An international brewery company I work with is, in fact, two companies: a producer and a distributor of products to the hospitality sector.
The company’s operations were forced to close from mid-March and relocate staff to work from home. So how did it respond to the lockdown situation – and how have the principles from ITIL® 4 Specialist’s Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV), in particular using the "engage" step of the customer journey, been useful?
Having staff working from home had a dramatic impact on the company’s information systems.
They had to adapt their network capacity tools to allow for increased home working. This meant that the company needed to ensure any technical solution could match the demand with the network capacity. In the end, the company adopted a software product, Z Scaler, from proof of concept to implementation very rapidly.
Evolution of the information systems
Using the concepts from ITIL 4 DSV, the business introduced a systematic business case view of IT requirements. This was a new approach within the company for managing IT changes that were not part of a large project.
Therefore, we created a Covid-19 form for users who wanted to make change requests. This had to define a classic business case, including:
- The reason for the change (allowed only if it was related to a legal requirement, business continuity or a specific business need linked to Covid-19)
- The impact of the change – what the cost/deadline would be and the return on investment
- Business case approval for change enablement.
This became an excellent approach for organizational change management; ensuring people didn’t take change requests for granted at a time of limited budget. In fact, without a business case, no change proposal was considered.
With teams forced to work from home, this presented an issue regarding documentation. For example, it was difficult to get transition plans updated because of a lack of formal records of what had been discussed. And if external consultants were involved, there was potentially no service owner and nobody accountable for documentation.
Here, ITIL 4 proved helpful again by ensuring there was documentation for the solution design and business processes. In the case of remote working, even greater discipline was needed to document discussions.
As a result, for each change with an approved business case, someone in the team became responsible for updating the documentation. This meant change requests could proceed with a normal change enablement process.
ITIL 4 DSV – a structured approach
ITIL 4’s DSV guidance has been a good way to structure the approach to the company’s service management challenges in lockdown: knowing when to use a business case to prioritize projects with limited budgets; analyzing demand versus capacity and adjusting as necessary; encouraging communication and collaboration between business and IT, based on documented agreements, e.g. service design packages.
This helps define the opportunities, i.e. what a service provider can offer and makes ITIL 4 DSV a really up-to-date solution for the way organizations work and are managed, both in general and in the middle of a global pandemic.
The experience of lockdown has created greater understanding within the company of the IT department’s importance.
Thanks to IT, the company’s staff could continue to operate with the help of digital technology; and this resulted in only 1% loss of productivity.
Now, with the hospitality industry re-opening, there is increased demand for digital payment solutions in the restaurants and bars that the company works with. Consequently, it is turning again to IT and its technical solutions to support this.