A Business Methodology that can Strategically Transform Your IT Operations
ITIL, or IT Infrastructure Library, is a best-practice methodology that can transform IT from a tactical afterthought of your business into a strong strategic foundation that streamlines, integrates and optimizes processes to maximize profitability and productivity.
Instead of addressing IT as a haphazard assembly of disparate IT solutions, ITIL provides a roadmap to creating an integrated IT infrastructure strategy that holistically supports a company’s strategic business objectives. It looks at every angle of IT service delivery and each element of the IT infrastructure—individually and as a collective whole—to identify critical challenges and opportunities.
Know up front though that ITIL isn’t for the faint of heart. Unlike the duct-tape solutions favored in a slash-for-cash cost-cutting environment, ITIL can take a year or more to implement. The ROI, however, can be immense and serve as a launch pad for significant productivity gains, process improvements, and business innovation.
ITIL returns are often most significant for enterprise-level organizations that have a complex IT infrastructure that is disconnected from higher-level business goals. This is often caused by myriad systems that have been cobbled together and maintained too long to be relevant and useful to handle the constantly changing user requirements of today’s typical organization. The constant stress on IT budget often leads to tactical decisions to maintain legacy methodology, which leads to out-of-date processes and little or no transparency as to why your business users are dissatisfied with elements of the IT service they are receiving.
Big Organizations Taking the ITIL Plunge
Best-of-breed organizations like NASA, Disney™, the UK National Health Service, and HSBC bank have all adopted ITIL standards.’ Shuttle launches depended on ITIL in order to avoid deadly glitches. Disney, which prides itself on the “perfect guest experience,” adopted ITIL practices to provide the kind of availability, reliability, and maintainability necessary for the demands on the conglomerate’s IT staff.
At the beginning of the financial turmoil that would ultimately result in the “Great Recession,” a large financial organization with a $1 billion annual IT budget chose Technology and Business Integrators (TBI) to evaluate its existing IT infrastructure and make recommendations on what was needed to be done to better align it with strategic business objectives.
After extensive interviews with stakeholders from top down and side-to-side, analytical analysis, and an in-depth diagnostic evaluation of the IT environment and organization as a whole, we delivered a 150-page assessment and actionable roadmap for:
- Assessing current operational performance
- Slimming operational size
- Evaluating current process to develop a roadmap for productivity improvement
- Implementing new software tools and processes to address operational and technical gaps
- Instituting better employee training and internal communications
- Determining the organization’s readiness to meet ongoing and future business user needs
- Creating structured and proven change management processes
ITIL was the foundation used to define, validate, implement and measure the impact of those recommended changes. It also served as the best-practices guide to instituting a far-reaching change management philosophy that would drive meaningful and sustainable IT changes. More importantly, the results of those changes were engineered to support and drive the company’s strategic and financial objectives for the long haul.
Today, the financial organization has solved the most pressing problems in its IT infrastructure and has created best practices, based on ITIL guidelines, to use across the organization. Now, the company is able to work much more efficiently, deliver a higher quality of service to its users, has metrics and KPIs to measure its performance, has instituted training on new tools and presses across all users, and has implemented significant change management techniques; all with a much reduced budget. This has freed up dollars for new, strategic initiatives in other key IT areas.
The program was extensive, stretching the limits of the organization’s capacity to handle change. However, because of significant executive sponsorship at the IT and business executive level, this highly motivated organization persevered and created significant “wins”. Now, even with a reduced budget, they are delivering higher-level service and quality. The discipline of ITIL methodology provided the pathway for this success story.
Keys to ITIL Success
ITIL provides clarity, focus, and productivity to IT departments. When done properly, ITIL results in better practices, faster response time, reduced operating costs, reduced hardware and software inventory, and increased productivity.
While surveys may reveal some areas that need improvement, a thorough vetting of the current IT infrastructure using ITIL methodology is the soundest way to identify pain points and opportunities. The initial and in-depth discovery process will reveal real versus perceived problems. For example, findings may uncover redundancies in software application functionality for one business unit, but identify end-user training gaps as the core issue for another.
The discovery process will also ultimately lead to a clearly defined change-management roadmap that includes best practices for the entire organization, including individual roles, business units, executive management and supporting infrastructure and tools. If conceptualized correctly, an ITIL roadmap will provide clearly defined roles for each and every position and well-defined metrics for measuring success. It will also include defined, repeatable and scalable processes that can grow and flex with the organization’s evolving needs.
This doesn’t mean throwing out the baby with the bathwater. An ITIL review looks at documented procedures already in place. Solutions truly working for the business and aligned with its goals and operational requirements will get integrated into the overall ITIL roadmap.
Inherently, ITIL strategy defines IT as services, not systems. As part of that, ITIL will improve communication between IT and the rest of the company’s departments. The ITIL strategy will also improve the ability of the IT department to adapt as new business opportunities and challenges arise.
The ITIL methodology, when used in the context of a defined IT strategy, provides a clearly defined roadmap for effective and long-lasting process change. If done well, it also provides an effective pathway for continuous improvement, allowing the organization to stay current with the needs of its business users. In conjunction with an ongoing governance strategy, a well-defined program office concept and a vibrant metrics program, we see ITIL as a very effective tool to provide the business rigor, transparency and ongoing flexibility that business leaders require from their IT organizations these days.
To learn more about how Technology and Business Integrators (TBI) can help transform your IT organization through ITIL best practices, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org