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Why the Defense Industry is Adopting ITIL®

As an article in Federal Computer Week puts it, ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library®) is “Simple Advice, Big Payoff.”  So just what is ITIL, and why is the Defense Industry adopting it?

ITIL was established in Europe in a joint effort in the United Kingdom and Belgium. ITIL is currently employed throughout most of the modern world in every industrialized nation.

ITIL® has been adopted by the governments and business organizations of Europe (including Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland). It is also widely employed in Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada and the United States.

ITIL has become the internationally accepted standard for IT Service Management structure. It involves a broad range of integrated IT “Best Practice” approaches complemented by other associated professional certifications such as COBIT (Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology), CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) for process improvement and organizational development, and Project Management Professional (PMP).

More than simply another certification, ITIL embodies the practices of proactive management in realizing the optimal IT infrastructure to provide reliable, dependable and continually improved service within the organization. With that goal foremost established, ITIL identifies management processes to monitor and control applicable interfaces (groups, departments, etc) within an organization to ensure IT availability, reliability and consistency remain constant while monitoring all impacting elements.

This practical, structured approach is why ITIL V3 structure and life-cycle approach is logical to military leaders. According to Corde Wagner, former Army Command Sergeant Major, ITIL makes sense to the Army because of its commitment to innovation and leadership. He says, “… the Army leads the way in how to lead, document, and make processes repeatable.”

One of the most important concerns for any organization is controlling overhead costs and how to monitor those effectively yet unobtrusively. ITIL can provide that avenue early in the stages of IT practice development.

The Air Force’s Air Combat Command (ACC) has made changes to its IT operations which have increased network availability from a percentage rate in the mid 80’s to the high 90’s using ITIL.  With the help of ITIL consultants, results included:

  • IT managers are better able to identify and prioritize resources for the most critical IT infrastructure problems.
  • Managers can track relationships between systems changes and network availability.
  • A formalized process now exists for requesting, analyzing and approving configuration changes.

The Army’s 9th Signal Command is using ITIL in developing its desktop software policy, helpdesk and management policy for 11,000 desktops, guided by its Configuration Control Board (CCB).  Another initiative aims at providing leading edge management across both Network and IT Infrastructures.  While some communication service providers (CSPs) plan to manage across IT and Network domains, few have done so on the scale of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.

US Army contractor STG is presently overseeing the rollout of an IT Infrastructure Library for the Headquarters Command, Continental  US Theater Networks for the Army’s network and systems operations.  The contract will provide mission-critical IT support services, and will establish new IT capabilities that support army warriors.

The US Air Force started ITIL implementations in 2006, under the Enterprise Solutions Branch of Integration, Development Directorate of Warfighter Integration.  The Air Force also created the Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER), Cyberspace Defense Unit, which uses ITIL tenets.

The US Navy is presently standardizing its IT strategy around ITIL.

In summary, the military and its defense contractors are increasingly implementing ITIL for effective IT management, control, and continuous service improvement.

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become the international standard for IT best practice. It is a process based system designed to bring the various units in your IT Department (Management, Programming, Hardware, Network, and Customer Service/Technical Support) together as one fully functioning, organized unit.  According to recent surveys, in today’s economy, the best return on investment for companies and the military is to be informed and develop an understanding of how ITIL can save time and money with a specifically tailored training program to meet your individual company’s needs and goals.


About this author:

Angel Prusinowski

Angel is a leading ITIL® instructor at Ashford Global IT.

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