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The Business Benefits of Following ITIL Best Practices

Information Technology Infrastructure Library® or ITIL® as it is widely known is the accepted best practice framework in IT Service Management (ITSM).Around the world, organizations have adopted it as an effective tool to transform management of IT services and for achieving business growth. IT Service Management is leveraged extensively to create competitive advantages. IT is no more a cost center, but it has come to be regarded as an important business driver which offers tremendous opportunities for value creation. Today, it is hard to come across any service not enabled by IT and with businesses faced with tremendous disruptions, IT services comprise the most significant and perhaps the largest component. With Digital transformation rapidly changing the global business and economic landscapes, corporations are striving to remain competitive and relevant. How a service is delivered and managed can determine who will survive and who will not. Creating value through services for customers and for themselves is what organizations are striving for. Many enterprises are embracing opportunities offered by digital transformation. These organizations realize that such transformations must be in sync with the need for stability, predictability, operational agility, and organization velocity. Therefore, improving and expanding capabilities in IT Service management is the name of the game! Overview of the ITIL4 framework ITIL4 is a major upgrade from the previous version, ITIL V3. In keeping with the changing business environment, ITSM is also evolving as organizations adopt newer ways of working.  Cross function teams are becoming commonplace and there is an increased integration of IT with other organizational capabilities. ITIL4 provides a new operating model – a model that is flexible as well as practical, one that can help organizations on their digital transformation journey. In the new framework, ITIL best practices are integrated with new ways of working such as Agile and DevOps. The key elements of ITIL4 are the four dimensions, the guiding principles, the move from processes to practices, and the ITIL service value system. In this article, we will discuss each of this in detail. Benefits of ITIL4 Adoption of ITIL4 can bring a lot of benefits to the organizations and practitioners alike. In the new version, the framework accords strategic importance to ITSM by placing it in the wider context of customer experience and value co-creation. The main benefits of ITIL4 are: Holistic Approach to Service Management Understanding how all the parts of the organization – ITSM, development, operations, business relationship and governance – work together in an integrated way is key to a holistic approach to value creation. This provides end-to-end visibility and appropriate controls which is essential to the achievement of organizational agility, faster time to market, quality, optimized costs, and reduced risk through continual improvement and innovation. Focus on co-creating business value: While the focus of ITIL V3 was on IT services lifecycles(development, deployment, improving and retiring), ITIL4 has a focus across the entire organization. The four dimensions that are essential to creating value for all stakeholders, including customers are as follows: Organization and People This dimension is essentially about the people aspect of ITSM. The organizational culture needs to support its objectives and the right level of staff capacity, competencies and skill sets are required for value co-creation to take place. Organizational structure (horizontal or vertical),roles and responsibilities, adequate Governance and effective communication are some other key considerations to focus under this dimension.ITIL4 shows how every dimension is affected by multiple factorsInformation and technology: This aspect applies to both service management and to the services being managed. This dimension includes information created, managed, and used in the course of service provision and consumption. The technology part considers components like storage, network, databases etc. that make up the service as well as technology that support service management at the enterprise level. Partners and suppliers Value is increasingly achieved through co-creation. Partners and suppliers play a vital role in the design, development, delivery, and continual improvement of services. The breadth and depth to which organizations integrate suppliers into their value chains depends on many factors like in-house capabilities, sourcing strategy, relationship, cost etc. Value streams and processes It is critical that the different parts of the organization work in an integrated and coordinated way to create value. ITIL4 introduces the service value chain which is an operating model which helps map how a value stream (the delivery process of a service) flows across various activities from demand to supply. Organizations should map a value stream for every product or service to provide a complete, end-to-end picture of how value is created. Improved Business and IT alignment With a flexible operating model in the form of Service Value System (SVS),the framework offers opportunities for better alignment of Business and IT whereby IT contributes works in tandem to realize organizational goals. This not only improves quality of service but also leads to higher customer satisfaction by reducing risks and cutting down time to market. Key concepts of ITIL V4 Value Co-creation  ITIL4 defines Services as: “A means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks” This definition marks a shift from the old definition as it outlines ‘value co-creation’. What this means is that the Service provider and Service Consumers must work together to create value. In ITILV3, value was described as something the Service Provider created for customers. The Service provider collaborates with customers to understand what constitutes value for customers rather than creating products and services in a vacuum. There are also two types of key stakeholders defined within ITIL4: Service Provider When provisioning services, an organization takes on the role of the service provider. The provider can be external to the consumer’s organization, or they can both be part of the same organization. Service Consumer When receiving services, an organization takes on the role of the service consumer. Service consumer is a generic role that is used to simplify the definition and description of the structure of service relationships. Just as there can be different provider roles, consumers are also divided into different roles or categories, namely: Customer a person who defines the requirements for a service and takes responsibility for the outcomes of service consumption User a person who uses the service Sponsor a person who authorizes budget for the service In some instances, the same person may serve in several roles. In other cases, different people may assume the various roles. As a Service Provider organization, it is important to understand who fills each of these roles and what expectation each of them wants and expects from the service provider. Products A configuration of an organization’s resources designed to offer value for a consumer A service provider may a product or portfolio of products that have the potential to co-create value for multiple customer segments. Service Provider can thus create one or more service offerings.Products are a configuration of an organization’s resources Source: AXELOSService Value System and Management Practices The ITIL4Service Value System (SVS) describes how all the components and activities of the organization work together as a system to enable value creation. A system can be defined as an interconnected network or as a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism. An organization is a system. The Service provider as a system, receives demand from multiple sources and converts them into value by creating/offering services for customers.ITIL Foundation: ITIL4 Edition (2019). Source: AXELOSThe Service Value System (SVS) is a different way of looking at the organization. The SVS is interconnected. It has individual parts; but they are all part of the same mechanism, working together. This includes how  organizations get things done (Service Value Chain), how decisions are made (Guiding Principles), how do they improve (Continual Improvement), how do they ensure they are doing what they profess to be doing (Governance), and how do they process work (Practices). Successful organizations exploit opportunities and respond to demand by delivering high-quality products and services in a fast and efficient way. They stand out for their agility and they do it by breaking down silos.  Now, let us break down those components and discuss how each contributes to making the Service Value System successful. Guiding Principles Guiding principles guide an organization in all circumstances. These should form the basis for decision making in the organization. The guiding principles provide a comprehensive and holistic vision of how a service or service management organization should manage and execute its work. The seven guiding principles include: Focus on value Start where you are Progress iteratively with feedback Collaborate and promote visibility Think and work holistically Keep it simple and practical Optimize and automateGovernance Governance is the means by which an organization is directed and controlled by defining policies and rules. Service value chain It is an operating model which outlines the key activities required to respond to demand and facilitate value realization through the creation and management of products and services. Service Value Chain in ITIL4. Source: AxelosThe service value chain outlines six value chain activities –  Plan Engage Design and transition  Obtain or build  Deliver and support, and  ImproveTypically, a service provider will engage with external stakeholders, plan work, deliver and support live products and services. Practice ITIL4 moved away from processes towards more expanded ‘practices’ and defines them as ‘a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective. ’They are both practical and flexible and each practice supports multiple SVC activities and aids the flexibility of the entire service value chain. These practices are leveraged in order to cater to the various aspects like time to market, responding to demand and resource allocation and scaling. ITIL4 has 34 practices as follows: General Management Practices 14 general management practices have been identified. These are generally practiced across the organization and are adopted for use in ITSM as well. Service Management Practices 17 service management practices have been developed for specific area of IT service management and ITSM industries as a whole. Technical Management Practices There are three technical management practices which come from technology management domains for service management. They have been adopted in such a way that expand their applicability in IT services domain as well. Namely, these are: (1) deployment management, (2) infrastructure and platform management, and (3) software development and management. The 34 practices of ITIL4 have been summarized in the following table: General Management practices(14)Service Management Practices(17)Technical Management Practices(3)Architecture management Availability managementDeployment managementContinual improvement Business analysisInfrastructure and platform managementInformation Security managementCapacity and performance managementSoftware development and ManagementKnowledge managementChange ControlMeasurement and reportingIncident managementOrganizational change managementIT asset managementPortfolio managementMonitoring and event managementProject managementProject managementRelationship managementRelease managementRisk managementService catalogue managementService financial managementService configuration managementStrategy managementService continuity managementSupplier managementService designWorkforce and talent managementService deskService level managementService request managementService validation and testing34 practices of ITIL. Source: Axelos.Implementing ITIL4 in your organization – Best Practices Implementing ITIL4 in your organization, is all about the ABC of an organization - attitude, behavior, and culture. It is these three ABCs that will determine the success or otherwise of ITIL implementation.  A culture that accords highest importance to holistic service delivery and value co-creation, naturally evokes right attitude and behavior from all sections of the organization. With that said, the following are some of the key factors to be considered: Start where you are An objective evaluation of the current situation needs to be carried out before initiating a transformation. This gives us a perspective of our current capabilities, things that are working well and things that are not, what we can do and what we can’t, the processes that are currently being used, the prevailing organizational culture etc. So, the current baseline is the best starting point. Organizational Vision For organization wide adoption, it is important that there is a common big picture, an organizational vision which everyone, understands, aligns, and is committed to. Everyone should be able to know what the organizational goals are they are working for, how do their role fit into the larger scheme of things and what role does IT play in the achievement of the business strategy. Therefore, the following factors, among others, need to be looked at: The People The Practices  The product and technology The culture, service, and attitude The organization, communication, and relationships  Build capability and evaluate progress: Having a clear vision helps in building what matters the most to the organization. It helps draw a roadmap. Capability building in ITSM should include having defined practices, effective tools for ITSM and as also for collaboration, competency building for the staff, putting the right governance structures in place etc. Measuring and evaluating progress at key milestones is important to know if we are headed in the right direction and, if the changes that are being introduced bring value or not. Concluding thoughtsITSM has evolved well with times and ITIL has kept pace. The new version is both practical and flexible and takes ITSM to the next level of maturity by embracing a holistic view of service management and aligning itself with newer ways of working like Agile, DevOps and lean. The new version, which has received a lot of contribution from members of the ITSM community and industry practitioners, has made ITIL more relevant than ever before.

The Business Benefits of Following ITIL Best Practices

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The Business Benefits of Following ITIL Best Practices

Information Technology Infrastructure Library® or ITIL® as it is widely known is the accepted best practice framework in IT Service Management (ITSM).Around the world, organizations have adopted it as an effective tool to transform management of IT services and for achieving business growth. 

IT Service Management is leveraged extensively to create competitive advantages. IT is no more a cost center, but it has come to be regarded as an important business driver which offers tremendous opportunities for value creation. Today, it is hard to come across any service not enabled by IT and with businesses faced with tremendous disruptions, IT services comprise the most significant and perhaps the largest component. 

With Digital transformation rapidly changing the global business and economic landscapes, corporations are striving to remain competitive and relevant. How a service is delivered and managed can determine who will survive and who will not. Creating value through services for customers and for themselves is what organizations are striving for. 

Many enterprises are embracing opportunities offered by digital transformation. These organizations realize that such transformations must be in sync with the need for stability, predictability, operational agility, and organization velocity. 

Therefore, improving and expanding capabilities in IT Service management is the name of the game! 

Overview of the ITIL4 framework 

ITIL4 is a major upgrade from the previous version, ITIL V3. In keeping with the changing business environment, ITSM is also evolving as organizations adopt newer ways of working.  Cross function teams are becoming commonplace and there is an increased integration of IT with other organizational capabilities. 

ITIL4 provides a new operating model – a model that is flexible as well as practical, one that can help organizations on their digital transformation journey. In the new framework, ITIL best practices are integrated with new ways of working such as Agile and DevOps. 

The key elements of ITIL4 are the four dimensions, the guiding principles, the move from processes to practices, and the ITIL service value system. In this article, we will discuss each of this in detail. 

Benefits of ITIL4 

Adoption of ITIL4 can bring a lot of benefits to the organizations and practitioners alike. 

In the new version, the framework accords strategic importance to ITSM by placing it in the wider context of customer experience and value co-creation. 

The main benefits of ITIL4 are: 

Holistic Approach to Service Management 

Understanding how all the parts of the organization – ITSM, development, operations, business relationship and governance – work together in an integrated way is key to a holistic approach to value creation. This provides end-to-end visibility and appropriate controls which is essential to the achievement of organizational agility, faster time to market, quality, optimized costs, and reduced risk through continual improvement and innovation. 

Focus on co-creating business value: 

While the focus of ITIL V3 was on IT services lifecycles(development, deployment, improving and retiring), ITIL4 has a focus across the entire organization. The four dimensions that are essential to creating value for all stakeholders, including customers are as follows: 

Organization and People 

This dimension is essentially about the people aspect of ITSM. The organizational culture needs to support its objectives and the right level of staff capacity, competencies and skill sets are required for value co-creation to take place. Organizational structure (horizontal or vertical),roles and responsibilities, adequate Governance and effective communication are some other key considerations to focus under this dimension.

ITIL4 shows how every dimension is affected by multiple factorsITIL4 shows how every dimension is affected by multiple factors

Information and technology: 

This aspect applies to both service management and to the services being managed. This dimension includes information created, managed, and used in the course of service provision and consumption. The technology part considers components like storage, network, databases etc. that make up the service as well as technology that support service management at the enterprise level. 

Partners and suppliers 

Value is increasingly achieved through co-creation. Partners and suppliers play a vital role in the design, development, delivery, and continual improvement of services. The breadth and depth to which organizations integrate suppliers into their value chains depends on many factors like in-house capabilities, sourcing strategy, relationship, cost etc. 

Value streams and processes 

It is critical that the different parts of the organization work in an integrated and coordinated way to create value. ITIL4 introduces the service value chain which is an operating model which helps map how a value stream (the delivery process of a service) flows across various activities from demand to supply. Organizations should map a value stream for every product or service to provide a complete, end-to-end picture of how value is created. 

Improved Business and IT alignment 

With a flexible operating model in the form of Service Value System (SVS),the framework offers opportunities for better alignment of Business and IT whereby IT contributes works in tandem to realize organizational goals. This not only improves quality of service but also leads to higher customer satisfaction by reducing risks and cutting down time to market. 

Key concepts of ITIL V4 

Value Co-creation  

ITIL4 defines Services as: 

“A means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks” 

This definition marks a shift from the old definition as it outlines ‘value co-creation’. What this means is that the Service provider and Service Consumers must work together to create value. 

In ITILV3, value was described as something the Service Provider created for customers. 

The Service provider collaborates with customers to understand what constitutes value for customers rather than creating products and services in a vacuum. 

There are also two types of key stakeholders defined within ITIL4: 

Service Provider 

When provisioning services, an organization takes on the role of the service provider. The provider can be external to the consumer’s organization, or they can both be part of the same organization. 

Service Consumer 

When receiving services, an organization takes on the role of the service consumer. Service consumer is a generic role that is used to simplify the definition and description of the structure of service relationships. 

Just as there can be different provider roles, consumers are also divided into different roles or categories, namely: 

Customer 

a person who defines the requirements for a service and takes responsibility for the outcomes of service consumption 

User 

a person who uses the service 

Sponsor 

a person who authorizes budget for the service 

In some instances, the same person may serve in several roles. In other cases, different people may assume the various roles. As a Service Provider organization, it is important to understand who fills each of these roles and what expectation each of them wants and expects from the service provider. 

Products 

A configuration of an organization’s resources designed to offer value for a consumer 

A service provider may a product or portfolio of products that have the potential to co-create value for multiple customer segments. Service Provider can thus create one or more service offerings.

Products are a configuration of an organization’s resourcesProducts are a configuration of an organization’s resources Source: AXELOS

Service Value System and Management Practices 

The ITIL4Service Value System (SVS) describes how all the components and activities of the organization work together as a system to enable value creation. 

A system can be defined as an interconnected network or as a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism. An organization is a system. 

The Service provider as a system, receives demand from multiple sources and converts them into value by creating/offering services for customers.

ITIL Foundation: ITIL4 Edition (2019).ITIL Foundation: ITIL4 Edition (2019). Source: AXELOS

The Service Value System (SVS) is a different way of looking at the organization. The SVS is interconnected. It has individual parts; but they are all part of the same mechanism, working together. This includes how  organizations get things done (Service Value Chain), how decisions are made (Guiding Principles), how do they improve (Continual Improvement), how do they ensure they are doing what they profess to be doing (Governance), and how do they process work (Practices). Successful organizations exploit opportunities and respond to demand by delivering high-quality products and services in a fast and efficient way. They stand out for their agility and they do it by breaking down silos.  

Now, let us break down those components and discuss how each contributes to making the Service Value System successful. 

Guiding Principles 

Guiding principles guide an organization in all circumstances. These should form the basis for decision making in the organization. 

The guiding principles provide a comprehensive and holistic vision of how a service or service management organization should manage and execute its work. The seven guiding principles include: 

  1. Focus on value 
  2. Start where you are 
  3. Progress iteratively with feedback 
  4. Collaborate and promote visibility 
  5. Think and work holistically 
  6. Keep it simple and practical 
  7. Optimize and automate

Governance 

Governance is the means by which an organization is directed and controlled by defining policies and rules. 

Service value chain 

It is an operating model which outlines the key activities required to respond to demand and facilitate value realization through the creation and management of products and services. 

Service Value Chain in ITIL4.Service Value Chain in ITIL4. Source: Axelos

The service value chain outlines six value chain activities –  

  1. Plan 
  2. Engage 
  3. Design and transition  
  4. Obtain or build  
  5. Deliver and support, and  
  6. Improve

Typically, a service provider will engage with external stakeholders, plan work, deliver and support live products and services. 

Practice 

ITIL4 moved away from processes towards more expanded ‘practices’ and defines them as ‘a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective. ’They are both practical and flexible and each practice supports multiple SVC activities and aids the flexibility of the entire service value chain. 

These practices are leveraged in order to cater to the various aspects like time to market, responding to demand and resource allocation and scaling. 

ITIL4 has 34 practices as follows: 

General Management Practices 

14 general management practices have been identified. These are generally practiced across the organization and are adopted for use in ITSM as well. 

Service Management Practices 

17 service management practices have been developed for specific area of IT service management and ITSM industries as a whole. 

Technical Management Practices 

There are three technical management practices which come from technology management domains for service management. They have been adopted in such a way that expand their applicability in IT services domain as well. Namely, these are: (1) deployment management, (2) infrastructure and platform management, and (3) software development and management. 

The 34 practices of ITIL4 have been summarized in the following table: 

General Management practices(14)Service Management Practices(17)Technical Management Practices(3)
Architecture management Availability managementDeployment management
Continual improvement Business analysisInfrastructure and platform management
Information Security managementCapacity and performance managementSoftware development and Management
Knowledge managementChange Control
Measurement and reportingIncident management
Organizational change managementIT asset management
Portfolio managementMonitoring and event management
Project managementProject management
Relationship managementRelease management
Risk managementService catalogue management
Service financial managementService configuration management
Strategy managementService continuity management
Supplier managementService design
Workforce and talent managementService desk

Service level management
Service request management
Service validation and testing

34 practices of ITIL. Source: Axelos.

Implementing ITIL4 in your organization – Best Practices 

Implementing ITIL4 in your organization, is all about the ABC of an organization - attitude, behavior, and culture. It is these three ABCs that will determine the success or otherwise of ITIL implementation.  

A culture that accords highest importance to holistic service delivery and value co-creation, naturally evokes right attitude and behavior from all sections of the organization. 

With that said, the following are some of the key factors to be considered: 

Start where you are 

An objective evaluation of the current situation needs to be carried out before initiating a transformation. This gives us a perspective of our current capabilities, things that are working well and things that are not, what we can do and what we can’t, the processes that are currently being used, the prevailing organizational culture etc. 

So, the current baseline is the best starting point. 

Organizational Vision 

For organization wide adoption, it is important that there is a common big picture, an organizational vision which everyone, understands, aligns, and is committed to. Everyone should be able to know what the organizational goals are they are working for, how do their role fit into the larger scheme of things and what role does IT play in the achievement of the business strategy. Therefore, the following factors, among others, need to be looked at: 

  • The People 
  • The Practices  
  • The product and technology 
  • The culture, service, and attitude 
  • The organization, communication, and relationships  

Build capability and evaluate progress: 

Having a clear vision helps in building what matters the most to the organization. It helps draw a roadmap. Capability building in ITSM should include having defined practices, effective tools for ITSM and as also for collaboration, competency building for the staff, putting the right governance structures in place etc. 

Measuring and evaluating progress at key milestones is important to know if we are headed in the right direction and, if the changes that are being introduced bring value or not. 

Concluding thoughts

ITSM has evolved well with times and ITIL has kept pace. The new version is both practical and flexible and takes ITSM to the next level of maturity by embracing a holistic view of service management and aligning itself with newer ways of working like Agile, DevOps and lean. 

The new version, which has received a lot of contribution from members of the ITSM community and industry practitioners, has made ITIL more relevant than ever before.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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ITIL Practitioner: Importance of “Adopt and Adapt” Principle and SWOT analysis

In my previous posts on ITIL Practitioner, we walked the journey of basics of ITIL practitioner, then emboldened by our little endeavor, we explored core competencies of ITIL, 9 guiding principles and tried to understand why “service strategy” is the core of ITIL framework. Briefly, we had touched upon the concept of Adopt and Adapt that is the core message of ITIL framework governing body. In this post, I will share my thoughts with you on how ITIL’s core concept of “Adopt and Adapt” is part of their curriculum and if possible, I will share some examples with you. What is Adopt and Adapt concept? Adopt says take whatever you like and think will be useful for your project or organization. Adapt says change it to suit your needs. Simple! Not so. Because this simple looking definition is full of pitfalls and very dangerous ones, at that. If you start adopting everything that you liked in other projects and companies then soon your own project and company will be overburdened with things that do not work well together and worst still, there will be humongous redundancy in techniques and tasks. Let us take a simple example of internet search engine. Suppose I am the owner of company XYZ and I am marketing a new internet search engine service known as XYZ-Search. While my engineers and managers are working hard to make sure that my internet search service performs well on the parameters that have been given to them; at the same time, I should also be spending time to find out the existing best practices being followed by my competitors and peers. But I exercise extreme restraint before actually taking those practices and asking my engineers to follow them blindly. For example, it will be foolish on my part to build a sprawling campus with 24*7 entertainment facilities for my engineering team working on XYZ-Search just because Google does it for its employees. No doubt, this kind of environment does have its own benefits, but it comes with its own cost. And being a start-up, my XYZ-Search cannot afford this. So in spite of success for this organizational facilities, I should not be adopting it as-is. Similarly, I notice Google search engine places online advertisements on specific locations on the page such as top, bottom, right navigation panel etc. So if I tell my engineers, UX, and marketing team to start putting such advertisements on my XYZ-Search page then I can easily drop my dreams of tasting success. Why? Because Google is earning those advertisements on the basis of top-class search results that lead to user satisfaction and if I try to replicate that financial model for my XYZ-Search engine service then it will be thrown to trash in a matter of a few days. Always remember, bad quality never goes unpunished!  But I do want to adopt my peers’ success model; so what should I do? In that case, you need to learn to adapt. The concept of adapting means that you tailor the existing product or service as per your needs and requirements that suit you best. We know, this is a required thing to be done else it leads to the problem of force fitting leading to a lot of other issues such as employee dissatisfaction, customer drain, regulatory non-compliances etc. To continue with our example of internet search engine service, if our very successful competitor, Google, decides to set up a 24*7 customer care number that provides personalized attention to each caller, then obviously, this initiative is going to win a lot of appreciation from the clients for Google. Who does not want a personalized support and care in business especially if things are not working as expected? But it would be foolish on our part to adopt this model in its entirety; in fact even suicidal for our startup that is already tight on cash inflow and is in primitive stages of internet search engine service development and release. So how do we adapt here?  Because adopting this wonderful idea is a no-brainer; it would be stupid to not implement this. But how to make it fit for us? That is where your SWOT analysis comes into picture. SWOT stands for strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. How will this help us fulfill our needs? Let’s see.  SWOT analysis to Adapt the Adopted SWOT analysis is helpful here because it will help us nail down the reasons why we want to adopt a best practice, what are our current challenges to be solved through this, what are the constraints that limit our ability to go beyond what is currently possible and what benefits we are going to reap if we are successful. Let me show you an example of this internet search engine service 24*7 customer care with personalized attention. What are our Strengths? Here we or anyone is supposed to list down the aspects that are your strong points for a given situation. You will need to involve more than 3 but less than 10 people in this exercise to get some tangible outcomes. Let’s give it a try. 1) We are a startup with limited and very minuscule customer base; since we are just starting up In normal circumstances, this would be considered as our weakness but in this case, this is our strength; see how This implies that the demand to set up 24*7 customer support is almost nil or maybe does not even exist. And that actually cuts down on our cost factor to set this up 2) Our another strength is, in this case, that no one expects us to give a wonderful customer support since we are a startup busy with getting our service correct first. So the pressure to set this up is not there. What are our weaknesses? Here, we list down our weaknesses in this area. 1) We do not have big purse or deep pockets; that means we cannot spend money on getting state of art technical automated customer support setup 2) Our developers are busy in developing next version, and they barely have time to work with customers for live site issues And we do not have the capacity to hire new developers What are the Opportunities? List down the scope of getting ahead in business and on your competitors, if you succeed in this case 1) Since the expectations are low, so if we are able to provide 24*7 customer support with personal attention then it takes our customer ratings higher at a very steep rate. This positive feedback loop in turn would lead us to get more business and hence, bigger market share Wow; didn’t think it that way! 2) Customer feedback loop would allow us to develop features that are more relevant to them and since our customer base is small, the impact of positive reaction would be higher Hence, more business through positive word of mouth What are our threats? Here we list down the threats that might hamper us on this journey or worst still, the losses that we may incur if we fail. 1) The much-needed finance would be diverted for something that was not asked for in the first place. 2) We are opening up another input channel for our engineering team through customer feedback and not to forget, our engineering team is already overloaded 3) Increased business might become a bane for us if we don’t keep up with the same quality of customer care going forward, and we might lose business due to that. Now, our SWOT analysis is done; and what is the result? That depends upon you and your risk appetite. Now, you should have a discussion with your team and managers and stakeholders and arrive at the best way to go forward depending upon the above SWOT analysis. And before you realize, you will have a perfectly adapted version of a best practice in your hands for your benefit! ☺ All the best! By the way, if I were you, I would have chosen to implement this model of personalized attention to all customers but only during specific hours of the day along with specific modifications to engage with other countries’ customers.    
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How ITIL Can Improve Your Management Practices

ITIL, an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is an extensively accepted approach to IT service management (ITSM), which focuses on aligning IT services with business needs. It directs the professionals and the organisations in using IT as a tool that facilitates business growth and transformation. The ITIL portrays various procedures, tasks, processes, checklists that are not specified by an organisation. But an organisation can apply them to establish integration with the organisation’s strategy and by delivering a value. It facilitates building a baseline for an organisation for planning, implementation, and measurement. The ITIL framework is outlined to standardise the IT services in terms of selection, planning, support, and delivery to business needs. The ITIL transforms ‘IT’ into a business-service partner rather than just a back-end support by achieving its goal to improve efficiency. The ITIL guidelines regulate the IT actions and budget according to the business needs and also enable changes to them even if there is a shift or change in the business. Here’re important things to know about ITIL Foundation ITIL originated in the 1980s, with the dissolution of data centres and more geographical and diverse architectures gaining importance. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) of the UK government developed a set of recommendations after recognising that the private sectors and government agencies have started to implement their own IT-management practices. The IT Infrastructure Library encompasses a framework of five core publications or a collection of books, each of which covers a specific practice in the IT service management. The essential books comprising ITIL version 3 (V3) are as follows: Service Strategy: This book looks at the overall business aims and expectations, and provides advice and prioritisation of service-provider investments. Service Design: Service Design provides good advice on the design of IT processes, services, and other aspects of the service management. Starting with a set of new or alternated business needs, it ends with a solution that is designed to meet the recorded needs of the business. Service Transition: Service Transition relates to the delivery of services needed by a business for its operational use. It focuses on management of change, risk, and quality assurance during the deployment of service designs. Service Operation: Service Operation enables the delivery of negotiated levels of service to the customers and end users. Also, the problems are monitored, and a balance is restored in between service reliability and costs. Continual Service Improvement: Continual Service Improvement (CSI) looks for ways to improve the overall process and service provision. It facilitates alignment and realignment of IT services to accommodate the changing business needs. Benefits of ITIL in Management Practices Many prominent organisations are adopting and implementing the ITIL practices, as ITIL has become a leading framework of best service-management practices. Following are the benefits: 1. ITIL has gained recognition worldwide The common terms and concepts defined in ITIL form a set of practices that develop gradually to meet the market needs in a cycle of continual improvement. All the organisations—small or large, private or public, centralised or decentralised—can be benefitted from ITIL. ITIL can be adapted for utilisation and implementation in all businesses and organisations, regardless of size or scope. ITIL is scalable and flexible, so organisations, no matter big or small can implement parts of ITIL-delivering organisational benefits in various stages. 2. ITIL provides customer satisfaction ITIL provides a base for quality IT Service Management. The services offered by ITIL are based on efficient principles and adequately fulfils the business requirements. ITIL has been programmed emphasise focus on customer needs and user experience instead of focusing on technology issues. ITIL comprises of a consistent set of processes, highlighting the potential weakness that occurred in the previous operations, and suggests proactive improvements. ITIL allows better access to services for users and speedy responses to customer enquiries and complaints. This helps improve customer satisfaction and build a better relationship with the customer. 3. ITIL provides a reliable quality of service ITIL provides better management and control over the IT system infrastructure and management. The adoption of ITIL standards facilitates the service providers to deliver services regularly and effectively. Better identification of the areas of improvement and a proactive approach to service provision makes ITIL a reliable and best practice in the IT Service Management. 4. ITIL enables development of delivery of service ITIL enhances efficiency of services for the trading partners. The processes provided by ITIL help the service providers work with their clients and suppliers which enables them to make wise decisions on cost optimisation, investment opportunities, risk management, and various other priorities. 5. ITIL provides a decisive advantage by creation of value ITIL has improved the service quality by shortening the resolution time, providing better management control and implementing permanent solutions to acknowledge problems. By managing the customer and service portfolios, ITIL enables growth and prosperous business transformation that increases an organisations’ competitive advantage. Some of the benefits include: • Quantifies and clearly demonstrates the true value of the services • Minimizes service disruption • Obtains value for money from the service providers • Benchmarks the services and maximizes the returns on investment • Forecasts, responds, and influences the demands of services in a cost-effective way • Ensures that the business and customers remain unaffected by the unexpected service failures
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How ITIL Can Improve Your Management Practices

ITIL, an acronym for Information Technology Infras... Read More

Microsoft Project - Complete Guide For Beginners

Introduction A project is a specific set of operations that is created to meet a single goal and the application of knowledge, practices, skills and tools in order to meet this specific set of goals and certain specific requirements is known as Project Management. It is a specialized career path, generally involves working in a team and is a much respected profession in the corporate world. The rapid worldwide growth of Project Management demanded a dedicated software to assist its supervision and Microsoft Office Project or MS Project as it is most often known, caters to the need quite efficiently. About MS Project Project Management is a complex and multifaceted process and MS Project is a project management software program developed and sold by Microsoft. It is a very convenient-to-use tool that project managers across the globe vouch for. Microsoft is helping project managers in the following tasks: • Creating schedules • Assigning resources to tasks • Tracking progress • Managing budgets • Evaluating workload It creates specific budgets depending upon the work assigned and rates demanded by resources. While assignment of resources to tasks and work estimation takes place, MS Project gets into cost calculation for task level and culminates at the project level. Every resource can possess a separate calendar that explains particular days and shifts during which a specific resource is available. MS Project is a feature heavy software and automates a majority of tasks. However, it does have a few constraints and is unable to replicate human thinking. Remember, Microsoft Project can create a practical schedule for the project but it cannot create a plan and most managers are unable to distinguish between the two. For example, a Project Manager has to provide solutions to the following questions: • How much will it cost to complete each task? • What sort of resources will be needed to accomplish each task? Is it Man, machine or material? • Are there any specific time deadlines and constraints for the project or individual tasks? • Is there a defined order while completing tasks and how are the tasks defined? Microsoft Project is capable of creating more than just a schedule as it can: ✓ Form dependencies within tasks ✓ Solve resource conflicts ✓ Create Constraints ✓ Review costs and schedule performances MS Project training helps project managers in envisaging their project in standard defined layouts. By using this software, it is possible to schedule tasks and resources in a fairly reliable and effective manner. Project Managers can rely on it when it is essential to track information about the work, time taken for individual tasks and also assessing the resource needs for the project. Another important and time-consuming task the MS Project handles in an efficient manner is the generation of reports that are required during regular progress meetings. What does Microsoft Project look like? The Microsoft Project interface includes the following: Quick Access Toolbar: A customizable area that allows commonly used commands to be added for quick use. Tabs on the Ribbons & Groups: A part of the “Fluent User Interface”, this “office menu” is a single tool bar that has a ribbon having various tabs, where every tab contains a toolbar button and at times, other controls too. Toolbar controls have assorted sizes and are divided into visually distinct groups, which are essentially a group of related commands. Commands: Each tabs includes various commands, which when pointed at, unfurl a description inside a tooltip. These commands are basically specific features one utilises to perform different actions in MS Project. Zoom Slider: Helps in zooming the view in or out View Shortcuts: Allows quick and easy switching between commonly used views in the project View Label: This tab is located along the left side of the active view and contains various views like Task Usage view, Gantt chart view, network diagram view, amongst various others. Microsoft Project is capable is displaying single or multiple views in individual panes. Status Bar: Shows details like scheduling mode of tasks (automatic or manual) and specifics of filters applied to the active view. Advantages and Disadvantages of Microsoft Office Project Advantages: MS Project is a highly flexible application that offers multiple tools that help in the management of projects in government institutions, business firms and construction organizations. The planning, allocating and collection of resources for different tasks becomes fairly simple and easy with the use of MS Project. It helps project managers to estimate budgets accurately so that the right amount of money is set aside for the project and for contingencies too. Disadvantages: It is prudent to realise that MS Project, though it is designed to allow multiple users to work in congruence, it takes a longer time to train people with different learning pace and the training itself could turn out to be an expensive affair. Summary: Microsoft Office Project is a suite of tools to help in efficient project management and is used in industries like pharmaceuticals, construction, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and financial services to name a few. Contractors and project managers are able to have better control over their finances and resources and is integrated with Microsoft office suite along with a Client Access Licence for quick connectivity with Office Project Server.
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Microsoft Project - Complete Guide For Beginners

Introduction A project is a specific set of ope... Read More