As organizations grow and evolve, they need a tech stack that scales with them. That’s where the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Framework comes in. ITIL is a set of guidelines companies can use to create a digital architecture that supports the work of their entire organization, but which is especially helpful for legal departments.
Developed with a focus on efficiency and service, the framework is a crucial tool for aligning core IT processes with legal and governance goals. Proper implementation doesn’t just improve end to end service at the customer level. It also provides in-house counsel with a foundation from which they can strengthen their compliance, risk management, and ESG objectives.
The ITIL Framework Explained
First introduced in the 1980s, the ITIL Framework has had a few version changes since then. The latest version (version 4) was released in 2019. It was initially developed in the UK, but has become the global standard for IT service delivery. ITIL 4 is the basis for the international standard ISO-20000.
The point of the Framework isn’t to give companies all the answers. Rather, it’s a blueprint that’s general enough to allow a high degree of customization while remaining specific enough to deliver results.
This flexibility means the Framework can be used across a range of industries, and within both the public and private sectors. IBM, the Government of Canada, Microsoft, and Hydro One all use ITIL to align their IT processes with industry best practices.
The latest version of the ITIL Framework has been upgraded to provide more agility and innovation for companies undergoing digital transformation. It was designed with modern-day tools in mind, taking into account the rapid shift to cloud-based infrastructure, automation, and machine-learning.
The main component of ITIL 4 is the service value system. This is an operating model for service creation and delivery – a key part of which is governance. Breaking it down further, ITIL 4 covers these main areas:
1. Organizations and people
Covering employees, suppliers, entities, customers, and in-house teams, this dimension takes a holistic view of an organization’s entire network and culture. It includes guidance on training, structure, and management.
2. Information et technology
This dimension involves assessing an organization’s tech stack to determine if it has the right infrastructure to support governance and service.
3. Partners and suppliers
This module addresses issues with outsourcing, focusing on the cost, effectiveness, and reliability of external partners.
4. Value streams and processes
Looking at the journey between customer demand and service delivery, identifying roadblocks in that process and opportunities for improvement.
Getting started with the ITIL Framework isn’t as easy as picking up a handbook. You need trained and certified IT professionals who are up to date with the latest version of the Framework.
There are various levels of certification, from beginner to advanced, and these are obtained from ITIL owners AXELOS. Levels include:
- Foundation – covering the basics and a prerequisite for further training
- Managing Professional (MP) – this learning path is designed for IT personnel who work in a managerial capacity, running teams and organization-wide projects.
- Strategic Leader (SL) – This model takes a broader view, moving from a focus on purely IT to wider business strategies
- ITIL Master – Professionals who complete both the MP and SL courses can then qualify for a Masters certification. They also need to have worked in IT service management for at least 5 years.
How the ITIL Framework Supports Legal Departments
While it’s important that organizations meet international standards of IT service delivery, the ITIL Framework isn’t just a tool for upgrading your tech. When implemented, the Framework provides counsel with a flexible architecture that helps them monitor compliance and support governance objectives across the board, from employee training to data protection.
An ITIL-based architecture is one that allows for agility. Legal departments need to be able to pivot to meet the next cybersecurity threat, stay on top of evolving regulations, monitor their subsidiaries, and more.
To achieve that degree of flexibility, they need digital solutions that can readily evolve to provide more robust management, transparency, and oversight as needed. The ITIL Framework was created by IT changemakers who know that technology is constantly innovating. It allows for that innovation, making it easy for in-house counsel to seamlessly adopt new tools or scale their existing ones as they grow.
Enhanced risk management
In drawing up an effective risk management framework, counsel invariably find themselves working closely with their IT departments as capability in this area is directly related to a company’s exposure to risk.
In an environment where cyber security threats are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated, organizations can’t afford leaky systems. Especially given the push towards remote or hybrid working, which poses significant security challenges and can compromise compliance.
The ITIL Framework plans ahead for these threats, securing systems by auditing workflows and value chains to ensure they’re protected. It helps companies meet their legal data privacy and data protection requirements while embedding security best practices across the entire organization.
In addition, the Framework helps senior executives and legal teams develop and update their risk management strategies. It streamlines processes to enable easier reporting and analysis so managers can quickly identify any vulnerabilities and track what’s needed to plug gaps. In case of an incident, the highly-structured Framework gives companies the ability to respond quickly and effectively to any breach.
ITIL also covers endpoint management, giving guidance on securing remote devices and other external points of access that could be targeted by hackers.
Greater transparency & accountability
Good governance requires a high degree of visibility into a company’s operation and ITIL provides that visibility by streamlining workflows and organizational processes.
With an ITIL-based architecture in place, legal teams can clearly track their deliverables, measuring progress in achieving ESG goals and monitoring compliance efforts. With this enhanced operational oversight they can efficiently compile reports, run audits, assess KPIs, and more.
Improving company culture
ITIL can help organizations meet their Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals by embedding them throughout the internal structure. Whether promoting diversity in hiring, encouraging paperless documentation, or improving transparency, the Framework supports all these efforts through digital tools and industry best practices.
Next Steps: How Counsel Can Assist IT Teams In Implementing ITIL
ITIL implementation won’t happen overnight. This kind of systemic change can take up to a year, depending on how digitally advanced the organization is to begin with. Most choose to implement ITIL in stages, engaging all internal stakeholders as well as external consultants if necessary.
While implementation will obviously be led by your CTO, CIO, and other high-level IT staff, legal departments also have an active role to play in delivery. They can help IT leaders clearly define the end goals of the project, identify any areas that may disrupt current risk management processes, coordinate communication with the board, and guide buy-in across different departments.
A step-by-step approach:
1. Create a roadmap
The ITIL Framework was not developed specifically for your organization, so the first step is customizing it to your individual priorities. Look at which parts of ITIL are most relevant to your company, and how they align with your legal and business needs. Key IT stakeholders should be involved from the outset, enlisting the CIO and other senior IT staff to work with the board to provide the technical expertise necessary to set realistic timelines and goals.
2. Schedule regular reports
Initial plans should allow for regular reports so management can keep a close eye on implementation and remain accountable on deliverables.
3. Monitor progress
These reports will help legal teams and senior management monitor implementation progress, but they should also include ITIL Framework adherence evaluation. This should be a regular agenda item for any Technology committees of the board.
4. Prepare for future updates
Any roadmap should leave room for future updates to your IT service strategy. The ITIL Framework is continually updated to reflect advances in technology so it’s important to stay alert for newer versions and act quickly to incorporate the latest guidance around cybersecurity, data protection, and compliance.
How DiliTrust Can Help Legal Departments Implement And Adhere To ITIL
DiliTrust Governance Suite is composed of modules that are tailor-built to assist with corporate governance and the smooth operation of your corporate legal department. The operational oversight it gives into each action easily fits into ITIL. Everything in the DiliTrust Governance Suite is trackable and highly secure.
All modules allow for complete transparency of process to admins, from logging which user makes a change to ensuring only select users have access to specific files. Our Board Portal module enables secure board meetings with digital board books which can be joined from anywhere in the world, and transparent logs of board activity while in the Portal.
Contact us today to find out how our ITIL 4 compliant solutions can help advance your corporate governance with the power of digital technology.
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