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5 Steps To Achieving a Successful ITIL Assessment

You can use these steps to either get started with ITIL or improve your existing practices, writes ITSMWatch columnist Eric Spiegel of Suntiva.
Sep 9, 2010

Eric Spiegel

Let’s assume your IT department has the green light to pursue ITIL in order to streamline IT service processes, cut costs, improve customer satisfaction, etc. Or maybe you have ITIL practices in place but need to squeeze more productivity out of your IT processes.

Now what is the best way to go about this substantial undertaking without impacting your IT staff’s already daunting workload? Where do you start?

The most important place to start is with an assessment. Whether you are implementing ITIL for the first time or optimizing an existing ITIL implementation an assessment will be crucial to your success. But how can you be assured that the assessment will be accurate, cost effective and not just forgotten when the next firefight comes up?

Here are the five steps to achieving a successful ITIL assessment:

1. Decide and get internal agreement on your goals first, then go for executive sponsorship. Before you can decide how to get from here to there, you have to define what the “there” is. Don’t worry about the “here” yet, that’s the purpose of the assessment. Define the tangible and intangible benefits that can be attained by performing an assessment in order to gain executive sponsorship, not to mention eventual buy-in from the IT staff.

Start by defining what can be improved that will have a significant impact such as squeezing more productivity out of IT service processes, improving customer satisfaction, or simply cutting costs. Your primary goal should be to identify a few areas where your process maturity is weak yet have a high level of importance to meeting your business objectives. This way, impactful results are more attainable.

You can always go back for more resources to tackle additional improvements once you have a success under your belt.

Once all your goals are defined, sell a receptive executive sponsor on the assessment’s benefit to the organization. Build your case based on the hot buttons of the organization. If you know IT staff cuts are under consideration, then focus on how improved productivity may allow you to redeploy valuable resources.

2. Build or find an assessment survey methodology that involves two-way interaction. To identify the “here”, you will need to collect data. Many organizations make the mistake of simply giving the IT staff a survey to complete. This hands-off, one-way approach will not provide a true picture of your current IT processes because surveys are open to interpretation by the individual and can easily fall prey to myopic, personal agendas. Instead, to gain the maximum insight into process improvement targets with the biggest bang for the buck, use an approach that involves someone serving as a facilitator to gain insight, commentary and real feedback.

This collaborative approach to the assessment process can also be used to obtain additional “color” around the real state of the organization and the process (e.g. “