Information technology is a primary driver of numerous business activities, creating value through efficiencies and increased opportunities. However, many businesses still find it challenging to effectively manage their IT departments, especially in light of security concerns, and view technological solutions as issues that must be managed only by the IT department.
By integrating technological solutions and viewing IT as a critical aspect of an organization that must be managed, businesses can reap significant benefits, such as improved employee communications and performance, better customer service, more secure systems, and better overall regulatory compliance.
ITIL, Information Technology Infrastructure Library, was created to help businesses better align their goals and objectives with information technology. Its implementation is a powerful way to bolster corporate success.
The Basics of ITIL
ITIL was initially developed by the U.K.’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. It functions as a collection of IT best practices that have the end user in mind. While the library has evolved somewhat, dropping from 30 volumes to the current five in ITIL v3, it still focuses on managing risk and creating a cost-effective, stable IT environment within an organization.
Numerous large businesses already have implemented the best practices from ITIL, such as Disney, which found that its implementation resulted in lower costs, more efficiency, and better service to customers.
The books in ITIL discuss the tools needed to carry out the processes and the criteria required to effectively select those tools. They encompass service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement.
Key aspects of the ITIL include meeting customer needs through the creation and development of the appropriate organizational goals, as well as creating and following through on a strategy that can help deliver the change needed at the organization.
ITIL can deliver a quantifiable upside to an organization. ITIL allows businesses to develop clear goals, standards and processes that provide a reasonable foundation for addressing risk. All businesses must address a range of challenges, from issues managing outside IT service providers and security concerns to the increasing burdens of regulation.Since risk is increased through the poor execution or development of risk-management strategies, implanting best practices can effectively and consistently mitigate risk. In addition to reducing IT costs, customers enjoy a higher quality of service.
Since ITIL’s best practices effectively make the customer the priority, they help businesses better meet customer needs and support the quick, efficient delivery of the company’s products and services. Standardization in IT practices is critical to corporate success, saving time, money and the inevitable stress that arises from constantly trying to put out fires with ad-hoc solutions.
Productivity soars when employees can clearly communicate with each other and implement tested solutions for common challenges. Finally, ITIL allows for cost-effective solutions that uniquely combine your business’s overall mission with its IT strategy. However, all of these benefits depend on how well the organization can communicate and execute the aspects of the ITIL.
Investing in Your Business with ITIL Ccertifications
Implementing ITIL at your business can undoubtedly support its growth, and either engaging certified experts or training some of your own can pay off. There are five levels of ITIL certification: Foundation, Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert and Master.
At the most basic level, the Foundation certification provides a general working knowledge of and vocabulary for the ITIL. The Practitioner builds on the basic ITIL knowledge acquired to help adapt the best practices for an organization; the Intermediate level is broken into modules that allow for the learner to engage in specific topics in IT service management in greater depth.
The Expert certification is for those who have successfully completed earlier levels and want to extend their knowledge of ITIL. A Master level certification is only for those with extensive knowledge and practice of ITIL principles since it requires the application and justification of specific choices.
There are a number of training centers that provide certification training, and the cost of the tests and classes changes from year to year.
Implement ITIL in Four Steps
While every business can benefit from using the best practices outlined in the ITIL, not everyone will be able to. This is largely because such a critical change means that all stakeholders must be involved for the practices to work their magic, and people usually do not like to change.
In addition, there really aren’t many tools out there to assist with the implementation of ITIL. However, the Visible Ops methodology delivers a successful approach that can make ITIL work at your company. The Visible Ops methodology was developed after investigating hundreds of high-performing businesses.By using this approach, many other businesses have been able to successfully make significant changes in their IT practices to realize a strong ROI, greater efficiencies, improved communication inside (and outside) departments and much better customer service outcomes.
Visible Ops encompasses four common-sense steps to the successful implementation of ITIL.
- Phase 1: “Stabilize the Patient” and “Modify First Response.” In this phase, the goal is to decrease and limit the amount of unplanned work, allowing for the organization to free up time to actively address challenges. Here, company IT assets are viewed through a prism of an emergency care approach. A sick patient requires certain procedures to be stabilized before doctors can perform the operations needed to heal the patient. Here, the “patient” is any asset, such as a server or network device.
- Phase 2: “Catch & Release” and “Find Fragile Artifacts.” This phase builds on the foundation created by stabilizing and proactively responding to the current IT situation. Here, an inventory of assets is developed and analyzed to help delineate the most fragile parts of the IT infrastructure.
- Phase 3: Establishment of a Repeatable Build Library. The goals of developing a library of repeatable builds are largely to eliminate extensive amounts of unplanned work, boost the server/admin ratio, and make it so infrastructure repairs are standardized and simpler.
- Phase 4: Enable Continuous Improvement. Just like how a patient needs to not only recover from an illness but experience true wellness, this phase focuses on supporting the ongoing well-being of the bespoke technology solutions. By carefully evaluating business metrics, resources can be better allocated and utilized to realize stability and improvement.
Growing from ITIL Change
Making change happen is never easy, but by following the four steps of the Visible Ops methodology, you can make it faster, more efficient and less painful while enjoying a significant upside in your business practices and outcomes.
IP Services, which is captained by Scott Alldridge, a founding member and President of the IT Process Institute, has been a strong supporter of the Visible Ops methodology (we wrote the book!). Since we have seen it successfully deployed at a range of organizations, the team at IP Services understands how to help businesses implement every stage of the process to achieve the greatest success.
Contact our team today for more insights on how we can help your company integrate technology solutions that bring lasting, positive change that you can bank on.