Quality IT service comes at a price

Some organisations are spending more than half a million dollars on implementing new service delivery frameworks like ITIL, an Australian survey has found.The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework is just one part of a rapidly developing body of knowledge around IT service management (ITSM).

Some organisations are spending more than half a million dollars on implementing new service delivery frameworks like ITIL, an Australian survey has found.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework is just one part of a rapidly developing body of knowledge around IT service management (ITSM). ITSM defines processes IT departments should use to improve how they deliver IT services.

While ITSM frameworks like ITIL have only gained prominence in recent years, some organisations are committing serious resources to them, according to preliminary results of a survey by the local arm of the non-profit IT Service Management Forum (itSMF).

Conducted by the University of Southern Queensland at itSMF Australia's conference in August, only 3 percent of the 80 attendees surveyed claimed to have implemented ITIL. The remaining 97 percent were at different stages of their implementation.

More significant though was the amount of money committed to such projects.

"A lot of people were over the AU$100,000 in [cost] terms of the actual implementation, in terms of process. And there were one or two that were well up over the quarter million, half a million," said itSMF Australia chairman Peter Cross.

Resource costs for ITSM projects commonly consist of hiring consultants and staff time spent on ITSM process design and definition.

In addition, the average organisation surveyed also spent AU$100,000-$150,000 on tools that could aid its ITSM project, such as configuration management databases or monitoring tools.

Buying new tools was not a mandatory requirement of ITSM projects, Cross said, but would take longer without automation software.

However, Cross said the costs of starting an ITSM project could be offset over time by improved IT service delivery.

"Things like licence management. There's as much as 25-30 percent, and I'm being conservative there, in savings by knowing what licensing you've got and managing your licence and reuse."

A medium size organisation undertaking ITSM could reap these benefits in 6-12 months, he said.

The main driver for the surveyed ITSM projects was not internal compliance (18 percent) or to reduce costs (25 percent), but to improve IT service focus (81 percent).

"It's improved service focus in terms of focusing on the business and the business requirements and not on the technical requirements or the architecture," Cross said.

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