Streamlining the ITIL implementation process

ITIL implementation is critical for companies in the IT services industry. Here are a few guiding principles for a smooth implementation from the expert herself.

An Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) implementation can either be undertaken in-house to service the internal customers or outsourced to an external IT service provider. In both the cases, while the framework essentially remains the same, the way it is deployed in an organization is different.

In-house and outsourced ITIL implementation

For an in-house ITIL implementation, a consultant is hired to design your organization’s processes. The consultant tries to understand how the current IT infrastructure is being managed by evaluating tools, processes, people, services, and other areas. 

In case IT is outsourced (fully or partially), contract is given to a vendor who is responsible for ITIL implementation. The vendor starts with first understanding what is it that you are presently following vis-à-vis what the ideal process should be. Based on these facts, a process is designed in a way so that it doesn’t disturb the customer much, while still maintaining the ITIL spirit. The vendor’s design should be such that it is optimum for it vis-a-vis the people, infrastructure, processes and also touches/interacts with the framework of the customer.

ITIL implementation

An ITIL implementation can be undertaken in different ways. It can be a big bang, where all the processes are deployed at once, or through a step-by-step process. Each customer is different and hence, the approach depends on the customer’s and organization’s needs.

As an ITIL implementation expert, I start with exploring the most problematic areas in an organization.  I try to find out the current issues, the kind of users available, the way people report to issues, whether the issues are logged or reported orally, and finally what happens to them.

The next step during an ITIL implementation is to find out the kind of tools or infrastructure available in an organization, whether those tools would be sufficient, or should new tools be recommended or implemented. One should evaluate if the organization’s IT has enough capacity to cater to the present service. Also, you need to plan for the organization’s future growth.

Stringent security and data recovery measures should also be planned. You may face glitches like system burn, losing valuable data, or someone hacking into your system. Hence, you should be equipped to tackle vulnerabilities or disasters that could strike your business.

Once all the information for an ITIL implementation has been collected, a gap analysis is done to study the organization’s competent areas and the areas where it lacks. Prepare a plan to address all the gaps. For instance, one of my clients had this practice of employees reporting incidents orally by walking up to the IT team. They were short of budget and so could not buy a new service desk tool. Hence, we prepared a small web page to capture the incidents or requests.

People training

After the ITIL implementation, the next most important step is people training. Training the people on the new way of working requires a lot of organizational changes, and may also lead to resentment. For instance, a lot of change management may be required when you tell people that they can’t orally complain to system administrators, but have to log in with a tool, the next time they have a complaint. Any successful implementation works only when people are consistent about it. We generally have follow up and audit sessions to see how the deployed processes are working and how people are adhering to them.

Also, things are documented into a service level agreement, where the customer negotiates with the ITIL implementation consultant on the various services he wants. Generally, after the ITIL implementation, we have a new initiative called the early life support for most clients, where we monitor the client for two to three weeks, to see if the employees are using the system effectively. If we find that people are not following it effectively, we inform the management.

About the author: Sharada Prasadita is the group head of ITIL Practice, a part of Mission Quality and Wipro Way at Wipro Technologies. Presently, she is helping three accounts in moving people and deploying processes to follow the ITIL V3 domain. She was responsible for an all ITIL service support and delivery processes implementation at a fortune 100 financial organization in Virginia in North America in the recent past.

 (As told to Anuradha Ramamirtham)

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