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Author  Akshay Anand – ITSM Product Ambassador

May 31, 2018 |

 5 min read

  • Blog
  • Change management
  • Digital transformation
  • Stakeholder management
  • ITIL

In a recent webinar hosted by New Horizons, AXELOS’ ITSM Product Ambassador, Akshay Anand, shared his thoughts about one buzzword of the moment, digital transformation:

What is digital transformation, how are companies going about accomplishing it and what does that mean for ITSM?

Like blind men examining and trying to describe an elephant, everybody has a different definition of digital transformation: could it be another rebranding of enterprise service management or extending the service mind-set beyond IT as a service provider?

Some possible descriptions are:

  1. Transforming customer experience across mobile and social media channels for greater customer engagement and helping them learn more about products and services.
  2. Transforming the “back-end” of IT to automate repeatable processes.
  3. Transforming both front and back-end to create an “end to end” engagement with customers; learning more about them, automating and managing the variability of value delivery.

This means the digitalization of the customer experience that, in turn, reconfigures the organization’s resources but also the digitization of resources to change the customer experience. Combining the two requires holistic thinking and delivering agility.

But what’s the point for an organization?

  1. Accelerating to the right speed to deliver new functionality, recover from outage, having responsiveness to market shifts and moving the business, IT, infrastructure and applications together.
  2. Managing value outcomes, costs and risks:
    Delivering value through services by supporting customer experience plus employee morale; adding value to partners and suppliers; satisfying regulators and trade agencies and balancing speed vs risk.
  3. Putting customers first:
    Creating a modern, end-to-end customer experience – the journey from where they enter to where they exit.

The role of ITIL® in digital transformation

Best practice guidance such as ITIL is there to guide organizations rather than compelling them to do something in a prescribed way. Yes, there are times when things need to be more prescriptive but – at other times – it’s necessary to be less focused on specific processes and procedures but to adopt and adapt at the right level.

It’s about understanding and achieving the goal/objective of each process area, so the ITIL guidance focuses on the basic things that need to happen while not offering an implementation guide.

Instead, ITIL helps organizations to:

  • Change the way they design and operate services
  • Communicate with and manage expectations of multiple stakeholders
  • Measure and improve the right things
  • Put in place a system that continually improves.

Perhaps the most important element about ITIL is the continual improvement focus; changing for the better how people behave, manage services, customers, processes and stakeholders.

ITIL Practitioner – enabling transformation

The ITIL Practitioner guidance and certification specifically talks about organizational change management, communication and stakeholder management; identifying the right metrics and continual improvement – in effect, everything that needs to happen to deliver value through ITSM, aside from the processes.

Indeed, ITIL Practitioner’s 9 Guiding Principles lend themselves to transformation initiatives. For example, Design for experience places the focus on all stakeholders, not just customers; Start where you are means not “throwing out the baby with bath water” by identifying what’s valuable and focusing on things that aren’t working.

Taking small steps rather than “big bang” approaches – enshrined in Progress iteratively – is an approach that resonates with agile practitioners while to Observe directly encourages you to see first-hand how people are using a service rather than relying on reports or second hand accounts. And, if you Keep it simple, you’re not needlessly complicating things.