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Good Governance Drives ITIL® Success

ITIL GovernanceManagers and executives are frequently depicted as shallow buffoons on TV and in movies – do you have the right cover sheet on your TPS report? In reality, strong managers and leaders are needed to set business requirements and internal expectations.

Employees operating without governance may work efficiently, but cannot work effectively because they do not understand their company’s goals. In an organization with ITIL® processes, business governance translates into ITIL governance, just as business requirements translate into service definitions within the ITIL process.

It is important that leaders who build these requirements have a good basic understanding of ITIL so they can set up effective requirements and governance.

The Importance of Governance

Business (or corporate) governance is the set of standards and practices by which the board of directors ensures proper business operation of the company. In many cases, this means maintaining proper standards and reporting for various regulatory requirements as well as practices that will be desirable to shareholders.

Corporate scandals have brought the importance of governance to light, and many organizations are realizing that IT is tightly bound with their ability to track and manage adherence to standards and practices. Similarly, IT governance is the organization, culture and practices that manage IT’s internal practices.

This sounds rather abstract, but the reality is that ineffective governance at any level may be the root cause of disastrous losses of money and public confidence. Fortunately, the ITIL framework lends itself to the development and continuance of strong IT governance.

Where Does Good Governance Start?

Fortunately, companies and independent organizations have been in the governance business for years. As auditors and regulators picked away at weaknesses within the systems, organizations were able to develop best practices that satisfied not only their compliance departments but turned out to be beneficial to the company as a whole, improving efficiency, application availability and accountability.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, it makes sense to look to existing standards. ITIL has its own governance specifications, but there are other, complimentary standards to examine as well. An effective combination is to use COBIT as the ‘what to control’, ITIL as the ‘how to control it’, and ISO standards as ‘how to implement controls’. Together, these standards form a solid foundation for excellent IT practices and reporting.

The Value of Governance: Beyond Compliance

ITIL governance requires that IT monitor its practices to and seek to improve them. While the reports required to do this help satisfy audit requirements, ITIL governance brings much more to the table than simple compliance benefits.

ITIL practices not only help align the IT organization with business by providing concrete service definitions and requirements, they help align IT governance with corporate governance. And by managing internal processes under ITIL’s continuous improvement banner, more benefits accrue to the business as a whole.

The better a business defines its corporate governance and works with IT during ITIL implementation, the better the resulting IT governance will be. This results in more effective ITIL practices which bring concrete value and real payback to the company.

Ashford Global IT, AGIT, is a leading training provider for ITIL and other IT programs. Contact them today to discuss your individual or corporate training needs.

 

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About this author:

Jon Francum

Jon is the Director of Training at Ashford Global IT.

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