What does it mean when we talk about a goals cascade in ITIL® 4 Direct, Plan and Improve – and how can this enhance the work of service managers?
In fact, there are different ways to look at a cascade:
Here, the goals cascade comes from purpose (for example, why are we improving service performance?).
First, you divide the purpose into objectives, then define how to measure success, with metrics such as end-to-end availability of a service, plus data about incidents causing service non-availability. This classic approach helps people to understand key performance indicators (KPIs) in a broader context.
2. IT and business co-creation
This other classic approach is about relating the strategic goals of an organization to its tactical and operational goals.
For example, what services need to change if an organization wants to enter a new market? This might involve localization of services in different languages, having a service implementation plan and measuring availability. Though not new, this is now reflected in ITIL 4’s capacity management practice for example; importantly, it relates measurement to a concrete goal which adds value to the organization.
3. Balanced scorecard cascade:
The key element in this cascade is the “critical success factor” (CSF). It’s important because you can’t give someone a target without the means to realize it. For example, if a service desk KPI is acknowledging tickets within 30 minutes, the CSF is having sufficient people to meet that KPI.
ITIL 4 DPI – managing the goals cascade
The goals cascade in ITIL 4 DPI is there to explain how you manage these activities. This involves directing the efforts of people (the purpose), planning for each time you want to implement something and making improvements.
ITIL 4’s approach to goals cascade moves the conversation on by relating any goals in the organization to IT service goals.
The goals can cascade to any area in the ITIL 4 service value chain, therefore increasing their usability and scope.
But what value does this create in practice? It simplifies reporting of KPI results and relates them automatically to goals. People involved with the goals will have a clear picture of that relationship rather than measuring for the sake of measuring.
It also helps an organization’s governance by focusing on topics that add real value. For example, it provides a useful approach to understand compliance in an area such as GDPR –managing consent, the interface between systems and handling data – and, when necessary, reporting to regulatory authorities.
Creating customer-centric goals
Finally, the goals cascade in ITIL 4 DPI helps support a high level of collaboration between IT and the customer. This way, it’s clear whether or not the organization’s goals connect directly to the goals of an IT service provider.
ITIL 4 gives practitioners the ability to understand the goals cascade and increases their capacity to solve problems and add value.
Organizations should, therefore, be better equipped to know whether their IT service provider’s efforts and resources are focused on common goals and, above all, on what’s important to the customer.
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