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7 questions to ask before implementing ITIL

Sharon Florentine | March 8, 2016
Implementing an IT infrastructure library (ITIL) can help organizations trying to get a better handle on IT services and resources. But ITIL's just a framework. One size does not fit all. In fact, you might not need it at all Here are seven questions to ask to find out if ITIL's right for you.

2. What's the rationale for ITIL?

What's your rationale behind implementing ITIL? What are the specific areas where change is needed? Many organizations turn to ITIL because their IT departments have been strictly focused on technology acquisition and integration without understanding the larger value of these solutions.

"This involves identifying why you really need to change - maybe you've been tech-focused and siloed within the department; now you need to focus on the value stream all the way from development to operations to management to executive level, and see where there can be improvement. Customers don't care if a server fails or the network or an application is down, they just care if the technology works so they can get the results they want. You have to think about your networks, your applications, your servers, your people, your processes - everything - as an end-to-end value stream," Case says. Anything that interrupts that value stream could be considered a rationale for a shift to ITIL and IT service management (ITSM).

3. What is our route to continual service improvement?

Continual service improvement (CSI) involves understanding where an organization wants to be at a governance level, from a customer service standpoint and from an operational viewpoint, says case. To determine the best way to get there, you first have to understand three things: existing competencies, existing capabilities and what processes support those, he says.

"This is the first place to start talking about what skills and competencies you already have versus what you are going to need to drive CSI; there's a third piece here which is monitoring and measuring. Aligning existing competencies and capabilities with your business goals and strategy is one thing, but you have to be able to say, 'Did we get there?' and if you did, how do you keep doing that; if you didn't, where can you improve processes, people or technology to achieve that," Case says.

4. What is the scope and scale of this ITIL project?

Instead of trying to implement a sudden, across-the-board change, it's better to spend some time on a careful implementation strategy, Case says. Rolling out ITIL to parts of your IT organization where it can make the greatest impact first will make it easier to expand organically.

"Don't try to boil the ocean. This is all about people, processes and technology, so you have to see where you can make the biggest impact and start there. You need to have a deep and broad understanding of your organization and the typical rate of change within it - it takes a lot of coordination and education. This is as much about culture change and behavioral change as it is about technology, so if you can, start small - with maybe one person at a time - and then move up the chain to addressing teams, then larger departments and finally the entire organization," Case says.

 

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