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COBIT vs ITIL: IT Governance Frameworks

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Nowadays, every IT company or organization has many departments to manage so that they all can work in a synchronized way in order to achieve maximum profits. In such a case, managing all the departments of your IT organization will be a pain in the head if you do it manually without the help of any tool or technology.

Keeping this issue in mind, there are many platforms available these days that can help you in the management and governance of your IT company. COBIT and ITIL are two of the highly used platforms for these tasks for a long time.

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From this COBIT vs ITIL article, we are getting some detailed knowledge regarding both of these platforms so that you can choose the best one according to the needs and requirements of your organization. Kindly take a look at these below-given points to know these platforms and their work deeply.

COBIT vs ITIL: IT Governance Frameworks Comparision

This blog provides you with an insight into COBIT and ITIL and compares the IT Governance Frameworks. Thus, it gives you a clear idea of which of these Governance Frameworks is best.

In this COBIT vs ITIL article, we would be covering the following topics:

So, let us begin with the COBIT definition first, which I am going to talk about in the section below.

What is COBIT?

COBIT is basically a methodology, which focuses on connecting business goals to IT goals. It simply assigns duties and objectives to both business and IT managers in order to streamline their processes. COBIT offers all the resources required to build, monitor, and improvise its implementation while reducing costs as well as establishing and maintaining privacy standards. In simple words, we can say that COBIT provides structure and oversight to general IT processes within the company.

COBIT comes with many resources including Frameworks, Process Descriptions, Control Objectives, Management Guidelines, and Maturity Models that can make the management and governance of your IT organization very easy. COBIT framework is entirely based on the following guiding principles.

  • Meeting stakeholder needs
  • End-to-End Coverage of the Enterprise
  • Applying a Single Integrated Framework to Organizations
  • Creating or starting a Holistic Approach
  • Separating Governance From Organization or Management

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What is ITIL?

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is a framework, which aims at managing the IT services of your organization across their entire lifecycle. ITIL helps in mirroring IT landscape components on a centralized knowledge base in order to register their lifecycle. By this, you will be able to easily manage the evolution of those configuration items. ITIL offers you the following service components shown in the below-given points:

  • Service Strategy: This facility aims to mirror the entire IT Service Delivery model in such a manner, which efficiently covers and matches the organization's structure and inherent needs. Moreover, it establishes processes that enable updating and monitoring the configuration items according to the business requirements.
  • Service Design: This facility is used to design the IT services in a way, which will not only match the organizational structure but also looks for its continuous assessment. This entire operation aims to have a set of service processes and IT processes, which are designed to fulfill all the corporate requirements.
  • Service Transition: This facility defines and wipes out all the risk factors via proper planning and change management.
  • Service Operation: This facility assures regular operations via delivering required current recursive support tasks like Backups or Service Desk.
  • Continuous Service Improvement: This facility takes care of the established KPIs and their evolution along with problems and bottlenecks. It performs all the required analyses, which will lead to the formulation of optimization proposals.

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COBIT vs ITIL: Difference between COBIT and ITIL

For all the aspirants desired to go for the ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) Implementation, the most important question arises is, which framework should be used? COBIT and ITIL, both are undeniably the great tools that can be used for ITSM. However, we can simply say that COBIT is wider than ITIL in its scope of coverage.

COBIT can be taken as a set of practices for high-end management in order to understand how should people approach their IT enterprise. On the other hand, ITIL can be taken as a roadmap, which shows what must be done in order to organize and maintain IT employees’ daily processes. Both of these platforms are a bit different from each other in terms of many ways. Let us have a detailed description of these differences in the following points mentioned below:

The scope of COBIT and ITIL

COBIT and ITIL almost cover the same area of work and the information technology professionals are using them in ITSM for a long time. COBIT and ITIL can provide guidance for the governance and management if used together by the enterprises. However, it would not be wrong to say that COBIT has a much broader approach than just an ITSM system.

ITIL vs COBIT Comparison Table

Let us take a look at the below given in-depth comparison between these platforms in IT and Governance Frameworks.

ITIL can be taken as a path to manage all the IT services across their Itil life cycles.COBIT focuses mainly on how to govern the Enterprise IT to generate maximum profit or creation of value by the business.
ITIL works on the parts of enterprise IT, which are basically service management enablers like process activities, organizational structures, etc.COBIT works on the principles and enablers, which help the enterprises in meeting stakeholder needs, basically the ones related to the use of IT resources and assets across the entire enterprise.
ITIL is basically an Information Technology Service Management tool or platform.COBIT covers both the management and governance part of an enterprise IT.

The approach of COBIT and ITIL in IT Governance Frameworks

COBIT works with a business point of view, which means it works with a top to down approach for your enterprise IT. Whereas, ITIL performs its operation from the IT perspective, i.e., bottom to up approach. Apart from this, COBIT works for distinguishing between governance and management of IT, as the management is like a tactic and governance is more of a strategy. According to COBIT, ITIL deals with the tasks related to the management, whereas COBIT itself deals with the tasks related to the governance.

----    Also Read: ITIL Interview Question and Answers     ----

Main Objectives of COBIT and ITIL

Though both of these platforms are working for almost the same sector, they come with their own specialties and work objectives. To make their working more clear in your mind, here we are showcasing some main objectives of both COBIT and ITIL. Kindly take a look at this below-given table to know their main objectives altogether.

COBIT focuses on controlling the enterprise IT and setting the right direction for it.ITIL helps in organizing all the IT services of your enterprise.
It aligns business goals with IT goalsIt offers an opportunity for constant operational perfection.
COBIT brings IT values to the businessITIL helps in reducing the IT costs in your organization
It manages resources, risks and IT efficiencyIt helps in improving the decision making of your organization

How do ITIL and COBIT overlap?

Both COBIT and ITIL share almost the same working area, hence it is hard to choose any one of them. There are many processes in both the platforms that match each other, like the BAI06 Managing Changes process in COBIT matches the ITIL Change Management process. Additionally, there is no specific process of risk management available in ITIL, while COBIT comes with the process of APO12 that manages risks. Hence, we can see that there is a bit of overlapping in these platforms and you must keep in mind that if COBIT works as an antibiotic, then ITIL will work like aspirin.

Both of these platforms play an important part in ITSM and have complementary yet distinct goals. Developers are continuously working on improvising the ITIL’s way of addressing development. In simple words, we can also say that there is no alternative option available for ITIL, whereas there are several alternatives for COBIT available in the market. COBIT is generally used for audit functions in an enterprise IT, while the ITIL is used for improvising processes. So, being in the managing department of an enterprise IT, we recommend using both of these platforms together instead of choosing only one of them.

----    Also Read: COBIT Interview Question and Answers     ----

How to Implement COBIT and ITIL to achieve Business Goals?

After getting all the essential information related to the difference and connection between ITIL and COBIT, let us now take a look at how these technologies can be implemented to achieve business goals. Let us take a look at the usage of both COBIT and ITIL with the help of a real-life example. For this, consider a company named GS Logistics Group, which is an international logistics enterprise working basically in the United States and Canada.

The company has an overall staff of 15,000 people and has offices at 25 locations. They used to be the pioneer in their sector, but in recent days, they are facing a serious crisis due to having many problems. Now, let us see all of their current issues and how COBIT and ITIL can help them out in getting rid of them.

Problems and Their Solution with ITIL

Here, let’s have a look at the real-time problems in the company along with the solutions ITIL can provide. Kindly take a look at this table given below:

IT ProblemsITIL’s Solutions
If some kind of technical issue arises like unstable network connectivity, then the GS Logistics employees will have to keep waiting until the issue is resolved by IT specialists. During this period, they cannot finalize the waybills, the driver cannot set up and delays pile up. In simple words, you will get into trouble and this will result in enormous downtime costsFor this, the ITIL offers specific processes in order to normalize and organize the IT department’s work. The Service Operation and Service Transition facilities of ITIL elaborates on the process of how an IT department can organize all of its tasks according to different ITIL processes. By using ITIL, there are very fewer chances for an enterprise IT to get overloaded and this undoubtedly reduces the downtime costs.
It becomes very hard to monitor the IT staff’s performance. The system generally used by the IT department only shows the overall performance team did in the previous month. In such a case, it is impossible to measure the individual performance of every team member.For this, the ITIL provides a system of accountability. ITIL comes with a wide range of KPIs, with the help of which, your company can easily evaluate the efficiency of all the IT units as well as individual IT employees. Apart from this, the ITIL also stores all the data on the basis of who did what.
Similar breakdowns happen again and again. In the work structure, IT teams have to fix a lot of breakdowns, however, some of them keep repeating again and again. Having much amount of workload, it becomes nearly impossible to find out the root cause of the problem and how deep they go.For this, ITIL comes with a facility of differentiating the issues. In order to solve the IT issues like a pro player, ITIL is blessed with a system that can differentiate between incidents, events, requests, changes, and problems. If one same incident happens more than 3 times, it is considered as a problem. Then the system finds out the root cause of the problem so that it can be eliminated. This system not only allows you to have a detailed look at every issue but also speeds up their resolution and performs its permanent execution.
Changes that happen in the company’s IT environment annoy you a bit. We are completely aware that the changes in the company’s IT infrastructure are not recordable, you can see new elements joining frequently because of which software annoys users and sometimes, IT teams too.For this, ITIL is blessed with change management and CMDB (Configuration Management Database). It offers a detailed procedure of changes in an IT infrastructure. Initially, it authorizes changes, then it informs people about those changes. Moreover, if a change fails during implementation, it also has a preapproved backout plan for it.
Unclear IT money spending. Your IT department will always complain regarding the solid financial control of its top management. However, the top management will never give surety for their IT department that it stays in budget and uses money sensibly.For this, the ITIL is blessed with finance management capability. ITIL offers an entire process of it under its service strategy. If used appropriately, financial management can showcase you all the IT spending as well as adherence to the IT budget. Moreover, it can also help you in regulating financial planning and saving money.


We can clearly see that both of these platforms cover an almost similar working area and focus on a single thing, ‘To make IT efficient and stable’. Both of these platforms work in a ravishing way either used together or used separately. You may come up that how can a tactic (ITIL) be used without a strategy (COBIT). However, you may not forget that ITIL also comes with strategic basics for an IT organization and that is more than enough to play at an early stage.

In simple words, we can say that COBIT is basically a framework used for large and mature IT enterprises. It requires a great number of IT processes along with a substantial enterprise IT to govern. Whereas, ITIL can prove to be a good choice if you are at the starting age of building an organization.

So, if you are confused to either go with COBIT vs ITIL or COBIT and ITIL, we suggest you choose ITIL in the early stage of your ITSM implementation. However, after getting essential knowledge and growth, you can switch to the enhanced version of ITSM, i.e., COBIT. All the important key points and necessary details related to the COBIT and ITIL are shown in this article, and now, it is up to you how you use these marvelous platforms.

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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

Soujanya is a Senior Writer at Mindmajix with tons of content creation experience in the areas of cloud computing, BI, Perl Scripting. She also creates content on Salesforce, Microstrategy, and Cobit. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter.

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