ITIL overshadowed by other priorities

ITIL adoption and certification is lower in Asia compared to other parts of the world, as Asian companies have other organizational priorities.

Attaining IT service management certification, it seems, is still not a priority for some organizations in Asia.

Steve Wells, DHL's acting vice president of strategy and planning for Asia-Pacific, told ZDNet Asia that although ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) processes have been used as a frame of reference for internal operational processes, the company's focus is on implementing CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration).

"Our preference has been to follow CMM and CMMI accreditation," he said, adding that DHL has attained Level 5 CMM accreditation.

"We have not noticed much in the way of specific requests for ITIL compliance from our customers, which would in turn drive our consideration of ITIL over CMMI," Wells said, adding that the company may go for ITIL certification next year in light of a broader ISO 14000 certification for business process management.

Lim Kuo Siong, Maybank's head of central operations and IT, said that his organization is currently on ITIL v2, and is assessing both ITIL v3 and the COBIT set of best practices for IT management. Implementation, however, "depends on budget and resources", he said.

India's HDFC Bank, on the other hand, has started on ITIL v3 implementation, and expects to get there in a year, according to Harish Shetty, the bank's vice president of IT.

When asked if they felt pressured to be ITIL compliant because of industry trends, both Lim and Shetty said they did not.

Steve Bittinger, Gartner research director, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail that despite the benefits of IT service management certification, such as improved competitiveness, many organizations in Asia still do not see a need for it.

"Certification is less relevant to IT services groups within companies and government agencies, which is why we see fewer such groups aiming to achieve certification," he said.

Language issues may be another factor slowing down ITIL adoption in Asia.

However, Gartner's Bittinger noted the efforts by the IT Service Management Forum to work with its local branches in different countries to translate ITIL v3 into different local languages.

This, Bittinger noted, will "make ITIL more accessible to non-English-speaking audiences", and further accelerate the rate of ITIL adoption.

Alan McLaughlin, service management solution lead for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Asia-Pacific and Japan, told ZDNet Asia that HP has received strong regional interest in ITIL v3 training courses since its launch in June this year.

"As several economies in Asia are growing very quickly, we expect the IT service management adoption rate in Asia to catch up soon with Europe and the Americas," said McLaughlin.

According to a recent BMC-Pink Elephant study, the region's interest in ITIL is growing fast, with ITIL's adoption rate ranking highest in the Asia-Pacific region.