ITIL® can help companies improve effectiveness, efficiency and cost effectiveness by developing reliable data and consistent delivery, processes and tools.
But when it comes to demonstrating the difference ITIL is making, and especially when the interpretation of value and effectiveness will be different for every organization, where do you start?
Focusing on the right things
Before you can show the value and effectivess of ITIL, you’ve got to be doing it effectively. So, target your efforts on the things that matter. For instance, if you’ve got a service desk that’s working well, don’t change it. Instead, focus on the areas where pain is being felt and strengthen those areas first, making sure to benchmark before you begin, and measure along the way.
Second, establish the right measures and don’t create measures if you can’t track them. Just because ITIL suggests you should measure something, it doesn’t mean those things are important to your organization. Also make sure you have the data to measure those things: it’s important to adopt and adapt.
At this early stage, it’s also important to develop some trends before you make a change. Then you can show the value and measure the improvements over time.
Think about all stakeholders
To prove the difference that ITIL is making within your organization, it’s important to consider how you’re measuring performance at an organizational strategic, business tactical and operational/transactional level and how you communicate performance within the organization.
There are three key types of measurement to ensure a balanced view:
- Economy: cost of resources and inputs
- Efficiency: how well processes are performing
- Effectiveness: how well the process contributes to organizational goals.
Operationally start at the transactional and administrative activities within the service desk, these are the everyday activities the keep the lights on so to speak. Here, ITIL can help by identifying where improvements can be made to improve transactional performance.
Teams – whether IT or HR – can use ITIL to create models and recognize trends that will enable operations to standardize and establish a repeatable service of consistent quality and cost, designed to effectively underpin business and organizational goals.
With IT increasingly viewed as a service rather than a cost centre, adding and demonstrating value in this way is especially key as customers become more discerning and their expectations expand and grow.
For middle and senior management, teams need to understand whole departments, report successes up to a senior level, contribute to wider strategy, and pinpoint how IT services are helping to deliver strategic objectives. This is about communicating how IT is improving efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness.
The value and effectiveness of ITIL is also relative, and that’s something that practitioners must think about when developing measures and KPIs. What are the customer’s expectations? What position are they starting from and where do they want to get to? These are key things that must be established at the start of the journey to show value.
I see this process like a train, and the way the expectation of train services varies from country to country. In Hong Kong expectations are very high, whereas in Melbourne getting a seat is determined as success! Make sure you know what quality of ‘train’ the customer is expecting to turn up at the ‘platform’.
This goes back to service design and making sure you understand your customers’ needs and are working in collaboration.
Why it’s important to prove value
It’s important to explain why you’re doing a good job and the difference you’re making.
I previously worked with a business that, at a medium level of ITIL maturity, was making good ground. It had a team of service managers making good progress in problem management and starting to look at more complex areas like configuration management. Then the CIO changed.
The new CIO came into the business, met and asked the team for reports and to explain what they were doing. The service managers couldn’t effectively articulate or prove the value they were adding and the CIO got rid of them. It was at this point I came into the business and, by looking at things objectively, could see where it had gone wrong.
This is a great example of why it’s important to understand the difference you are making to a business, how you’re adding value to the core objectives and how you communicate it effectively.
Ultimately, to prove the value and effectiveness of ITIL, ensure your efforts are aligned to strategic objectives, make sure you are measuring things that are meaningful and important to your stakeholders and your reporting clearly shows how you’re adding value and/or solving a problem.
See our video case study with LV to see how this organization continually demonstrates the value of ITIL to the business.
Read Charlotte's previous AXELOS Blog Posts
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The modern service desk