Demystifying Cobit and ITIL

Our senior IT executives are being held accountable to better manage the quality and reliability of IT in business and respond to a growing number of regulatory and contractual requirements. Every enterprise needs to tailor the use of standards and practices to suit its individual requirements. Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) and the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can both play a useful role in IT governance.

Very simply COBIT helps our senior management teams to define what should be done and ITIL provides the framework for how to manage our services.

When we think about COBIT and IT governance at the most fundamental level, there are four questions that every leader asks him or herself when it comes to IT initiatives:
  • Is my IT organization doing the right things?
  • Are we doing them the right way?
  • Are we getting them done well?
  • Are we getting value from our IT department?

COBIT helps answer these questions by defining IT activities in a generic process model within four domains along with a set of information criteria. The four domains are: Plan and Organize, Acquire and Implement, Deliver and Support, and Monitor and Evaluate. The COBIT framework provides a reference process model and common language for everyone in an enterprise to view and manage IT activities. 
ITIL speaks more to an operational level of service management and the framework answers these questions:
  • What are my IT services? 
  • What are best practices for managing my services?
  • Are we following best practices for our processes?
  • How do we monitor and measure our services?

These questions are answered by following the guidance given by the ITIL framework. The ITIL framework has 5 lifecycle stages, Strategy, Design, Transition, Operations and Continual Service Improvement.
By an organization knowing what it should be doing and combining that with best practice on how to accomplish these tasks, top management, business management, auditors, compliance officers and IT managers can work together to make sure IT best practices lead to regulatory compliance with cost-effective and well-controlled IT delivery.




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