ITIL is the hitchhiker's guide, COBIT is the encyclopaedia
As the IT Skeptic digs (happily) deeper into COBIT, I ponder the difference between COBIT and ITIL. In my simple layman's mind, ITIL is the hitchhiker's guide, COBIT is the encyclopaedia, rather like the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Encyclopedia Galactica.
That truly astonishing book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, [which I'm delighted to find Pink's Troy DuMoulin and I share an admiration for] describes the fictional Hitchhiker's Guide book thus:
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older more pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it is slightly cheaper: and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."
Apart from the fact that ITIL is more expensive and it has large xrays of plants and animals on the covers, Douglas Adams could be speaking about ITIL and COBIT.
ITIL is relaxed to the verge of sloppy (e.g. the use of the term "process").
ITIL is boisterous to the point of controvertial (Service Strategy on value networks).
ITIl has many omissions compared to COBIT. ITIL focuses on operations, and mostly ignores development/solutions. ITIL seldom ventures into project management or portfolio management, and it skips a lot of aspects of request management.
Most of all, COBIT systematically chronicles a checklist of all the things we ought to be doing, and their properties, but ITIL explains how.
Here's what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms.
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards.
The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself.
Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit
Add an olive.
Drink, but very carefully.
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica.
Spooky the correlation with ITIL and COBIT, innit?
An encyclopaedic entry recording the existence of a chemical called alcohol is of considerably less interest than a practical guide to the preparation, imbibing and recovery from the universe's best drink.
To expand the analogy to the real-world equivalents to Douglas Adms' creation, I was much happier to have a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand when arriving in Leh, Ladakh or
PuntaCiudad Del Este, Paraguay, than a copy of say Collier's World Atlas and Gazetteer. The fact that the Lonely Planet books are incomplete, out-of-date, opinionated and unreliable is far outweighed by their usefulness and practicality... and dammit! their humanness. Their very fallibility and quirkiness is a great part of their attraction. So it is with ITIL.