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ITIL Pathway For The Best IT Solutions

A service provider should be customer-centric.Why do we have most customers moving from one service provider to another or in-sourcing as the trend is suggesting?  Is this because there is technology disruption happening which is new to even the service providers hence business wants to do it themselves                                                                                                           or  keep moving from one to another service provider                                                                                                            or  Is it that customer is not getting the solution that adds value to his business? Expectations of customers from IT service provider in the last few years have changed and rightly so. In the very beginning, it was all about IT cost benefit which was achieved, the next phase was about process-driven approach which was again achieved (ITIL played a very important role in achieving it). Now the expectation from the customer is about the value IT adds to the business, this is where ITIL should evolve from the way it is taught and used today.  With cloud, automation, AI, Robotics, “as a service approach” being the new buzz word, we need to understand how the process-driven approach evolved to identify and propose solutions that add values to the businesses. ITIL should be taught and used as a process-driven approach to generate IT Solutions which adds value to business.  I would like to take a few processes and lifecycle as examples to illustrate the point mentioned above BRM process: Conventional ITIL would say this process is responsible for managing the customer relations, complaints, satisfaction, requirement etc. Everything to do with customer management. Is this process helping guide the customer business strategy and in turn adding value to business? Was BRM process able to add value to Energy sector during the downturn? Did this process add value during recession to any of its customers? This is where ITIL should revisit the way each of these processes are taught and used in the modern context. Consider, a newly introduced process in ITIL say, Business Relationship Management (BRM) process. The purpose of the process is to maintain relationship between the service provider and the customer for understanding and meeting the business goals. This process is also mandated to do the market analysis and research so as to study changes happening in the customer business and customizes IT solutions which is more proactive than reactive. Service providers should realize that there should be a solution that is affordable during a customer downturn. Now let’s look at the service design lifecycle and the process, Service design lifecycle focuses on selecting the service from the catalogue and designing them to ensure continuity, availability, security, capacity and meets the SLA requirement agreed. Does this design lifecycle really address the challenges that the business could face in future? No not at all. The entire design lifecycle is based on developing IT requirement to meet the business needs. Should we not have a concept of alternative design which could be used by the business during the challenging times?  With more and more focus on cloud processes involved in the design, lifecycle approach has less relevance as people will take service which is designed. The only process of design lifecycle is the SLA which we will still need to agree on. Should we not have SLA which are more aligned with business benefit rather than measuring the IT success? Should we not have SLAs like average cost of tickets, new technology impact on % growth of business or % reduction of security incidents etc? In this section would like to touch upon the transition lifecycle. Does it meet today’s ever-changing need to transition quicker and faster? Do we even need to transition something at all or just have something new and improved? Should we need to have a view on transformation as part of Service transition? It is very important to realize that companies outsource because they need service providers to add value. Transitions should be closely coupled with the domain or the industry and the business process should be the prime focus rather than the IT lifecycle. A financial client and healthcare sector client may not require the same transition approach, it is very important to have a concept of Tailoring and Transforming in the Transition lifecycle to achieve a better result and add value for the business. The above holds good for Service Operation lifecycle. There has to be a process for customizing and transforming operations to ensure value addition is done for the business. There are two concepts that are very important for ITIL to contribute in the area of developing IT Solution. One is lessons learnt and second is governance.   Lack of learning from what has been done in the past and doing it in a better way for different business sectors is causing many service providers lose opportunity to propose a better solution. One company focuses on automation, and everyone does the same. Are we even factually looking at lessons captured during the journey of setting up a service and do we propose better solution next time around, do we pass the benefit of the lesson learnt to the existing client? The answer is no. “#ITIL helps our teams integrate more smoothly [across incident, problem, change], ensures our processes are seamless, and that the communication flow is that much quicker, concise, and efficient” – Stephen Yurack, @Innovapost https://t.co/PQJJE3kpRT #ITSM — AXELOS Best Practice (@AXELOS_GBP) April 19, 2018 Governance is something that has to be covered by ITIL to ensure better results are achieved. The general understanding is management is governance when in reality management and governance should be separated.  All the lifecycle processes should be governed and only then better results can be achieved. Lack of understanding of governance is the major reason for SLA being green and customer unhappy with the way his business is supported by IT. Conducting meetings, reviews and discussing action items is considered governance. Whereas the focus of the governance should be on IT adding value to the business. I have written these thoughts hoping ITIL is taught to meet the changing needs of the business rather than a set of best practices for IT service providers. ITIL should be a pathway for solutions rather than being a process-driven approach to run IT.

ITIL Pathway For The Best IT Solutions

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 ITIL Pathway For The Best IT Solutions

A service provider should be customer-centric.Why do we have most customers moving from one service provider to another or in-sourcing as the trend is suggesting? 

Is this because there is technology disruption happening which is new to even the service providers hence business wants to do it themselves 
                                                                                                         or 
keep moving from one to another service provider 
                                                                                                          or 
Is it that customer is not getting the solution that adds value to his business?

Expectations of customers from IT service provider in the last few years have changed and rightly so. In the very beginning, it was all about IT cost benefit which was achieved, the next phase was about process-driven approach which was again achieved (ITIL played a very important role in achieving it).

Now the expectation from the customer is about the value IT adds to the business, this is where ITIL should evolve from the way it is taught and used today. 

With cloud, automation, AI, Robotics, “as a service approach” being the new buzz word, we need to understand how the process-driven approach evolved to identify and propose solutions that add values to the businesses.

ITIL should be taught and used as a process-driven approach to generate IT Solutions which adds value to business. 


I would like to take a few processes and lifecycle as examples to illustrate the point mentioned above

BRM process: Conventional ITIL would say this process is responsible for managing the customer relations, complaints, satisfaction, requirement etc. Everything to do with customer management.

Is this process helping guide the customer business strategy and in turn adding value to business? Was BRM process able to add value to Energy sector during the downturn? Did this process add value during recession to any of its customers?

This is where ITIL should revisit the way each of these processes are taught and used in the modern context.

Consider, a newly introduced process in ITIL say, Business Relationship Management (BRM) process. The purpose of the process is to maintain relationship between the service provider and the customer for understanding and meeting the business goals.

This process is also mandated to do the market analysis and research so as to study changes happening in the customer business and customizes IT solutions which is more proactive than reactive. Service providers should realize that there should be a solution that is affordable during a customer downturn.

Now let’s look at the service design lifecycle and the process, Service design lifecycle focuses on selecting the service from the catalogue and designing them to ensure continuity, availability, security, capacity and meets the SLA requirement agreed.

Does this design lifecycle really address the challenges that the business could face in future? No not at all. The entire design lifecycle is based on developing IT requirement to meet the business needs. Should we not have a concept of alternative design which could be used by the business during the challenging times? 

With more and more focus on cloud processes involved in the design, lifecycle approach has less relevance as people will take service which is designed. The only process of design lifecycle is the SLA which we will still need to agree on. Should we not have SLA which are more aligned with business benefit rather than measuring the IT success? Should we not have SLAs like average cost of tickets, new technology impact on % growth of business or % reduction of security incidents etc?

In this section would like to touch upon the transition lifecycle. Does it meet today’s ever-changing need to transition quicker and faster? Do we even need to transition something at all or just have something new and improved? Should we need to have a view on transformation as part of Service transition?

It is very important to realize that companies outsource because they need service providers to add value. Transitions should be closely coupled with the domain or the industry and the business process should be the prime focus rather than the IT lifecycle.

A financial client and healthcare sector client may not require the same transition approach, it is very important to have a concept of Tailoring and Transforming in the Transition lifecycle to achieve a better result and add value for the business.

The above holds good for Service Operation lifecycle. There has to be a process for customizing and transforming operations to ensure value addition is done for the business.

There are two concepts that are very important for ITIL to contribute in the area of developing IT Solution. One is lessons learnt and second is governance.  

Lack of learning from what has been done in the past and doing it in a better way for different business sectors is causing many service providers lose opportunity to propose a better solution. One company focuses on automation, and everyone does the same. Are we even factually looking at lessons captured during the journey of setting up a service and do we propose better solution next time around, do we pass the benefit of the lesson learnt to the existing client? The answer is no.


Governance is something that has to be covered by ITIL to ensure better results are achieved. The general understanding is management is governance when in reality management and governance should be separated. 

All the lifecycle processes should be governed and only then better results can be achieved. Lack of understanding of governance is the major reason for SLA being green and customer unhappy with the way his business is supported by IT. Conducting meetings, reviews and discussing action items is considered governance. Whereas the focus of the governance should be on IT adding value to the business.

I have written these thoughts hoping ITIL is taught to meet the changing needs of the business rather than a set of best practices for IT service providers. ITIL should be a pathway for solutions rather than being a process-driven approach to run IT.

Anand

Anand Naik

Blog author

Versatile and highly skilled IT Infrastructure professional with 12yrs of experience in Operations, Transition, Transformation, Project Management, Process Consulting, Solutioning and Training

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2 comments

Paul Matlock 30 Apr 2018

I am feeling much blessed to be here and reading your thought provoking blog. It has truly increased my knowledge. I will surely come again and again to overcome my thirst for knowledge.

Nikhil Udupi 28 May 2018

Excellent article Anand. You have been a great mentor for many aspirants in the field of infrastructure operations. Hope to see many such informative articles from you.

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John explained that following ITIL practices helps organization achieve their strategic goals by: Ensuring quality of IT services meetsService consumer’s expectations and needs EnsuringService consumer can use IT services whenever and wherever they are needed Ensuring organizations can improve Customer satisfaction by building and maintaining positive business relationships Ensuring that organizations maximize value for money from their service providers Allowing organizations to benchmark their IT services and maximize ROI Allowing organizations to demonstrate and quantify the actual value of the services they provide Allowing organizations to forecast, influence, and respond to demand IT services in a cost-effective manner depending on fluctuating demand situations Allowing organizations to minimize IT service disruption Stages of ITIL and the purpose of each stage By now, the students were very keen and eager to know about the different lifecycle stages defined in ITIL V3 and its purpose. John went on to explain that ITIL has five stages. The following table helps explain each stage and its purpose:S.NoITIL StagesPurpose1Service StrategyThe Service Strategy stage provides guidance on how to design, develop, and implement IT Service Management. This is the core of the Service Lifecycle. This phase mainly focuses on understanding and defining the market. Also defines the needs of the customers2Service DesignIn the Service Design stage, strategies generated in Service Strategy stage are turned into action. Services and processes are designed, and plans are implemented to have a better service management.3Service TransitionThe Service Transition stage ensures that the new changes and modifications are efficiently incorporated in the service lifecycle without disrupting the other existing services or processes. It is carried out in a well-coordinated manner using cost-effective measures and resources. Through service transition, the design built is tested and implemented in the lifecycle in a productive manner4Service OperationThe Service Operation stage provides guidance on day-to-day business operations. The goal is for the IT department to keep things running smoothly, reliably, efficiently, and cost-effectively. The activities and processes in this phase ensure that services are delivered to customers at the agreed Service level agreement with minimal interruptions and disruptions. Service Operation focuses on providing value to both service consumer and the service provider.5Continual Service ImprovementThe Continual Service Improvement stage focus on improving the current service to the Service consumers. Continual Service improvement focus on progressive monitoring and controlling of services. Key performance indicators must be in place to determine whether the service is running optimally, and the service owner must ensure that the service complies with the strategic targets linked to the IT serviceJohn went on to explain that the outcomes of the Continual Service Improvement become the inputs for Service Strategy. Identified improvements will help to revise the strategic goals and targets.  Explaining what was meant by Key Performance Indicator, John defined it as a quantifiable measurement for measuring any strategic goal. This is generally agreed between Service consumer and Service Customer in the legal contract, he added. The difference between ITIL®V3 and ITIL®4  Digging deeper into the difference between ITILv3 and ITIL4, John explained that ITIL4 was the latest version. The two may need to be prioritized depending on the case, he pointed out.  S.NoITILv3ITIL41IT defines life cycle approachIt defines Service Value system-based approach2This version does not talk about 4-dimension model.This version emphasises the importance of 4-dimensions for a holistic service management.3ITIL V3, with its 26 service lifecycle processes, functions and other guidance arguably also describes how the components and activities in the organization work together.ITIL 4 and the Service value system take a more holistic approach, providing organizations with a flexible operating model that supports different work approaches. ITIL 4 presents 34 practices as "sets of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective".4There are no guiding principles under ITILv3The ITIL 4 guiding principles are universal recommendations that can guide organizations in many situations, such as "work holistically" and "keep it simple and practical".5ITIL V3 covers governance under service strategyThe governance component of the ITIL 4 service value system is about directing and controlling the organizationWhat are the different certifications available in ITIL? Explaining the available certifications in ITIL, John elaborated using the following table to help the students to understand the different certifications under ITIL.  (Source: Axelos). S.NoLevelsPurpose1ITIL 4 Foundation LevelThe ITIL 4 Foundation certification is designed as an introduction to ITIL 4 and enables candidates to look at IT service management through an end-to-end operating model for the creation, delivery and continual improvement of tech-enabled products and services.2ITIL 4 Managing ProfessionalThe Managing Professional (MP) stream provides practical and technical knowledge about how to run successful IT enabled services, teams and workflows.3ITIL 4 Strategic LeaderITIL 4 Strategic Leader demonstrates that the you have a clear understanding of how IT influences and directs business strategy.4Master LevelTo achieve the ITIL Master certification, you must be able to explain and justify how you have personally selected and applied a range of knowledge, principles, methods and techniques from the ITIL Framework and supporting management techniques, to achieve desired business outcomes in one or more practical assignments.Getting started Concluding, John summarized that to get started all one needs to do is to talk to professionals to understand how the work they do contributes to creating value for customers. If everybody thinks about what they do in these terms, then the next step will be much easier. The IT world we live in is becoming more and more service based by the day and there is great opportunity. Industry leaders have seen ITIL in action and have bought into it. Most major global corporations run their services on ITIL®, and such IT professionals are in great demand. 
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The ITIL Framework and It’s Processes

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