Across the globe, IT executives are taking a closer look to at the merits of adopting IT Service Management (ITSM) best practice frameworks  to improve their IT efforts. Those who have been the first out the starting blocks are already reaping the benefits of their investments. 

This was confirmed by the results of a recent study undertaken by Datamonitor, commissioned by Dimension Data.  The study targeted over 370 CIOs from 14 countries across five continents.
The survey shows that ITSM’s potential to align IT more tightly with the business’s strategic objectives, provide additional resources for innovation through more efficient dealing with routine tasks and facilitate communication by providing a common language, is increasingly being recognised.  
ITIL, Prince 2 and TQM in particular, are held in high regard among the CIOs surveyed.
Derek Wilcocks, executive director: strategy at Dimension Data, explains that best practice frameworks can play an important role in freeing up internal resources from day-to-day management and maintenance tasks – which allows the organisation to focus squarely on the strategic development of the technology environment.
“In addition, because ITSM creates a sense of structure and a common language, ITSM best practice frameworks lend themselves well to Multisourced procurement models that are gaining traction around the globe,” he adds.
The results of the Dimension Data / Datamonitor survey paint a clear picture that organisations in EMEA are outstripping their North American and APAC counterparts in terms of ITSM engagement, adoption and maturity.  
According to the report, South Africa CIOs say that the primary inhibitors to the adoption of ITIL and ITSM best practices is a lack of resources and the perceived costs associated with its implementation. “The survey showed that there does appear to be a skills gap when it comes to implementing best practice.”
Wilcocks says South African companies are also more worried about which frameworks to adopt than  their international counterparts. “Despite these issues, South Africa companies are keeping pace with the implementation of best practice systems.”
Wilcocks points out however that ITSM can deliver real value to a business. “The report shows that many organizations are seeing actual benefits from the adoption of ITSM and it can have a considerable impact on changes in business processes.”
The use of ITSM best practices for managing IT services has been in full swing for many years amongst organisations across Europe and general consensus exists in this geography that major productivity gains can be reaped by following ITSM guidelines. The survey found that 72% of respondents in EMEA have either evaluated, or partially or fully implemented some area of ITIL.
Interviews with CIOs in the APAC region confirmed that although current rates of adoption are generally low, a large percentage of survey respondents expressed interest in or have begun active projects around ITIL.  66% of the CIOs interviewed in APAC expressed optimism about the actual ability of ITSM to contribute towards business process optimisation, compared to 44% and 56% in the US and EMEA respectively.
US organisations report a markedly lower rate of adoption and engagement with ITSM frameworks and US CIOs tend to rate ITSM frameworks consistently lower in terms of their applicability, relevance, scope and clarity than their counterparts in EMEA and APAC.  Inhibitors to ITSM implementation are also felt more keenly in the US and a general lack of conviction regarding the potential of ITSM to improve business processes or align business and IT prevails.
Regional variations aside, the Dimension Data/Datamonitor study confirms that CIOs around the globe are demonstrating a growing recognition of the potential ITSM best practices – and particularly ITIL – have to get IT functioning like a well-oiled machine and deliver real business benefits.  This is something that promises to catapult IT best practices even further into the mainstream over the next few years.