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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.

5. Does it work as intended?

If you've introduced a new tracking, monitoring or service management technology tool, you probably already know that you need to test it to make sure it's working as needed. But don't stop there, says Case. You need to follow the same testing and measurement procedures every time you introduce a new process, too.

"You have to send things through and look at everything collectively to make sure you get the outcomes you need. You also have to determine if those outcomes match up with your objectives - is this new tool or process helping to achieve what you're really trying to accomplish?

This involves determining what you're looking for in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) and critical success factors (CSFs), which should be in place as early as the design phase, and then start small with metrics - you don't need to measure everything; only the KPIs and CSFs that are directly aligned with your objectives," Case says.

6. Do we even need ITIL?

Once the previous five questions have been answered, you may want to take a step back and ask, "Is ITIL the answer we're looking for?" You may be surprised to find that there could be other ways to address IT organization pain points, says Case.

"If you have pain points, you definitely want to address those effectively, but there are different solutions for different problems. Are you having trouble addressing customer needs? You might need to look at business relationship management (BRM). Are there breakdowns in service delivery or availability? You should look at your service-level agreements (SLAs) and figure out where things are breaking down. But also remember to look at where you're doing well - look for improvements in all areas of the service lifecycle. Looking for both problem areas and opportunities to further improve is what ITIL is all about," he says.

7. What happened?

Finally, review and revise at regular intervals, Case says. This is the best way to track how these initiatives are progressing and how they are impacting your IT department.

"I like to do a 30-day quality audit to help organizations look for improvement and point out places where they need further work, mentoring and training. Then I'll also do a 90-day audit to assess the progress they've made a bit further out. Remember, too, that you're going to get what you 'inspect,' not just what you 'expect,' so you have to stay on top of it and make sure you're encouraging compliance. What gets rewarded gets done. If you're implementing a new process, you have to reward that. If you are still 'rewarding' the old way, then that's what you're going to get. A reward can be as simple as a thank-you," Case says.


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