Skip to main content

The Meaning of IT

What does the IT in ITIL® stand for? This question may seem easy to answer. The IT stands for “information technology”. But what does that really mean? Is there more than one way to answer the question of what the IT in ITIL® means? I believe there are more than one context or meaning for IT and we must be aware of the distinct meanings. Let’s take a look at some of the ideas or concepts behind IT.

·       IT as “information technology”: This most basic use of IT refers to the physical and technological pieces and components made up of electronics and operating/machine software. E.g. A desktop computer is IT as “information technology”.

·      IT as “management information systems (MIS)”: Computerized components that are used to manage, control and govern information used to run a business or organization. E.g. A customer relationship management system is IT as “MIS”.

·        IT as “collection of applications and infrastructure”: This umbrella use of IT encompasses anything technological or computerized regardless of its usage or its nature. E.g. Cloud computing is IT as “collection of applications and infrastructure”.

·       IT as “place”: This use of IT refers to the location where IT management, control and governance occur. E.g. A data center is IT as “place”.

·        IT as “organization”: This logical use of IT represents the “department” of people who create, deliver, manage, control and govern “information technology” and “management information systems”. The IT folks are IT as “organization”.
Many times I have run across individuals and organizations where the use of the term IT or “information technology” has become confused or misused. This leads to misunderstandings, poor decision making and unclear roles and responsibilities. ITIL® encourages us to clarify our terminology and use it in its proper context.
So let us look at an example. One of the most confused uses of IT is that of IT as “organization”. Unfortunately there is no clear boundary or standard as to what makes up an “IT Department”. Some companies include all IT related work: projects, application development, infrastructure management, support and many other areas. Some companies take a more narrow view and only include the back-end operational activities of supporting infrastructure and operating systems. Business application development, support and management are not included.
This lack of consistency in definition and usage leads to issues when trying to apply ITIL® and other best practices. Does ITIL® cover application development, if that is not part of an “IT Department”? Does ITIL deal with strategies that are related to outside of a narrowly defined “IT Department”? Does requirements gathering and design belong “inside” or “outside” an “IT Department”?
ITIL® itself does not necessarily provide clear answers to these questions. ITIL® does provide guidance that will lead an organization to become more consistent and comprehensive with its usage and definition of terms like “information technology”. If your organization has not undertaken to clarify basic terms like “information technology” it may be interesting to see different definitions based on different perspectives.  The benefits and value will reveal themselves in the long run.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance.Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables. An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the policies (r…

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service".
I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize:
SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle.
ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs …

ITIL 4 – Mapping the Customer Journey

All service providers are in the business of customer and user experience. It is not enough to compete on products and services, how services are delivered is as important as what is delivered.

The customer journey is the complete end-to-end experience customers have with one or more service providers and/or their products through the touchpoints and service interactions with those providers. In order to focus on the outcomes and on the customer/user experience, service providers are seeking to master the art of mapping their customer journey. Doing so allows them to maximize stakeholder value through co-creation of value throughout the entire value chain.

The customer journey begins by understanding the overall macro-level of steps or groups of activities that generate the need for interaction between the customer and the service provider. These activities begin at “Explore” and end with “Realize” where the value is actually being consumed by the end-users.
The Band of Visibility