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COBIT® And ITIL® – Just Good Friends?

There has long been discussion over the differences and/or similarities between COBIT® and ITIL®, along with various IT methodologies. Experts in the field hold strong views on each method and some would find identifying a preferred approach similar to being asked to choose a favorite child.

As the discussion progresses the merits of COBIT continue to be recognized – it is mandated for financial institutions in Turkey, the South African government recognizes its value for ICT governance and the US Cybersecurity Framework recently included COBIT 5.

While cyber security and information assurance remain paramount in government and corporate environments, knowledge of COBIT 5 will become a desirable attribute for IT professionals. However, this is not going to make ITIL redundant as both have been successfully used by people in the industry for years.

The need for guidance on good practice regarding the governance and management of IT services, whether internal or external, as provided by ITIL – isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the requirement for robust governance of technology assets, along with direction on implementation and operation as well as improvement of these arrangements, which COBIT delivers.

ISACA’s view on the comparison is very clear, ‘The distinction between the two is sometimes described as “COBIT provides the ‘why’; ITIL provides the ‘how.’

They go on to say, ‘While catchy, that view is simplistic and seems to force a false “one or the other” choice. It is more accurate to state that enterprises and IT professionals who need to address business needs in the ITSM area would be well served to consider using both COBIT and ITIL guidance.

‘Leveraging the strengths of both frameworks, and adapting them for their use as appropriate, will aid in solving business problems and supporting business goals achievement.’

As COBIT 5 continues to develop – meeting the dynamic demands of an evolving environment and more high profile enterprises recognize its value, its place at the forefront of IT governance will be cemented. Old and new industry hands are taking note as the number taking COBIT 5 exams continue to climb.

Even so ITIL will retain its position as a venerated and valuable friend to the IT industry.

Of course, music, movies, sit-coms and the real word attest that a group of friends, each with their own attributes -are a great support network. For this reason we turn to one trusted friend who can provide the assistance needed in a particular situation and maybe others, to bring their unique skills and assist in conjunction.

On this basis, the theme tune of modern IT professionals recognizing the truth of the old adage, should be by The Beatles; ‘I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”






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