Maybe it's time for me to eat some crow (again). About a week ago, readers on the MSPmentor LinkedIn group asked me if the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) standard had gone mainstream in the managed services market. I downplayed ITIL a bit in my remarks. Fast forward a few days, and ConnectWise is describing several enhancements to its PSA (professional services automation) platform -- including beta cross-platform browser support and better ITIL support. Here are the updates.

Of course, cross-platform browser support is the sexier feature. Many MSPmentor readers have been calling on PSA software providers to push beyond Internet Explorer to natively support Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

In 2009, both Autotask and ConnectWise, respectively, vowed to introduce cross-platform support. But I concede: I need to do more homework here to determine how that work is progressing. ConnectWise says it's now beta testing cross-platform browser support, but I need specific updates from Autotask and Tigerpaw Software as well.

On to ITIL

Meanwhile, ITIL isn't as sexy but it seems to be quite important to a growing number of MSPs. ITIL first gained popularity in Europe and is described as:
"a set of concepts and practices for Information Technology Services Management (ITSM), Information Technology (IT) development and IT operations."
In other words, MSPs that embrace ITIL are likely using best practices to automate and maintain IT operations.

The latest ConnectWise 2010 release, known as Phase 4, offers the following ITIL capabilities, the company says:
New service ticket sub-types help automate and streamline routine services by standardizing how IT companies provide their service. Templates can be created for different services that list standard tasks on the service ticket. To be more ITIL compliant ConnectWise created sub-types to provide guidance on how to coordinate and process common activities for your line of business. For example, under the service type “email,” the sub-types could be “end-user problem”, “spam filter problem”, or “mailbox size exceeds limit”. Associated with each subtype can be a list of pre-set tasks to complete.
ConnectWise certainly isn't alone in its ITIL focus. ManageEngine in April 2010 claimed to introduce the first ITIL-based service desk for MSPs. Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie has been an outspoken ITIL proponent, raising the subject in multiple MSPmentor interviews. And Autotask, another key PSA software provider, has talked up ITIL at a range of conferences and educational settings.

Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.