ITIL Pathway For The Best IT Solutions

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17th Mar, 2023
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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 
keep moving from one to another service provider 
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? 

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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 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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