What’s that you say, “ITIL can actually improve business performance”?
When the subject of best practice implementation rears its head, in any walk of life, most people’s first impression is that it will create a huge burden both in terms of cost and bureaucracy. Certainly if implemented incorrectly, this may prove to be the case. But if done correctly, with due consideration of local conditions, best practice can without question improve organisational performance.
Technology Delivers Value to Business
Let’s consider the implementation of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) into and organisation. ITIL is best practice in the area of service management; the aspect of IT focused on ensuring the technology delivers value to the business. In other words making sure that the funds invested in IT by an organisation consistently deliver an effective return on that investment which should contribute to improved business performance. Let’s face it, organisations do not invest in IT because its fun to do so, they invest to make themselves more effective in whatever way their market sphere demands, be that by generating higher profits, by reducing costs, by satisfying legislative constraints or whatever else is important.
Too many organisations consider IT to be a necessary evil, rather than an enabler of excellence. As a result IT investment is often kept at a bare minimum, with staff often working under extreme pressure to deliver solutions with minimal budget. This effectively means minimum investment in infrastructure and training, which in turn leads to a reactive culture characterised by the fire fighting activities that for so many of us are business-as-usual.
Of course, quality IT isn’t cheap. Equally, higher investment alone doesn’t guarantee improvements, but if improvements are made and aligned to a best practice framework such as ITIL, demonstrable benefits can be achieved.
Why Implement ITIL?
ITIL certainly isn’t a quick win, but it can very soon begin to demonstrate visible benefits to both management and end users, which in turn can be used to justify on-going investment. At the strategic extreme of the framework, ITIL is totally focussed on understanding what the business is trying to achieve; what markets it resides in and what value the users of IT are looking for. At the operational end of the framework, ITIL is concerned with ensuring the delivery of consistent and reliable IT services to the user, maximising up time and minimising downtime.
When looking at this from a business perspective, it is quite obvious that when the IT isn’t working the business isn’t performing as well as it could. Conversely, a framework such as ITIL that focuses on maximising the uptime of IT systems will be a factor in increasing the overall performance of the business which at a stroke ought to be able to justify the investment made in IT.
Of course ITIL is a complex framework if viewed in its entirety, but it is also recognised as being nothing more than documented common sense. The problem for most underperforming organisations is that such common sense of not common practice. The beauty of the framework is that it is totally scalable, and can be adapted successfully to the individual needs of any adopting organisation. The important thing is to not dismiss it in the first place. Why not sign up for one of QA’s ITIL training courses and see what the framework can offer your organisation. You will probably be pleasantly surprised.
Written by Bláthnaid Magill, Search Laboratory.
Clive Burford is a trainer in the Service Management team at QA- leading providers of ITIL certification and delivering the full range of ITSM training courses. He has 14 years customer facing IT experience in both the public and private sectors and has been working as an ITSM lecturer and consultant for over five years during which time he has delivered courses to customers across the length and breadth of the British Isles, as well as in numerous other countries across the world. He passionately believes that service management concepts and principles, if implemented wisely, can vastly improve the quality of IT provision within an organisation.
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