Combining ITIL 4 practices and data driven innovation for improvement

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How can data driven innovation (DDI) and ITIL® 4 management practices work together to solve business problems and create value?

DDI is a way of analyzing company data to help identify solutions to problems that are otherwise hidden. For example, it could involve understanding the data behind outbound marketing messages and adapting them to resonate better with an audience.

While DDI more often taps into business data it rarely looks at IT service management information, such as incidents, changes or service request.

However, a recent research paper about DDI processes from the University of Borås in Sweden shows the potential of using ITSM data and processes along with a structured DDI process.

Mapping an incident with ITIL 4 incident management practice

By inventing a fictitious incident, we used incident management to see what data and innovations arose when combining it with DDI. The incident involves a teacher who calls the IT service desk because it’s not possible to access the classroom software needed to run a lecture.

Using ITIL 4’s incident management practice – and with DDI in mind – we mapped its processes as follows:

  1. Diagnosis – while incident management looks at solving the incident, we combine it with DDI to collect data that supports the DDI problem definition.
     
  2. Finding a root cause – from an ITIL perspective, this brings in the need for several practices, including problem management, to drive innovation.
  1. Implementation of innovation – requires the ITIL change management practice.

Therefore, we found that the DDI process actually maps to at least three or four ITIL 4 management practices – and the service value system (SVS) maps to the DDI process on a holistic level:

  • Processes are often triggered by a problem (a need)
  • DDI often defines some principles and it has a strategic element that maps to governance in the SVS
  • Activities in a DDI process are not the same for each problem/innovation need. Therefore, it could be seen as a dynamic, iterative “value chain” combining several other processes, capabilities and activities (ITIL practices)
  • Co-creation of value is equally critical to DDI processes and service management
  • Feedback exists in both approaches.

Connecting service management innovation with business innovation

This exercise in mapping ITIL 4 management practices to DDI or an improvement initiative confirms there are certain, important steps:

This way, throughout the DDI process, we can look at it from a service perspective and the co-creation of value.

An important lesson learned through this project is that organizations might sometimes overlook service management practices and data, which limits or constrains innovation.

However, if DDI processes and ITIL 4 practices are combined, this creates a common approach to connect innovation happening in service management and across the rest of the business. This could actually be done within the service value system, where the DDI process is considered a “practice” too.

There is clearly an opportunity to use the data generated from IT service management to support innovation initiatives. And the management practices established in ITIL 4 provide the necessary resources to make it happen.

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