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Lontra IT Compliance White Paper
    Addressing Compliance Issues with IT Service Portfolios  

Inscribed in gold letters above the entrance to Apollo's Temple of Delphi in ancient Greece were the words, "Know Thyself." It remains good advice-and although it may seem a big leap from Greek philosophy to today's corporate world, that advice can aptly be applied to corporations trying to get a handle on IT and its relationship to the overall business.

In fact, with a growing thicket of compliance regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and Basel II, among others, it's no longer enough to simply know thyself-companies also must document what they know, how they know it to be true, and be prepared to prove it to auditors year after year. Failure to do so isn't just bad business; many compliance regulations have significant built-in enforcement teeth that include severe penalties and jail terms for executives.

Compliance regulations, because they universally require better process control, are driving an interest in service-oriented delivery models for IT. A service-oriented model focuses not on the hardware or software IT controls, or the projects it provides, but instead on process-the services IT provides to its users. In doing so, service-oriented delivery models give corporations clear, useful tools for better controlling processes.

With IT solidly at the core of business today, industry analysts and IT leaders are concluding that service-oriented delivery can act as a key component in building better relationships with business. With its emphasis on the specifics of what IT provides, it can also help link IT spending back to business value.

Along with service-oriented delivery models comes the concept of Service Portfolios-an actionable solution that allows IT to measure, control, and report on the services it provides, in a manner that the business side can easily understand. "Service Portfolios are the cornerstone of service delivery and automation, and the starting point for any company interested in saving money and improving relationships with the business," according to a paper by Julie Giera of Forrester Research on service delivery management.

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