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

591
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.
 

 

Abhinav

Abhinav Gupta

Blog Author

PMP, has 12+ years of experience working in Information technology sector and has worked with companies like Infosys and Microsoft in various capacities. He started his career as a manual tester for a world renowned software product and grew on to become automation champion in both functional as well as UI. He has worked with Healthcare units providing various software solutions to companies in North America and has worked with search engine based groups to enhance their experience and provide more bang for buck to their customers.

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