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Author  Barclay Rae – ITSM consultant

June 10, 2016 |

 3 min read

  • Blog
  • Processes
  • Skills
  • ITIL

How do you know whether ITSM is delivering what a business and its customers need?

Some organizations decide to answer that question by measuring their IT Service Management (ITSM) maturity. This might be prompted because of a need to improve, or they’re investing in transformation or tools and need to do a benchmark exercise.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen people in well-established organizations measuring the activity of their ITSM frameworks and associated processes as an endgame in itself: this isn’t enough and is simply not the point.

There’s no purpose in doing a maturity assessment against processes when the central aim of ITSM is delivering business value. Business value considers the organization, its people, alignment with business goals, the extent to which governance and management are applied and whether it’s all delivering value.

IT organizations struggle to understand whether they’re achieving business value because of adopting the wrong approaches, a lack of effective measurement and meaningful metrics and an absence of understanding when it comes to organizational change management (OCM) and successful transformation.

Why is this? A lot of people in IT don’t understand what a service business really needs to do. Also, within the culture of IT, there has been a combination of technicality, character and conditioning which has led a lot of people in the industry to believe communication and relationship building is not what they do! In addition, frameworks such as ITIL have needed an additional layer to enable ITSM practitioners to get the greatest value out of the best practice guidance. Up to now, it’s been easy for organizations’ own ITSM practitioners to become disenchanted with improvement and change programmes, therefore relying on consultants to fill in the gaps.

Now, with the introduction of ITIL Practitioner, practitioners have been given a new focus – the capability to understand the important things they should be doing and to create meaningful and actionable maturity assessments.

So, what does that mean in practice?

  • Metrics and measurement: ITIL Practitioner helps identify what metrics are valid for customers and the business and is clear that they should be meaningful. Metrics should be less IT-focused, include customer satisfaction and look at outcomes and impacts of processes, rather than just measuring the processes.
  • Understanding OCM and communications: whatever ITSM practitioners do has to be considered from a holistic people and culture point of view. It’s about engagement.
  • The continual service improvement (CSI) approach: ITIL Practitioner turns the core ITIL guidance on its head by leading its approach with CSI. This is about identifying how to improve continually, how to plan and implement improvements and measure them.
  • Communications: this highlights the skills and awareness needed to achieve success with people in ITSM.

I have seen “light bulb moments” in organizations many times when I’ve had the opportunity to explain, tell a story and convey key ideas; for example, incident management is about speeding up resolution, SLAs should be about identifying what’s important to the customer.

ITIL Practitioner is designed to help those light bulb moments become normal and embedded within organizations.

See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.

Read more Axelos Blog Posts from Barlay Rae

Getting human to human in ITSM

Meaningful metrics in ITSM: it’s about the business (stupid)

Tackling the rise of bimodal IT and 'two-speed ITSM'

What should IT Leaders be focusing on in 2015?