ITIL® Practitioner: Tackling the challenges of Service Strategy

ITIL® Practitioner: Tackling the challenges of Service Strategy

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.

Mauricio CoronaUnfortunately, 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

Current rating: 4.7 (3 ratings)


6 Apr 2016 ianclayton
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Strategy, value and the service experience are intrinsically linked. Satisfaction is forged out a combination of outcomes, and the experience - to name two components. Satisfaction drives the perception of value.

The service experience part (customer experience or CX) is changing. Today’s most successful service providers are have moved the survey/score philosophy to viewing CX as an integrated, cultural driver of change. Change in internal workforce habits and change in customer expectations.

They design it and position it within products and services where key interactions occur - moments of truth.

This is where strategy is being defined - at the nano or micro level, and rolled up and blended into an overarching strategy. Outside-in, bottom up.

I for one am so pleased to see the guiding principles and looking forward to the practitioner enabling this type of conversation.
6 Apr 2016 Public Anonymous User
Mauricio - I forgot - your BRM comment is especially important given the recent standing up the BRM Institute and their learning. I would urge anyone adding or enhancing such a functional responsibility, to seriously consider incorporating proven 'outside-in' education. It contains a number of key concepts and methods - such as shadowing, service safari, consumer journey and scenario cataloging, and how to unpack, inspect and improve a service experience design....
8 Apr 2016 Doug Tedder
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Mauricio's comments regarding strategy are spot-on. It seems that this idea about having a "strategy" and how a service management implementation supports or enables that strategy is something that frequently evades both the practitioner and the executive.

Perhaps the guiding principles introduced in the ITIL Practitioner guidance can enable this conversation, and I think Mauricio has identified the key principles involved for having such a discussion.

In addition to the artefacts mentioned, the Practitioner guidance also provides what I would consider a great tool that can be adapted to help practitioners ask the right questions regarding value and how it will be measured. Have a look at the Organization Cascade. While it is presented as a way to ensure alignment of performance measures and improvement plans, it can also be used to ask the level above you the following questions:
* What is considered "value" to the company from your perspective?
* How are you measuring that value?
* How is what your measuring aligned to the level above you?
* How can I or what can I do to contribute to realizing that value?
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ITIL Practitioner Guidance

ITIL® Practitioner Guide

The ITIL Practitioner Guidance accompanies the qualification and provides a practical guide to putting ITIL theory into practice.

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