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ITIL/ISO 20000 Knowledge base

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Why ITIL?

Mission, vision, goals and objectives. Most of the organizations have some or all of these. From a business point of view, that’s fine and as it should be. But, what does it have to do with IT and its services?

Service is a key issue here. Service, in general, should bring value, be customer oriented and rely on business case. It also brings business sense into IT. For IT, this could come as a surprise, especially for technology-oriented IT organizations. But, if you are running a customer-oriented IT organization – it’s common sense. I have not found any organization that is satisfied with technology-oriented IT inside the organization. “No one understands what they are saying; no one knows what they are doing or how they are spending the budget,” is a usual description in such a case. And, it’s not only typical for small organizations. I found it in large ones, as well. Customer- or service-oriented IT organizations are more interesting ones. They are struggling with costs, ROI (return on Investment), TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), controlling of changes, efficiency of Incident/Problem/Change Management processes, Service Desk… They certainly need technology, but they see it through (business) service glasses. Therefore, they need a tool, i.e. methodology, which is not technology driven, but service driven. ITIL is a perfect match.

ITIL does not have roots in theory, e.g. someone’s PhD. dissertation, but in practice. It encompasses experience from IT staff from all over the world; i.e. ITIL is the best practice for IT Service Management originated in IT organizations that deal with the same issues we found in daily activities, and therefore, everyone in IT Service Management can benefit from the fact that the wheel does not have to be reinvented.

ITIL combines people, processes, products (technology) and partners (suppliers) and, if implemented, it changes organizations’ structure and processes, service management, productivity and customer satisfaction. There are many areas where an organization can benefit from implementing ITIL. I will mention the three most important here:

1. Business orientation of IT

The RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model brings clarity to organizations’ functions and roles, and it constitutes the foundation for communication between IT and business. Have you ever been a part of an organization where decision making, as well as execution, takes too long due to vaguely defined roles and respective responsibilities? Too often, isn’t it?

Professional and proven processes integrate customer value and outcomes in every process, role and function, while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction. The organization changes from being a reactive to a proactive one, IT is integrated with business and it can respond more quickly to changing business (or market) requirements.

2. Organization

Financial Management is integrated throughout the service lifecycle. That means that costs are planned and controlled, and cost justification can be easily made. The business can rely on the financial parameters provided and agreed upon with IT, and it can integrate them in business services provided within the market.

The staff inside an ITIL-based organization gains competence and increases capability and productivity, which lead to higher staff satisfaction and retention.

Operational processes, e.g. incident and problem management, are efficient, controlled and measured, which increases productivity and the satisfaction of both staff and customers. Efficient IT organizations have defined roles and responsibilities for operational processes, they use tools with implemented SLA parameters, and they have incident/problem catalogues in place. In such a way, processes and procedures are clear, resolution of incidents and problems is measured and compared to SLA requirements, and staff utilization is documented.

3. Quality of service

If an organization implements a framework that is proven to work, it is easier to agree on the service level and quality of the provided service to the customer. Constant measurements and improvements guarantee that quality assurance of the service does not end with the customer acceptance test, but it continues throughout the service lifecycle. Lessons learned and experienced on existing services will be integrated in every new service developed or improvement made on existing ones. The focus on customer needs and perception shifts away from a technological debate toward value received, customer satisfaction and customer relation. I found that many customers attach more importance to their perception of a provided service than to the purely technical description of what a particular service does. And that directly influences future orders and relationships with that customer.

There are many more areas where ITIL implementation means one step forward toward satisfied customers and the creation of a competitive advantage. The business world, as well as the IT world, is changing very quickly. IT needs to be a company’s engine, business oriented, adaptive and efficient. For a long time ITIL mastered operational tasks, but Service Strategy, Service Design and Continual Service Improvement are powerful tools in IT Management’s hands, when implemented and used correctly.

You can also check out free whitepapers and other downloads to get familiar with ITIL and possible benefits for your organization.

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Branimir Valentic
Lead ITIL/ISO 20000 Expert, Advisera

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