied with their implementation. Based on the "drama stories" he had heard in the industry, he had expected between 10 percent and 20 percent of users to be dissatisfied, said Edwards, who is also senior managing consultant at IBM Service Management Center of Excellence in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the survey, ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) v2 is the most commonly adopted framework in the region, followed by ISO/IEC 20000, ITIL v3. A significantly lower number have adopted the Cobit (Control Objectives for Information and related Technology) framework. Of the organizations that have plans to put a framework in place, about 30 percent indicated ITIL v3; 22 percent opted for ISO/IEC 20000 and 20 percent, COBIT.

ITIL v2 adoption is highest in Singapore and Korea, with 73 percent and 63 percent of respondents, respectively, indicating that they have implemented ITIL v2. At 19 percent, the Philippines has the lowest proportion of ITIL v2 implementation.

The survey also found that while most ITIL processes implemented were "core ITIL v2 processes", with most specific to IT, many organizations were in the progress of implementing processes that had an impact on business functions. These include knowledge management, portfolio management, service level management and strategy generation, said Edwards.

"There's a big swing around in terms of how people are viewing service management--people are starting to look at service management to manage the business and IT relationship," he noted.

In addition, organizations are also planning to implement processes such as demand management and portfolio management, which again suggests a "significant shift" from what businesses were previously focused on, added Edwards. The change in attitudes, according to him, reflects both business maturity toward service management as well as business needs.

Smaller organizations taking to ITSM
Survey findings have also contradicted "popular belief that service management is only adopted by larger companies", noted Edwards. Across the region, about 40 percent of enterprises with fewer than 100 staff indicated that they had either fully or partially implemented ITIL v2.

Laura Knapp, consultant for IBM Software Group and IBM Tivoli Software, pointed out that more aggressive start-ups in the region, particularly in China and India, are faster than mature implementers in "embracing newer elements" in ITSM efforts. Smaller players, she noted, typically are more flexible in adopting new tools as they are not burdened by legacy systems.

Small and midsize business adoption of ITSM frameworks runs across industries, said Edwards, adding that a Malaysian government agency with under 200 employees including seven IT staff, is one such smaller organization looking to implement ISO/IEC 20000.

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