While my first exposure to ITIL® came almost 30 years ago – working in tech support for the American part of Glaxo – helping organizations adopt and adapt ITIL has been a cornerstone of my consultancy practice for 15 years.
In that time, I’ve seen ITIL help organizations establish coherent operational models and improve alignment across technical functional teams. For most enterprises, referencing best practice, proven in other organizations, makes it easier to get buy-in and commitment to adopt the framework.
For example, a recent consultancy project with the US military demonstrated that its operations are better prepared by having people certified in ITIL: with so many different vendors, consultants, employees and soldiers it’s literally mission critical for them all to speak the same language and be “on the same page”.
Making ITIL accessible
In my role as a trainer, equipping practitioners to build something using ITIL begins in the classroom; changing perspectives about IT from “technology” to a “facilitator of outcomes”.
As a parallel, people using electricity are interested in its availability for the device they want to power. They’re not interested in how the wiring and substation makes that happen. Equally, with IT service management, users care only about what technology enables them to accomplish.
In that way, ITIL gives practitioners the opportunity to reflect on why services are “moving the needle” for the customer. It makes them focus on how processes – change management for example – allows strategic alignment with IT that helps organizations achieve their goals, supports organizational governance and drives improvement activity.
This is a vital perspective to have for IT professionals: it’s less about what you’re doing but why you’re doing it.
Therefore, ITIL at Foundation level gives you a broad sense of how to design, build and improve services and understand that in the context of service delivery. At a more advanced level, ITIL offers guidance on adoption where organizations want to formalize process areas, create tool alignment with vendors, improve the quality of management information and ensure the right people are implementing the best practices.
ITIL and transformation
Ultimately, working in ITSM is about acknowledging that virtually every business process is underpinned by IT services; that means IT is a fundamental organizational capability capable of improving workflow and delivering value.
ITIL supports the entire notion of how the “service” element in service management is about what customers get and how they can perform as a result.
However, it’s important to understand that the processes within ITIL provide the means, not the end for enabling IT to create value across the enterprise as a whole. This is a shift in focus from the “T” in IT to the “I”; harnessing information to support the varied needs of an organization and its customers.
The dramatic change happening in organizations is based around the capabilities that new technology can deliver; but the key to success is based on who can harness technology change for competitive advantage.
So, ITIL continues to make IT organizations focus on service and supporting customer outcomes. This, and creating the right conversation between customers and service providers to facilitate digital transformation, is the ultimate point.
Building the future on ITIL
I’m not a fanatic about any one best practice framework – I believe in helping customers getting results – so I can see a future for ITIL speaking more explicitly to DevOps and Agile among other approaches.
Still, we use ITIL because it’s proven and IT organizations adopting its practices get a higher level of quality and consistency than those that don’t. For that reason, I continue to see value in the framework.
For more information, see our Built on ITIL pages.
Read more Blog Posts in the Built on ITIL series
Built on ITIL: putting a rocket under your career
Built on ITIL: a service management foundation for the future
Built on ITIL: ITIL – the tool that just keeps giving
Built on ITIL: digital transformation is an organizational challenge
Built on ITIL: taking ITSM to the next level
Read Patrick's previous blog posts for AXELOS
Developing the strategic project manager
Combining ITIL and PRINCE2 principles to achieve end-to-end value
PRINCE2® and PMBOK® – a meeting of project management minds?