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ITIL® Adaptation and Adoption: Where to Begin

Sep. 03, 2015
Michael Caruso


Using ITIL can improve your IT service levels, customer service ratings, business productivity and reduce operating costs, but getting started can be overwhelming. Gain the understanding you need to implement ITIL with instructions and tips for important steps such as internal employee communications, determining potential pain points and methods for evaluating your existing processes.


ITIL is the most widely recognized best practice framework for IT Service Management. ITIL is a set of five "core guides" that contain the best practices for each phase of the Service Lifecycle. Those phases are: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. It 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 addition to providing the best practices around the activities, principles, and methodologies that are carried out in each phase of the Service Lifecycle, the five core guides provide details and insights into the best practices for twenty-six processes that can help ensure that IT is working as efficiently and effectively as possible, while minimizing costs and providing maximum benefit to the business.

The way in which the ITIL processes are implemented is highly dependent upon each individual organization. There are large and small companies, public, private and non-profit organizations, and to complicate it further, there are a significant number of industries in which those different organizations operate and compete. 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 the ITIL best practices.

This was considered when the best practices were created because they were developed to be non-prescriptive. This means that the ITIL core guides describe all of the best practices, but they don't require that they be instituted or implemented in any particular way, or even that all the best practices be utilized. This gives organizations a great deal of flexibility, and enables them to utilize the best practices as they make the most sense for their particular situation.

This paper will delve into some of the ways to get started and help you make the determination about the process on which they should focus, along with how to gain buy-in, and quickly show the value of ITIL in your organization. It will also provide insight into how to best ensure you are successful.

Why might an organization look to ITIL? Generally it is because of one of the following:
 - IT service issues are affecting business performance
 - Customer perceptions of IT is poor
 - Agreed Service Levels aren't being met
 - Staff is not as productive as expected
 - There is a need to be more efficient and effective
 - Compliance to regulation and legislation has become a focus
 - The cost of providing IT services is too high

Pre-Initiative Preparation

There are a couple of common practices that any company embarking on an ITIL journey should carry out, and they are to start with communication and training. Let's take a brief look at each of these.

Communication is critical to a successful ITIL Initiative. Start by communicating the intention to embark on an ITIL Journey via a newsletter. The initial communication should be about the intention to implement and/or improve the IT processes in the organization, outline the reasons why, and outline the expectations. In addition the communication should outline the plan for training throughout the organization.

This newsletter should become a regular communication vehicle that is used 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. However, communications shouldn't be limited to the newsletter. Use the company bulletin boards and online resources to post updates, successes, and recognition.

The other pre-project task to complete is the training communicated to the staff in the newsletter. It extremely important that the IT staff, IT management (including executives), and select business representatives attends ITIL training. The best-case scenario is that all staff attends 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 the staff feel included in the initiative in order to gain buy-in and support. It's important that the core team be the first to attend the Foundation training.

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