Wednesday, June 6, 2007

ITIL and SOA -- merging best practices

There is a lot of traction around in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). While SOA provides best practices around technology integration ITIL is focused on best practices around IT Service Management (ITSM). Effective implementation of the both strategies supposed to yield capable IT infrastructure on one end and tight IT governance on the other. Well, that is true if concepts and practices can be translated to implementation easily -- not quite the case yet.

ITIL, while providing a solid base, in practice is difficult to achieve on the end-to-end basis. So organizations pick tools that fit into the ITIL model -- yet may not readily integrate with one another. The result is organizations that on paper are ITIL compliant yet in reality can not fully realize ITIL vision.

So how should deal with strategic long term direction and yet deal with short term practical issues of SOA governance (using ITSM)?
  • Organization need to adapt ITIL practices to fit the size and requirements (current and future)
  • Technology aquisition and adoption must always be evaluated against: todays needs and always must be inline with long term strategic goals.

While it sounds quite obvious, it is not easy to enforce especially in large organizations. What is happening is that long term strategy is often times traded for the short benefit often on project by project basis. This in term creates a complex technology and tool mix that is 1) complex and 2) costly to maintain going forward.

Some organizations setup archiecture committees or review boards, which review and approve all tehnology aquisitions and adoption within the organization. Their tasked one to ensure that best practices are enforced on end, and also review and ammend the same practices on the other.

The role of such review boards is essential especially when organizations are trying to implement such broad practices such as ITIL and/or SOA.

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