ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is one of the most popular frameworks for ITSM and is a set of guidance that helps align an organization’s IT services and business needs together.
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Implementing ITIL involves reframing the way an organization works and involves changes within its people, processes, and technology. Not only can such a project be a huge undertaking but also requires continuous improvements and iterations along the way.
Preparation is key to a successful ITIL implementation, so we’ve put together a nine-step plan to help you get started.
1. Understand the ITIL publications
When it comes to enforcing a set of standards and practices, it’s important to get the context of how and where the guidance is from, as well as any related updates. ITIL is owned and maintained by Axelos, a joint venture set up by the UK Government and Capita in 2014.
The latest iteration is ITIL 4. This expands on the set of best practices shown in previous publications, with an increased focus on delivering value through a more collaborative approach between different departments.
Every organization will be at different points of the ITSM journey. What are the problems or issues you’re trying to solve? What processes have been working well and which ones need a rethink? Does your team have the expertise required to make this project a success?
The answers to these questions will differ for every IT team but thinking about where you are at will help you assess what’s missing and what to do from there. For example, when checking if you have the right people for the task, this will help you decide whether you’d need to train or hire staff, or even outsource assistance to carry out your implementation.
3. Determine where you want to be
After knowing your IT services’ present state, decide where you want to go. Why are you looking to implement ITIL and why now? What are you looking to achieve in a few weeks/months/years? Whether it’s to increase end-user satisfaction or simplify service delivery processes, it’s important to decide the end goal of this venture.
Of course, implementing ITIL is an iterative process but it’s easier to move when you have a destination.
4. Define ‘quick wins’
ITIL is not a one-time ‘done-and-dusted’ deal. It requires a lot of time and effort and if you’re in a busy, fast-moving environment, it can be frustrating having to carry out and adjust to various changes at the same time.
In such cases, it’s important to identify and work towards ‘quick wins’ while pursuing the overarching long-term goals. This helps keep everyone motivated and can feel that progress is being made.
Going through the ITIL guidelines, find the processes that can be improved with little difficulty.
5. Design your processes
After you have your ‘quick wins’ defined, you can start designing the processes in detail. This means identifying which activities need to be performed for each ITIL process. The level at which this is done would be different for each process depending on what you already have in place and sometimes may just need a small tweak or improvement.
Make sure these are properly documented and stored so that people involved in the process can readily access them when needed.
6. Get buy-in from management
So, you know the benefits of ITIL and what it can bring to the business. Now it’s time to share that with your senior management. To better align IT and business goals and outcomes, you would need to get the rest of the management team on board and get their buy-in to implement ITIL. This project can be an extensive and long process, so it’s essential that the leaders in your organization understand how this benefits them and how they are involved.
7. Spread awareness
Once you get your senior management team on board, it’s time to get the rest of your workforce on the same page. As mentioned earlier, a successful ITIL implementation can and will have big changes. And as always, there will be those who are resistant to change.
ITIL implementation is essentially a people process; it will change how everyone in your organization works, so it’s important to ensure everyone knows what’s going on. This means a comprehensive multi-channel communication plan and determining how you’ll keep people informed of the progress.
Your communication should effectively relay the importance of the program, its benefits, and what roles people across the business will play in it. Whatever format you decide, whether it’s a regular newsletter or a quarterly meeting/call, the messaging should be tailored to your different types of audience to ensure relevance.
8. Evaluate technical infrastructure
After consolidating the people functions and processes of the implementation, you should look into whether your current tech stack is up to the task. Do your current solutions support ITIL processes? If that’s not the case, you may need to acquire and deploy new technology that can.
At this stage, it’s important to define your requirements such as which processes the system needs to support, its scalability, and its compatibility with your other systems.
With your people, processes, and technology in place, it’s time to implement. ITIL is a continuous process, so every change must be evaluated, with results shared across the business. By constantly taking stock of the progress, you can continually improve service delivery and bring even greater value to the organization.