10 Steps for Effective ITIL Implementation

The IT service management (ITSM) best practice framework has come ahead in leaps and bounds in the recent times. ITSM/ITIL beyond doubt benefits IT infrastructure and operations organizations. ITIL beneficially improved service productivity (85%), quality (83%), business reputation (65%), and occasionally cost savings (41%).

Despite its rapid adoption in recent years, ITIL is fraught with adoption challenges that could be prevented, or at least minimized. The trick is to ensure that sufficient planning leads to optimal adoption, not just in the short term, for example, selecting and implementing a service desk tool, but also in the longer-term through an ITSM maturity vision, phased adoption, and support for continued improvement.

Here are 10 steps to ensure that you drive adoption effectively in your business:

ITIL is an IT matter– it’s important to realize that ITIL is an IT matter. IT must align with the Business in order to deliver services to its customers. But, the business does not drive ITIL adoption, only IT can do that. IT leaders must take the responsibility to communicate and justify ITIL benefits to the business in business terms.

ITIL is a process – ITIL is process, not a short term project. For ITIL to succeed you must define roles and responsibilities clearly, Select and empower a process owner with cross-silo management scope, Select and empower a manager responsible for establishment, auditing and day-to-day operational oversight , Define process workflow responsibilities in enough detail for workers to follow , Implement process reporting and auditing in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, economy and equity of the process continuously. For ITIL to succeed you must adopt elements of your existing workflow, process, and procedures while molding new behaviors into existing workers. Good enough is perfect.

ITIL Does Not Stand Alone– ITIL to succeed needs to be aligned with other best practices of the business. It can’t work stand alone. Effective ITIL requires a Continuous Service Improvement Program (CSIP), a Process Maturity Framework (PMF) and a Quality Management System (QMS).

ITIL is about the people– People are critical to ITIL’s success. I&O executives usually invest more time and energy improving processes or selecting technologies compared to assessing, developing, and hiring the right people. A common issue is employing staff based on ITIL qualifications rather than experience, work ethic, and common sense. More than qualifications, it’s important in having people with relevant experience, the right soft skills set, and a mindset geared for service and customer centricity.

Keep it simple- ITIL adoption is an IT effort for the benefit of the consumers who will use these IT services. You cannot and will not implement ITIL overnight. Implementations often take 1 to 3 years or more. Practically speaking, you will not implement everything in the ITIL, nor will you implement whatever you decide to implement all at once. Successful ITIL adoption is evolution, not revolution. Start simply, move purposefully.

Your biggest obstacle is Change- As ITIL is a process, its success is dependent on both the commitment of the management and the line staff who perform ITIL duties day in and day out. In an organization, people often do things by their choice and not how you tell them to do things. The ability to gain the active support, commitment, and enthusiasm of line staff workers is a key requirement. People do not like change and IT staff are some of the most resistant people when it comes to change. The only proven method to gain the commitment of staff required to change is involving line staff in the adoption process. You must lead by example; involving line staff in the entire process from the initial decision to implement, through process design and into process establishment. For ITIL to succeed you will need to use sound interpersonal management skills to involve and empower staff at all levels during the entire adoption process.

Cross silos is key to ITIL success– Successful ITIL adoption depends upon cross-silo process interaction and shared responsibilities. For ITIL to succeed, the entire IT organization, including all silos and their management, must work together as a service-delivery chain.

Be realistic about existing ITSM process maturity and improve step by step– Never overstate your level of ITSM maturity don’t get confused between priority and maturity. The most severe consequence of this is that identified business priorities and pain points don’t get addressed first in your ITSM cycle. As a result, the time to value from your ITIL efforts are only extended and likely not bear fruition.

Plan beyond the “technology project”– Be sure to plan beyond the initial people- and process-based change activities and technology implementation. A common error is to plan for a shorter adoption window than is realistic, normally driven by how long it takes to install the technology. Moreover, do not plan for the technology implementation to take a year. Rather, get the technology up and running quickly and tweak as needed based on real-world execution rather than how your old ITSM tool was set up.

Communicate ITIL’s value to the IT and non-IT stakeholder- Ensure that your core ITSM team and executive sponsor(s) have a consistent message on ITIL’s value, plans, and implications in a language that will resonate with IT and non-IT audiences. To do this effectively, you will likely have to tailor your message based on the audience because IT professionals expect and likely require another layer of detail than a business user needs. From there, set clear expectations on who will be involved and what their role will be. Likewise, be sure that that all parties responsible for ITIL’s success — not just those in IT operations — are exposed to ITIL awareness, education, and training.

Remember that you need to define a “success-based” approach. Your success with ITIL lies in improving the skills and abilities of you and your staff. You can succeed with ITIL by doing IT yourself.
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Alcor is a technology implementation company focusing on Enterprise and Government technology needs in ITSM, systems integration & web development.

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