A set of best practices from the UK government have helped cut the IT budget by 30 percent while also bringing it on inline with new data legislation, according to Avaya.

The company sang the praises of implementing ITIL, the standard for IT best practices developed by the UK's Office of Government Commerce. "We wanted to implement best practices for service management across the company - it was a huge cultural shift for a very technically-based company," said Jean-Phillippe Draye, Avaya's senior management technology engineer.

"The first challenge was to optimise all the IT functions and manage the IT budget, while still satisfying our users. Sarbanes-Oxley was another major challenge," he added. Draye said that US-headquartered comms supplier decided on ITIL (the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) after its spin-off from Lucent in 2000. It chose to support it with business technology optimisation software from Mercury and management tools from HP.

The ITIL project has greatly improved the IT department's relations with the business side of Avaya, Draye added. "The feedback from the business is extremely good," he said. "As an illustration, in 2000 our CIO reported to our CFO and didn't have a seat on the board. Now our CIO sits on the board - we are part of the business, not just an operational cost. And very importantly, we managed to get our IT budget under control - we estimate we saved 30 percent of the IT budget with our service management tools."

He added that ITIL had helped greatly with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance because even though SOX was defined long after ITIL, "the philosophy of the two is aligned. We deployed ITIL in 2000 and for us the SOX requirements were easy, they just needed tuning of some existing reports."

Draye was speaking as HP announced its intention to put ITIL at the heart of its new software strategy, following its acquisition of Mercury and the consequent broadening of its business technology optimisation portfolio".

He said that Avaya had had to integrate the HP and Mercury tools itself. "Hopefully now we can hand that work over to HP," he added.