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Cost of implementing ITIL
Recently ITILnews has been contacted by one of our visitors asking if we could provide any guidance around the costs involved in implementing ITIL into an organization. Due to the variables associated with an organization including, size, location and budget, it is impossible to specify specific costing's.
The article identifies areas for consideration when attempting to budget or construct a business case for the project. It should be noted the list is by no means exhaustive and if you have suggestions for additional areas then please let us know.
Staff - the day-to-day operations still need to be sustained whilst the ITIL project delivers. A decision needs to be made as to which resource(s) from the organization will move onto the project and for what duration. In doing so a cost may be incurred where by the day to day activities of the re-allocated resource may need to be 'back-filled' either with a temporary or recruited resource.
Baseline - A baseline is an essential requirement. Firstly, it discloses a series of indicators and measures that can be used for comparison purposes at various stages of the ITIL implementation, thus providing an illustration of what progress has been made. Secondly, the baseline may also identify areas that either do not exist or require significant attention. Two options are available to organizations with regards to providing a baseline - utilize internal ITIL certified staff to undertake the base lining exercise, having purchased / obtained a base lining or assessment product / tool. Alternatively the organization can employ the services of an external third party to undertake the assessment, compile a report with recommendations and then present back to senior management. Regarding costs remember that at some point(s) in the future the baseline exercise will need to be repeated to enable the progress made to be reported. To ensure an accurate comparison is made the same third party and if possible resources should be engaged.
Education - The introduction of ITIL brings with it a consistent and integrated framework, accompanied by its own terms and acronyms. The education of staff is pivotal to the success of any ITIL implementation. Different levels or depths of education will be required for a variety of employees. Some employees, for example members of the ITIL project team may require educating to 'ITIL Intermediate' level or higher, where others may only require 'ITIL Foundation' level. The vast majority of staff may simply require a general ITIL Overview, which is tailored or customized to reflect the organization. In addition there may be a need for key individuals responsible specific ITIL processes to attend courses that specialize in a particular area of ITIL, for example Change Manager.
The organization may decide to develop the ITIL Overview course utilizing in-house resources. The official ITIL courses such as 'Foundation' and 'Intermediates' are delivered by Accredited Training Providers (ATP) and are accompanied by examinations that are administered by Examination Institutes (EI) all of which have a cost associated. ITILnews strongly advise that only Accredited Training Providers are employed to deliver the course and its accompanying materials.
ITIL courses are available in a variety of formats. Public courses involve attendance offsite often at a convenient location provided by the course provider. The advantages of such courses include:
  • Attendees will potentially mix with individuals from other organizations who are also implementing ITIL
  • The opportunity to share experiences is especially beneficial
  • The opportunity to build a 'network' of peers who are undertaking similar activities and possibly 'bounce' ideas in an effort to problem solve
  • Focus on the course potentially without interruption from the 'day job'
The disadvantage is the cost, both in terms of potential travel and accommodation, but also having resources offsite and away from day to day operations for perhaps a long period, thus placing additional pressures and stress on fellow work colleagues.
An alternative is to have the course delivered in-house by the Accredited Training Provider, which providers the benefit that a consistent message being delivered with regards the organizations ITIL implementation. Secondly, some of the issues currently faced by the organization or departments can be raised within the course and potential solutions offered by ITIL can be discussed - assisting with winning 'hearts and minds'.
Online courses provide the benefit whereby the individual sets the pace of the course, providing the flexibility to fit the course around work and potentially home life. Tests are often provided at the end of the sections to ensure the candidate understands what has been taught. Perhaps the only drawback is there is no interaction with others with whom ideas and experiences can be shared.
Books - To accompany ITIL are the various publications, which are available in various formats including hardcopy, PDFs, ebooks and annual subscriptions. Some publications may be provided by Accredited Training Providers for those attending various ITIL courses, although the costs are incorporated into the price of the course. Some courses as a pre-requisite ask candidates to read information contained within specific ITIL books.
Note: It is probably worth mentioning that ITILnews have a bookstore that supply all your ITIL book requirements, including various translated publications and furthermore provides a donation to needy charities for each publication, regardless of format, sold. ITILnews also provide access to free pdf downloads, for example An ITIL Overview.
Awareness Campaign - The Awareness Campaign is a critical activity and should not be underestimated as to its importance in any ITIL implementation. A variety of staff both in the Business, IT and third party suppliers will be touched by the implementation. Presentations, newsletters, intranets and host of other activities will involve a cost, both from a production perspective and also from a productivity perspective whilst staff receive or absorb the information.
External Resources - A consideration will be whether or not to use ITIL qualified and experienced external consultants and contract resources. Budget and time pressures will have a direct impact upon this decision. Often the resources should be able to provide templates and materials that should assist with 'fast-tracking' the organization in delivering some elements of ITIL.
Ensure that the scope of the piece of work is clearly defined and deliverables are identified and agreed to in advance and regularly reviewed to prevent scope creep and therefore increased costs.
Administration - Appointment of a Project Manager is a necessity if the ITIL implementation stands any chance of succeeding. In addition there will probably be a requirement for administrative staff to assist as well as Project Office time and resources. Once again an additional cost factor that will need to accounted for.
Governance - A vital element of the project is the Project Board. Due to the broad scope and potential impact of the project, senior management representatives from both the Business and IT will need to attend. In addition third party supplier representatives may be invited to attend periodically. It should also be factored that representatives from Internal Audit will also be expected to attend. Once again an additional cost factor that will need to accounted for.
Maturity and Size of Organization - Most of the organizations I have had the pleasure of working with have had 'pockets' of best practice in place. Adoption of ITIL best practices has therefore been somewhat easier and quicker to convey and implement in certain areas as opposed to others.
The maturity of an organization towards Service Management and the support of senior management have an impact upon how quickly and easily the ITIL implementation will be undertaken, which consequently have cost implications.
Multi-national organizations also provide cost implications with regards, project management and coordination. In some cases 'internal politics' between different regions or nations can have a bearing upon the receptiveness to the adoption of an ITIL initiative, which could possibly be perceived as being imposed upon them. Careful and potentially costly management may be required to obtain 'buy-in' and commitment to the initiative.
Tools - Review of the existing toolset will need to be undertaken to ensure that it can support the ITIL implementation. It is very important that the tools work for the organization and not the other way round. If additional or replacement tools are required then again a cost implication is involved.
ITILnews - Perhaps we should use this article to promote the fact that there is information and knowledge to be gleaned without having to pay the cost of an ITIL Consultant. Take time to review the selection of articles entitled 'ITIL in Practice', which have been written having implemented the theory into practice. As for cost, in this case there is not one.
Should have any questions or have comments regarding this article then please take time to contact us or leave a comment below...


2013-07-29 by "cathy.snyder"

I am interested in "having purchased / obtained a base lining or assessment product / tool" what tools are available for baselining that are helpful in evaluating ITIL and its impacts."
Reply on 2013-08-06
The majority of products available are provided by ITIL consultancies who offer a service whereby a consultant or team of consultants come onsite and ask a series of questions, which are then scored and a baseline or maturity measure is produced. A plan of action can then be defined to address the weaker areas or those that would provide most benefit to the organization. The consultancies obviously use the results of the assessment to sell on additional services and consultants.

During the times of ITIL version 2 there was a freely available to download questionnaire that enabled organizations to undertake a reasonably high-level assessment themselves. Having been involved in undertaking some assessments we would strongly recommend that highly experienced individuals are engaged in delivering such assessments as they can draw on their own knowledge / experiences to provide appropriate advice and guidance as well as depth to the assessment findings.

We hope this helps and should you require further information then please do not hesitate to come back to us here at ITILnews.

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