Case study: How ITIL 4 helped Wipro deliver value
- Case Study
September 12, 2023 |
15 min read
- Case Study
When discussing the business landscape from 2020 to 2021, it is impossible to ignore the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a serious test of every organization’s business continuity, agility, and resilience. The pandemic exacerbated existing factors that had not been prioritized, but now had to be urgently managed.
However, some organizations were able to overcome these challenges and even increase growth during these uncertain times. This case study will explore how Wipro Limited, a leading global IT company, used ITIL® 4 to deliver greater value to the customer during the pandemic.
2. Wipro and its digital-first strategy
Wipro is a leading technology services and consulting company focused on building innovative solutions that address clients’ most complex digital transformation needs. Leveraging their holistic portfolio of capabilities in consulting, design, engineering, and operations, they help clients realize their boldest ambitions and build future-ready, sustainable businesses. With over 250,000 employees and business partners across 66 countries, Wipro delivers on the promise of helping customers, colleagues, and communities thrive in an everchanging world.
2.1 The four pillars of the digital-first approach
Wipro provides a range of services including digital strategy advisory, technology consulting, global infrastructure services, business process services, cloud, mobility and analytics services. In addition, the company offers custom application design, re-engineering and maintenance, systems integration, package implementation, research and development, and hardware and software design.
Wipro’s business strategy is about driving a digital-first approach via four pillars:
- business transformation
- connected intelligence
Wipro’s aim is to earn client trust and maximize the value of organizations, by helping them to reinvent their operational model using the four pillars.
3. The disruption caused by COVID-19 requires agility
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11th March 2020. This led to dramatic changes to the global society and economy, which required a robust response from organizations.
It is impossible to ignore the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing and underlying challenges were exacerbated, and new challenges were created. This was especially true of IT services, which directly affected Wipro and its clients.
In response, Wipro deployed a COVID-19 global crisis management task force in March 2020. The task force was chaired by the chief operating officer and consisted of several cross-functional teams, including business continuity, IT, and cybersecurity services. Most employees were asked to work from home with enhanced cybersecurity measures in place.
However, ensuring that Wipro maintained its operations continuity was not enough. The organization’s clients were also affected by the crisis, but in different ways. Wipro teams worked hard to support clients in their response to the pandemic. For example, as the COVID-19 lockdowns caused airlines to suspend flights worldwide, a large airport had to shut down international commercial air traffic while handling cargo planes containing essential supplies. In just 48 hours, Wipro enabled more than 800 airport employees to work from home with full access to business-critical applications and a suite of training resources for their remote work system.
Wipro has a strong business continuity plan framework that enabled the company to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with agility. Approximately 90% of the workforce transitioned to home working and continued to serve clients, delivering on several time critical milestones and processes.
3.1 Using ITIL 4 to meet COVID-19 challenges
Wipro has been using ITIL guidance for years to optimize the management of its IT services. In 2019, the company started a programme to leverage ITIL 4, combining them with existing best practices.
ITIL 4 includes practice guides for incident management, change enablement, problem management, continuity management, and risk management. This enables organizations to effectively manage operations and minimize risks at all levels.
Wipro partnered with Quint Consulting Services, a global consulting and training organization, to be one of the first adopters of ITIL 4 since its launch in March 2019. The entire team of ITSM members were certified in the new ITIL 4 modules along with the MP Transition modules to bridge the knowledge from the previous ITIL V3 to ITIL 4. While most of the IT service providers were still struggling to stabilize the older ITIL V3, Wipro was already developing its new methodology on the new ITIL 4 value-based service approach.
Wipro has used ITIL 4 to meet the challenges introduced (and further exacerbated by the pandemic), including:
- Transitioning to digital Organizations across multiple industries are transitioning to digital business models. In a digital ecosystem, collaboration will become a key element of business strategies.
- New ways of working The pandemic accelerated changes to established ways of working, which required a new approach. Consequently, home/hybrid working became the norm and was enabled by collaborative technologies.
- Adaptable, agile, and resilient enterprise Wipro evaluated their technology stack to ensure that they could be flexible and agile, and work with partners who could respond and adjust quickly to changing circumstances.
- Optimization and automation The compulsory implementation of social distancing accelerated automation.
4. How Wipro uses ITIL 4 to maintain its industry position
To overcome these challenges and encourage resilience, Wipro relies on its values, culture, and people, which enable the creation and delivery of products and services to meet the current and future needs of stakeholders.
4.1 The four dimensions of ITIL 4
Organizations and people
Human capital has enabled Wipro to successfully meet its strategic objectives and the challenges described above. Therefore, Wipro must ensure that its workforce can meet the demand for digital and domain-specific expertise in the post-pandemic world, while supporting other types of capital (such as intellectual, social, and relationship) with the relevant knowledge, skills, and culture.
For example, an organization’s talent strategy depends on scaling global, diverse, local, and distributed talent. This includes scaling: those with T-shaped, pi-shaped, comb-shaped, X-shaped, or E-shaped skill sets, project managers, programme managers, process managers, product managers, scrum masters, site reliability engineers, automation engineers, multi-cloud experts, and full stack engineers. These roles should combine creativity with a business and product-centric mindset, to effectively innovate and deliver services.
Yet, what do we mean when we say that a person has a T-shaped, pi-shaped, comb-shaped, X-shaped, or E-shaped skill set? These terms are used to describe the type of skills possessed by employees, with each line in the shape representing a particular type and breadth or depth of skill. For example, a T-shaped person has a depth of specialized skill(s) or expertise in a particular area(s), represented by the vertical line in ‘T’. The horizontal line in ‘T’ represents their breadth of general knowledge in other areas, which means that their knowledge is shallower and not at an expert level but encompasses a much broader range, than that represented by the vertical line.
A X-shaped employee possesses what is known as the executive skill set. They possess a depth of expertise, represented by one diagonal line in the ‘X’, and strong leadership skills, represented by the other diagonal line in the ‘X’. An employee with an E-shaped skill set possesses four characteristics, which are expertise, experience, execution, and exploration. They possess a depth of knowledge, represented by the vertical line, and a breadth of knowledge, represented by the horizontal lines.
An E-shaped employee has skills in execution (delivering products and/or services) and exploration (continual improvement), as well as expertise and experience.
To support the workforce and talent strategy, Wipro transformed its organizational structure to develop the required competencies in its talent. This included introducing new roles, such as leaders of talent engineering and skill family:
- talent engineering leaders are responsible for the end-to-end processes of the people supply chain, including demand forecasting, workforce management, training and competency building, and coordinating hiring decisions.
- skill family leaders are responsible for developing the skills of all internal employees with training and certification.
Information and technology
Leveraging the available information and transforming to the latest technology to enable smooth operations became challenging during the pandemic. Wipro adopted technology such as migrating the user profiles to cloud and usage of auto pilot mode for enabling support staff to operate from remote, usage of VPN and secure token, usage of collaboration tools (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex), and use of knowledge management to enable a process-centric approach.
Suppliers and partners
Collaboration with various suppliers was needed to enable the team to work from remote locations. When the pandemic started, Wipro decided to introduce a crisis management team and ensured business critical support engines continued as part of business continuity. However, remote working became the new normal. The team was able to work from home by collaborating with various suppliers. Wipro demonstrated trust by being transparent, ensured data security and meeting all customer expectations as trusted partners.
Value stream and process
The pandemic demanded a change in operations. Adoption of remote working culture, enabling effective usage of collaboration tools and information required changes to the ways of working and processes. Wipro was quick in adopting an Agile approach, introduced daily operational huddles to monitor, review and track IPC operations. Any critical request/concerns were added into a backlog or prioritized after discussing in a daily huddle. This has provided more confidence and increased trust on the ways of working and processes.
4.2 Practice: incident management
It is not enough to have the best people and products; they must also be supported by effective and efficient operations. For example, an important aspect of the successful and secure delivery of IT services is how it is maintained, supported, and changed.
Wipro utilizes the ITIL 4 incident management practice for more than 200 clients. Wipro controls the incident management process for their clients as an end-to-end owner/executor/integrator. Over 200 priority one incidents are logged every quarter for small to large accounts. More than 250 incident managers are deployed on these accounts.
Although the objective of incident management is to quickly restore services, Wipro utilizes the restoration of services to create business value by using ITIL 4 to:
- enhance levels of customer satisfaction by improving turnaround times
- ensure effective communication between Wipro stakeholders during an incident
- ensure effective resolution during incidents and demonstrate the value of ‘One Wipro’
- ensure a consistent approach and methodology for handling incidents
- learn from previous incidents and share the knowledge across other teams/customers within Wipro.
Wipro encourages its support teams to spend more time on proactive incidents analysis, rather than only reacting to problems as they arise.
Incident data is a valuable source of quantified information about what is failing and why. Every quarter, Wipro consolidates and analyses the high priority incidents. The results are then shared with the customers to avoid similar incidents. The analysis seeks to:
- establish relationships in the data (who, what, when, where, and what)
- uncover patterns (why are things happening and what does it mean?)
- determine the best improvement opportunities
- process the information to determine top categories by volume and top categories by customer impact (downtime, number of users impacted).
Wipro has utilized the results of the analysis to make improvements, such as improving turnaround times. Consequently, Wipro has adopted certain approaches. One such approach is to quickly identify the symptoms of the incident, which are then used to discover the likely causes, resulting in a significant reduction in incident recovery time.
Yet, the data from previous incident resolutions is only useful if it can be accessed by the right people when needed. This is why basic knowledge management is so important. Wipro has found that successful incident management also requires a two-pronged approach to resolving incidents. It includes the proactive analysis of incidents and resolutions, and creating a collection of authoritative knowledge articles that describe the incident and how it can be resolved.
Wipro has found it useful to implement deadlines to resolve major incidents in a timely manner to prevent further disruptions. Moreover, Wipro has realized that when there is little progress in incident management, a change in approach and engaging further expertise can result in vast improvements.
The incident management data can also be used to identify improvement opportunities for services and find solutions to business needs. For example, Wipro has used the data to answer the following questions:
- What new or changed services could improve customer engagement?
- Where and how could new technologies or services relieve pain points for customers?
- Are there areas where additional user training could help? Can the training cost be justified by an increase in user effectiveness and less time spent with the service desk?
- What features of services cause the most questions and frustrations to customers, and what could be changed to make it less confusing and frustrating?
- How are customers using services in unexpected/creative ways that might indicate improvement opportunities?
- What workarounds are customers using to compensate for shortcomings in services?
- Where and how could a customer group benefit from leveraging what other customer groups are doing?
4.3 Practice: problem management
Wipro has implemented the problem management practice to great success, including greater customer satisfaction. For example, Wipro has adopted a centralized tracking system to help identify issues and to eliminate repeat issues at an organizational level.
Wipro has implemented the reactive, proactive, and predictive approach to problems. This has improved the effectiveness of the practice, permanently resolved certain problems, and avoided future problems.
The reactive approach
The fix for the service disruption is performed by technical expert consultants, who are not involved in the day-to-day work of that particular client. The solution must be effective to avoid repeat occurrences.
Successful solutions are documented, with a 98% to 100% document submission rate. The documents, alongside the work of technical expert consultants, has improved the level of customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, failure can also be a learning opportunity. Every year, documents from failed actions are consolidated and analysed to prevent similar failures.
As a result, there has been a 10% to 15% year-on-year reduction in service disruption despite the growth in the number of clients.
The proactive approach
Wipro decided to review its technology to reduce repeat problems. As a result, automation tools were deployed for certain clients. This led to a reduction in tickets and prevented human error and major incidents.
The use of bots also led to an annual reduction of 20% to 30% in time that employees would have otherwise spent in resolving the issue, as well as a 20% to 60% reduction of low priority incidents.
The predictive approach
Wipro analysed the configuration items to predict and prevent problems from ever arising in the first place. Various tools and prediction techniques were used, such as Densify and vROps.
4.4 Practice: change enablement
Wipro has successfully implemented the change enablement practice, previously called change management, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and an industry-leading success rate.
Effective change enablement is one of Wipro’s key priorities. Wipro implemented the change enablement practice for more than 150 of its managed services clients by acting as an end-to-end owner. This process was supported by over 200 change managers, who were deployed in accounts to manage the change process, governance, and control. More than 180,000 changes were executed within a year for cloud and infrastructure services, and over 1,900 of those changes were critical and categorized as high risk and high impact.
Wipro implemented the centralized critical change review and governance board to ensure that complex changes are planned, reviewed, and implemented with little or no impact on the customer. All changes are reviewed and approved by technology experts. This process has been in operation for five years now, leading to a higher success rate and minimizing disruptions to services.
To ensure that the change enablement is consistent and effective across Wipro, several initiatives were implemented. This includes designing a standardized change process with integrated tools at the account level. The customer was also involved in the change approval process.
Change types and the lead time were defined according to the customer business need. Wipro also implemented centralized change key performance indicators (KPIs) for all managed services clients and a postimplementation review (PIR) for unsuccessful changes. This was to avoid the recurrence of the same issues. Moreover, guidelines were established for the change review part of the technical assessment board and change advisory board (CAB) reviews. The guidelines were made available, along with other templates and example documents in a central pool, which includes a risk/impact assessment, freeze communications, change review guideline, templates, and so on.
Change managers were instrumental in implementing change enablement activities and in training staff in the new processes and continual service improvement (CSI) initiative for the process area.
The result of this work was clear; Wipro’s change enablement practice significantly exceeds the industry average as per a benchmarking assessment conducted by Pink Elephant EMEA during 2018 to 2019.
Parameter references as follows.
Change benchmarking parameter
AVG - best in class
Volume of change records implemented in a month
Percentage of emergency changes
Percentage of successful change >=
Changes implemented within agreed time window
5. Benefits to customers
Strong governance and operationalization of ITSM best practices enabled customers to respond to business-critical events quickly and reduce MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) and MTTR (Mean Time to Resolve). This enabled root cause identification and elimination of repeated issues, strengthened change reviews leading to higher change success, process standardization and sharing best practices. This benefited multiple customer businesses with improved user experience, and resilience and reliability in IT infrastructure and services.
Wipro has successfully used ITIL 4 to address social, technological, and economic challenges, helping its clients transform their organizations. Wipro has transformed internally to develop and maintain a scalable, highly competent, and continually developing global workforce. The organization has successfully implemented the incident management practice, the problem management practice, and change enablement practice to deliver cost and time savings, as well as improving customer satisfaction.
7. Further reading
- Pratibha Ramesh, group head, Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Jigna Bhatt, head-IT service management, Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Ramanadha Kunda – delivery head, Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Yathiraja Prabhu – program manager, Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Soumya Acharya - senior project manager, Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Sunil Kumar N – global head, customer onboarding - IT service mgmt., Wipro FullStride Cloud, Wipro Limited
- Sandeep Gondhalekar, lead ITSM consultant, Quint Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd.
- Sunil Mehta, director - India, Middle East & Africa, Quint Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd.