ITIL adoption’s big flaw – DEPLOYMENT

Every day, more people in IT are understanding ITIL® and its many benefits. It is the most popular framework to better manage and improve IT service delivery and support. It is tool agnostic and widely available globally through hundreds of ITIL® authorized training organizations. However, there is one big flaw with most ITIL® adoptions. The Deployment stage. Adopting ITIL® is not easy, and there is no silver bullet solution. You cannot buy an ‘ITIL® Compliant’ tool and drop it into your IT organization overnight and expect it to produce improved service delivery, it won’t work. Pink Elephant has done a great job verifying a tool’s capability of working within the framework and have even compiled a list of verified tools.

However, too many organizations when implementing a new tool, think that by implementing all the vendor provided processes in their environment, they can be up and running in a few months. They are looking to quickly reap the rewards of improved efficiency and effectiveness that they envisioned a new tool would provide.

ITIL® is a collection of best practices and the tool vendors have done a great deal of work in automating the workflows of the processes into their tool offerings. A process design consultant can really add value by helping you take the materials from the books and translating them into workable processes for your organization. But, there is still a lot of work to be done after that.

What many organizations don’t realize is a successful adoption of any framework, including ITIL®, has to include a cultural change in IT and the entire business as well. Even hiring experienced process design consultants and using the ITIL® framework as a starting point will not ensure success unless you have a plan to address this cultural change. This cultural change aspect is often overlooked, leaving you with processes that are never fully accepted once deployed.

This leads to people taking shortcuts with the processes and not executing them as intended because they never bought-in in the first place. They were never given the opportunity to understand why they were being asked to change. Consequently, the benefits promised are not fully realized which leaves the business to wonder why all that money and time was spent in the first place.

So how do we address the BIG FLAW?

Remember an ITIL® adoption encompasses a major cultural shift and many of the process and service management concepts are new to your organization. As clichéd as it sounds, you need to get buy-in at all levels of the organization. This means having a communications plan aimed at all levels of the organization and not just the management and executive level.

You need to ensure that everyone, including the business, understands what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Develop momentum by utilizing an awareness program (e.g. focused awareness sessions, town hall meetings, lunch and learns, etc.) describing the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) at all levels.

Decide which processes to tackle first by identifying which ones will give the biggest benefit and shortest time to value.
Ensure there is representation from all stakeholders empowered to make decisions included in the design effort and everything is documented in a consistent, detailed manner.

Develop the business requirements for automating the process in the tool and ensure it meets the requirements identified in the process design phase. This should clearly demonstrate the WIFFM identified in the awareness program.

Develop role based training for everyone who will interact with the process, including IT and business users. This training plan should introduce the process, the benefits to be derived, and the tool functionality using a just-in-time approach. Why? Training too early may result in people forgetting the new process by the time it is rolled out. Training too late can lead to frustration as people don’t understand what to do and why they are doing it.

Lastly, communicate the results of implementing the new process. Demonstrate either the benefits you told the business they were going to get, or the plan to realize those benefits.

To summarize, to change the culture of the organization takes:

  • Planning and Communication,
  • Internal marketing and sales effort,
  • Awareness and training, and
  • Proof that the promised benefits can be delivered

Make no mistake; ITIL® is a great ITSM framework. And process design, Governance tools and the ITSM process automation tools like (Cherwell, ServiceNow and BMC etc.) are getting more sophisticated every day, it still takes a good plan and a lot of real work effort to build and maintain the highly successful IT Service Delivery function your business needs.

Brian Lenner

Brian Lenner


Principal Consultant with Navvia, have over 35 years experience in IT and Business spanning a multitude of business verticals. Enjoyed successes in IT re-organization and strategic planning positioning IT to support new and changing business plans, improve technology penetration into the mainstream business units while maximizing the ROI on IT investments. Prior to starting the consulting career I'd enjoyed success at the IT Executive level with experience in the application, technical, and operations arenas; including all aspects of IT governance. These include: Financial Services; Insurance; Telecommunications; and Retail Packaged Goods.


• Posted by Brian Lenner on Jul 26, 2013
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