Although an integral part of the ITIL® Service Lifecycle, Service Strategy is probably the element most IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals are least comfortable using. In fact, even the word ‘strategy’ can strike fear into some IT professionals as, quite simply, they don’t know what a strategy really is.
Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve found that this lack of understanding is also present higher up in organizations. When asked about their strategy for the next 12 months, some CIOs, CTOs or even CEOs are unclear on what and why they’re doing something. If you then consider that 100 per cent of business processes rely directly or indirectly on technology, companies are leaving themselves open to a huge risk.
By not having a strategy in place, IT teams will simply focus on the day-to-day tasks and won’t have a fundamental understanding of what the business and each different department really needs.
Putting principles into practice
Following the launch of ITIL Practitioner, ITSM professionals can now get best practice guidance on using each element of the Service Lifecycle to its full potential, including Service Strategy.
In particular, four of ITIL Practitioner’s guiding principles are especially helpful starting points for Service Strategy development.
- Focus on value: understanding the value of a service is essential in delivering a customer-orientated approach. When developing a Service Strategy, ITSM professionals must know what they’re being measured on and why
- Start where you are: current demand management is often the simplest and most tangible place for ITSM professionals to begin. Teams should understand how the company behaves now and what it needs
- Observe directly: IT teams need to explore outcomes and always check they are delivering what they set out to achieve in the first place
- Keep it simple: for me, this is the master principle. Strategies can seem very scary to IT professionals as they’re often too complex and unfathomable.
Alongside the guiding principles, ITIL Practitioner also provides ITSM professionals with a wealth of practical resources. These include guidance on balanced scorecards, a roadmap to assist teams with stakeholder communications and a full worksheet on KPIs to help create clear measures of success.
While ITIL Practitioner doesn’t – and shouldn’t – give professionals all the information, it provides them with the best practice guidance that they can adopt and adapt for their organisation and use to develop a robust Service Strategy.
I’d also suggest that any strategy is complemented by a Business Relationships Management structure so that even when things go wrong, IT teams can still achieve customer satisfaction.
The benefits of a Service Strategy
Creating and working to a Service Strategy can feel daunting, yet when it’s in place, the benefits are far reaching.
For customers and businesses, ineffective IT services can inhibit productivity and growth; yet when IT departments are aligned with the business strategy, companies have lower risks and can thrive. Adding value to a business like this brings enormous rewards to ITSM teams too, creating fulfilled and happy staff who feel appreciated for their work and can do their job more effectively.
For more information, see our Service Strategy and ITIL Practitioner sections and see our ITIL Practitioner Global Summit webinars page to watch all of the sessions from the event.
More blog and webinar content from our ITIL Practitioner Global Summit
ITIL Practitioner: Ensuring projects are delivered with greater collaboration
Using ITIL Practitioner across a range of IT job roles
ITSM challenges – the benefits of good training