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ITIL for BAs. Part I

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know of my deep interest in both ITIL and BA, and particularly their interdependencies.  One driver behind that interest is my observation (validated by numerous colleagues) that, all too often, people in specific practices (PM, software development, IT operations, BPE, SOA, BA, etc.) are strong and focused in their domain but neglect the touchpoints and integrations with other practices.  It is a sort of “best practice” silo phenomenon analogous to the technology silos in IT organizations.

There is a significant amount of overlap between the BABOK and ITIL, with lots to sort out.  Furthermore, the differences between the two practices in terms of activities, inputs, outputs, roles, metrics, and organizational structure are noteworthy, and because of ITIL’s significant dependence on strong BA, those differences will need to be reconciled to get the most out of our BA/ITIL integration efforts.

In this post I would like to kick off a deeper treatment of the BA/ITIL connections, starting with a description of ITIL v3’s overall structure in terms of the service life cycle and key processes.  Future posts will then cover specific touchpoints between BA and IT.

So, let’s begin at the beginning.  ITIL is all about encapsulating IT (the infrastructure and the organization) such that the users and customers view IT as a service provider that is integrated into the business.  ITIL’s definition of a service is:

a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks

In other words, by adopting ITIL, an IT organization is saying to its customers, “tell us what you need, in your terms, and we’ll take care of the nuts and bolts”.  This means that the business sets the context that defines the value of IT’s contribution, which is, delivering solutions that satisfy requirements that facilitate desired business outcomes.

When you add up (a) the complexities of IT-based solutions, (b) the increased rate of change in business and IT, and (c) management’s need for monitoring and control, it is clear that a BA needs to be tightly involved with IT throughout the life cycle of an IT-based solution.

ITIL v3 is especially well-suited to accommodate such involvement.  In its simplest terms, the core of ITIL v3 is a set of five books reflecting the IT Service life cycle phases of

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement

At this level it is easy to see that the service life cycle is a very effective context for the BA’s activities.  Let’s look one level deeper now, into the specific processes associated with each of those life cycles – the process names alone are sufficient to suggest the breadth of opportunities BAs have to drive BA/ITIL integration:

  • Service Strategy
    • Strategy Generation
    • Service Portfolio Management
    • Demand Management
    • Financial Management
  • Service Design 
    • Service Catalog Management
    • Information Security Management
    • Supplier Management 
    • IT Service Continuity Management
    • Service Level Management
    • Capacity Management
    • Availability Management
  • Service Transition
    • Transition Planning and Support
    • Change Management
    • Service Asset and Configuration Management
    • Release and Deployment Management
    • Service Validation and Testing
    • Evaluation
    • Knowledge Management
  • Service Operation
    • Event Management
    • Incident Management
    • Request Fulfillment 
    • Access Management
    • Problem Management
  • Continual Service Improvement

For the BA, several of the above processes, such as Service Validation and Testing, Change Management, and Financial Management, jump off the page because of their relevance to BA.

Beginning with our next post, we’ll start to tackle the above processes individually in terms of their overall purpose and their relevance to BA as defined in the BABOK.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to post your comments/thoughts!

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