Generally, organizations look at implementing ITIL because they want to improve IT service levels, save money, find efficiencies or enhance customer service. But, ITIL has dozens of best practices and finding a place to start can be overwhelming.
ITIL is a methodology that takes a Service Lifecycle approach to the design, development, transition, operation, and improvement of an IT organization’s services and processes. In order to implement ITIL you have to assess your existing IT systems and processes, and you may need to make adjustments to your corporate culture in order for the initiative to work.
Each company has its own culture and dynamics that also play a part in how that particular company operates, so there is no single best way to institute ITIL best practices. Organizations have a great deal of flexibility to utilize the best practices that make the most sense for their particular situation.
Over the course of this three-part series we will help you figure out which assessment process you should use, along with how to gain employee buy-in, and quickly show the value of ITIL in your organization. We will also look at how to determine measures of success.
First, let’s look at the preparation you need to do for a successful ITIL initiative.
Internal Communication is Key
The best place to begin is with internal communication and training. Start by communicating the intention to embark on an ITIL journey via your company newsletter. Outline the reasons why ITIL implementation is underway and the expectations for the initiative. The newsletter should also outline the plan for training throughout the organization.
Use the newsletter as a regular communication vehicle throughout the initiative to communicate upcoming tasks and implementations, accomplishments, and benefits being realized from the effort. It should also be used to recognize staff members and teams who have provided significant contributions. Make sure to use the company bulletin boards and online resources to post updates, successes, and recognition.
It extremely important that the IT staff, IT management (including executives), and select business representatives attend ITIL training. It’s best if all employees attend ITIL Foundation training. This ensures that everyone understands the basic concepts, learns the common terminology, and that no one feels left out. It’s a great way to make your staff feel included in the initiative in order to gain buy-in and support.
The core team should be the first to attend the foundational training. Next, the staff targeted to become process owners and managers should take the intermediate level courses that teach the concepts around their area(s) of responsibility. For the core team that will be responsible for the processes, advanced knowledge is critical. Two to three people should become ITIL Experts. They will be the go-to people in the organization, so make sure these people are on the core implementation team.
Find Your Areas of Weakness
Attempting to implement or improve too much at one time will ultimately result in a failed initiative. Begin by defining a reasonable scope for the project. To do this, you need to assess your existing operations and capabilities.
Most companies have a process to handle Incidents that occur in the environment and to respond to requests for assistance from users. However, these processes are not always as efficient or effective as they should be, and they aren’t providing the value that is possible if best practices were used.
One way many companies find their areas of weakness is to evaluate and examine the three major internal processes that have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction and service reliability:
- Incident Management: a process that is used to resolve issues that occur in the IT environment as quickly as possible to minimize the impact on the business. This process is owned and managed by the service desk, which is the single point of contact for users from an operational perspective.
- Request Fulfillment: also owned by the service desk, is meant to deal with requests from users. Requests can range from a question, to a password reset, to installation of standard software, or even for access to a service or set of services.
- Change Management: modifications to the IT environment can include new services, changes to existing services, the removal or retirement of a service, or the transfer of a service to/from an external service provider.
Another way to assess your internal process is to look at your current pain points, or areas where you are having the most issues. Take the time to understand the root cause of your challenges. Are the incidents a sign of a larger issue, a staffing shortage, communication gaps, or missing processes? Make sure to take everything into consideration before jumping in and fixing something that may not be an issue.
A third method organizations can use to review their current policies and procedures is to conduct a process assessment. This approach is the most recommended because it can help you to understand both the maturity and capability of your processes, and provide insight into where there are gaps that should be filled. Maturity refers to how a process is being carried out and how closely is it being followed. Capability refers to how well the process is accomplishing its defined outcome. In other words, is it accomplishing its desired goals or objectives?
To find out more about how to do a process assessment check out Part II of this series or the “ITIL® Implementation Where to Begin” white paper.