februari 05, 2008

ITIL ® V3 and ASL

ASL and ITIL are both models that can be used to improve your IT Service Management processes. In May 2007, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) released a new version of ITIL®. ITIL v3, brought together the former practices of ITIL and new industry practices in IT Service Management into a comprehensive service lifecycle. One of the changes in the new version of ITIL is the formalized practice of Application Management into the service lifecycle. Aspects of Application Management are to be found in all five volumes of the core guidance.
A comprehensive description of the relationship between ASL and ITIL v3 is recently published on the internet. The paper, called "ITIL V3 and ASL: Sound guidance for application management and application development", is written by Machteld Meijer, Mark Smalley and Sharon Taylor. Here a short overview.

There are both similarities and differences between ITIL and ASL. Both frameworks define and address the Applications domain and provide the reader with an insight into how the frameworks can best be applied.

The new version of ITIL views the IT Service Management domain by primarily describing the phases of the service lifecycle. Within this perspective it uses processes that detail parts of one or more phases. Alongside processes, descriptions of organizational functions and activities are also used to provide guidance. ASL is primarily a process model, focusing on Application Management and the maintenance part of Application Development but with clear interfaces to the adjoining IT management domains Business Information Management and Infrastructure Management.

Much of the content of ITIL is very generic, with detailed descriptions of the principles and more attention to subjects that are relevant to the application domain. This changes the perception of the previous versions that ITIL was primarily meant for Infrastructure Management to a perception that it is intended to support all IT services.

ASL and ITIL use the terms Application Management and Application Development in different ways: ASL positions Maintenance (including enhancement and renovation) within the scope of Application Management and defines Application Development as the function that produces new applications, not releases of existing applications. ASL sees advantages in clustering Operational management of applications with Application Maintenance while ITIL prefers to separate them and cluster Application Maintenance with development of new applications.

Mapping of the relative value of ASL and ITIL to the ITIL Application Management Lifecycle shows similarities and areas of added value in both models.

ITIL has added value for the phases Requirements (some) and Operate (much). ASL has added value for the Build phase (much). Both models have similar value for the phases Design, Deploy and Optimize. although in detail they both add some value to each other.

The demarcation between customer (the business) and supplier of IT services is more explicitly drawn in ASL than in ITIL. This gives a different perspective, which can be of added value in a professional relationship. Other points of interest in ASL are the specific Application Management/Maintenance processes and examples, the limited scope (primarily Application Management/Maintenance) and the fact that the language used appeals more to people in the Applications domain than the generic ITIL approach.
ITIL describes processes and activities that are common to both models (such as Availability Management, Capacity Management, Requirements Engineering and Data & Information Management) in more detail than ASL. Both models address strategic aspects: ITIL addresses the generic service strategy for the IT servive provider while ASL focuses on the application strategy, using process descriptions. ITIL describes 1-3 processes for this area (the ITIL books are not totally consistent in the definition of the processes), ASL describes 10 processes.

The ITIL books give sufficient guidance for organizations that manage commercial-off-the-shelf applications but if an organization maintains the applications and therefore actually modifies the source code, then ASL provides a lot of additional en necessary guidance.

The full paper can be found in the link.

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