If you had to choose between following an agreed IT Service Management (ITSM) process, or focusing on value, what would you do?
When assessing the Major Incident Management process for one of my customers, I recognized that while the process was well established and defined at each stage, the end user experience wasn’t meeting expectations.
In particular, the time from an incident occurring to a service being restored was taking too long. As well as being frustrating for the end user, this delay was costing the business in lost time, lost production and ultimately, the real value that Major Incident Management should produce (quicker restoration of service) was missing.
After a thorough walk-through of each step of the Major Incident Management process with its practitioners and process designers, we realized that the main issue was a lack of agility in process steps. By being entirely reliant on manual and cumbersome procedures, identifying the issue alone could take up to 15 minutes.
To make the process leaner, I worked with the process designers to evaluate each stage and, where possible, automate actions. Through this approach, and by removing unnecessary steps, we have now brought incident diagnosis to an average of just seven minutes, thereby reducing service restoration time.
End users were initially resistant to moving away from the company’s previous process, with some having concerns about changing habitual procedures. However, when the same stakeholders saw the positive impact of this new way of working and how quickly services could be restored, these worries soon subsided.
Through this faster process, the company has achieved a financial saving by reducing loss in production time. As well as being beneficial for the business, this tangible change clearly shows the value that a consultant like me is bringing to the organization.
Finding the balance
While processes are important in standardizing ways of working, organizations should not follow them blindly. When a process is designed, its developers must remember the ultimate goal and what the business is trying to achieve: ultimately, they must focus on value. Then, when in place, IT service providers must continually measure against the agreed goal to determine whether the process is helping achieve the objective. By focusing on the end goal – or value – and using processes as a framework to get there, then IT professionals can create the perfect balance between process and value.
See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.
Read more blogs about ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles in action
ITIL® Practitioner Guiding Principles in action: Start Where You Are
ITIL® Practitioner guiding principles in action: Working Iteratively