Technology based services are everywhere. Some services may be simple compared to others. Whether simple or complex every service needs to be managed. They need to be planned, designed, built, tested, delivered, made available, maintained, validated and improved. The fact that ITIL is a framework allows it to scale. Large or small any organization can use ITIL best practice guidance to manage their technology-based services to ensure that they deliver the anticipated outcomes.
The scalable power of the ITIL framework in combination with the ITIL guiding principles allow the best practice guidance to be applied in any scenario.
The Power of the ITIL Framework
The ITIL framework provides a structure of best practice guidance to allow you to analyze, adjust and customize practices for your management of IT resources and infrastructure. The framework assists organizations to remain focused on providing value to customers in the form of services and building service relationships based on the co-creation of value for all of the stakeholders.
ITIL has recently evolved from V3 to V4 but it has remained a framework which is one of the keys to its value. What the framework actually does is that it provides guidance and “things to consider” in multiple practice areas as well as strategic considerations that can be applied to organizational structure, corporate culture and IT service governance. The ITIL framework is also scalable which makes it applicable to any size of organization providing service to their customers.
Let’s envision a company; we’ll call it WidgetX Inc. and let’s say that they manufacture a very popular product called the WEX2000. The company has a web site, every employee has an e-mail account and they have computers on every desk and printers throughout their offices. They also have sales tracking software, accounting software, product control applications and various other software products in use.
The folks at WidgetX Inc. have never heard of ITIL. Even though they haven’t heard of ITIL, they are already conducting activities that the guidance and the framework could help them with.
- When something fails or breaks, they fix it
- They are practicing Incident Management
- When that thing breaks again and again, yes they fix it again and again but when someone says “we need to figure out what’s wrong so that we can avoid these failures and having to keep fixing the same thing over and ever again”
- They are thinking about practicing Problem Management
- When someone says “that’s breaking more than it’s supposed to. It’s only supposed to fail 1 time out of 1000 not 7 times out of 1000”
- That would be called Availability Management thinking
The way that ITIL could help WidgetX is that it provides guidance and considerations for practice areas such as Incident Management, Problem Management, Availability Management and many other practice areas. Even though the folks at WidgetX have never heard of ITIL they are managing their IT services … but maybe ITIL could give them some guidance and additional things to consider that could help them improve how they manage their services.
What does Guidance mean?
The guidance and considerations are things to think about and evaluate and NOT lists of things that you MUST do. This is the power of the framework. Many times, they are recommendations with examples but you always have to consider how to do it in your organization. Consider managing an incident; how does the individual or team that is working to resolve an incident engage with the user(s) affected by the incident? There will be differences, from one organization to the next, in terms of how to do it but if each organization finds their own way to achieve the objectives then they will create their own practice which can be documented, replicated, measured, evaluated and improved.
Which ITIL version is right for me?
The ITIL framework has evolved and uses version numbers to describe its evolution but honestly, it’s not about using a particular version. It is about using the most effective guidance for your organization. Focus on the value and not on the version!
I am just a one-person organization – how can ITIL help me?
The ITIL framework and guidance is role based. You can follow the guidance in all of the different practice areas to ensure that you take actions to deliver the service to best meet your objectives. It’s like changing mindsets. First you can think about a topic with one mindset and then change your perspective to another mindset.
To go from your vision to actually delivering a service and creating value with your customers you will think through many different mindsets. You will strategize, plan, design, engage, build, deliver, run, change, support and improve your service.
These are all things that a one-person organization does as well as the largest companies in the world and these are exactly the types of activities that ITIL provides guidance for.
ITIL Covers so many areas, how can I make it all work?
There are 7 Guiding Principles for ITIL and they are as important as any other area of the guidance. They are simple, they are straight forward and they will help you manage your technology-based services.
ITIL Guiding Principles:
- Focus on value
- Start where you are
- Progress iteractively with feedback
- Collaborate and promote visibly
- Think and work holistically
- Keep it simple and practical
- Optimize and automate
About the Author
Jim Jackson is the Managing Director of Blue Sky AFC Associates LLC. Jim holds the ITIL Expert Certificate (V3) and has also completed ITIL 4 Foundations certification. Jim is a service management professional and has been an accredited instructor of ITIL Foundations since 2005. He has shared his open, non-restricted view of the ITIL framework as he has trained and assisted hundreds of candidates to prepare for and pass the ITIL Foundations examinations. Jim has also written accredited courseware for earlier versions of ITIL Foundations and he contributed to ITIL 4 accredited course materials for Thought Rock in 2019.
ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
Diagrams and images contained in this article have been created by Jim Jackson and remain the property of Blue Sky AFC Associates LLC, Copyright 2019.