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ITSM - From Theory To Reality

Sep 6, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff

By Michael Cardinal

Next Steps

In order to turn the IT Service Management best practices into an implemented reality, IT professionals and management must take action. Here are some simple action steps to get started or to move forward:
  • Educate yourself on ITIL and IT Service Management theories and ideas (formal or informal)
  • Adopt and adapt the basic flows from the ITIL Service Support and Service Delivery books (or even the ITSMF pocket guides)
  • Find a "practical process coach" or mentor to help coach and guide you during implementation
  • Compare current state to theory
  • Find your pain points and gaps between theory and current state
  • Apply your basic flows and processes to tackle those points
  • Measure the impact
  • Gather lessons learned
  • Adjust your direction to follow your ever-moving quality and customer targets
  • Implement process improvement
  • Repeat cycle as necessary
Remember that Service Management is one place where the old adage "Keep It Simple Sweetheart" clearly applies. Rather than getting bogged down by "analysis paralysis" or "how to get started" issues, adopt the basic flows and suggestions straight from the books.

Adapt them over time based on your individual situation and lessons learned from your basic effort. Train the people providing the services to make Service Management a natural and an intuitive part of their everyday work. Be flexible in your approach and attitude towards change.

Talk the talk; walk the walk; learn, love and live Service Management as part of your everyday world. Slowly but surely you will implement a workable solution that stays true to best practices, but also meets your individualized needs.

The Service Management best practices were never meant to be prescriptive. However, this should not be confused with being unable to implement the theory "as written." The real difficulty of implementing the suggestions provided in the ITIL books comes in convincing critics and resisters that implementing the theory of ITIL can be done.

By remaining true to the terminology and the basic process suggestions as presented, and by taking action to start using the processes, an organization can, in a sense, "implement ITIL" (albeit maybe a simplified version of the best practices).

Implementing the IT service Management best practices as outlined in the ITIL books requires work, sacrifice and cost in both money and time. More importantly Service Management requires a new way of thinking and acting that is focused on the needs of the customer and the promises you make to them as an organization.

Adoption of the framework is definitely more of a cultural, organizational and behavioral model than a process or tool implementation effort. The processes and tools are the easy part. Most organizations will find they are already doing many of the best practices, just using different terms for them. Getting people to take action, and changing the way they think and behave will always be the more difficult parts of implementing Service Management.

Michael Cardinal is a Business Analyst at a large Midwestern insurance and financial services firm. He has been involved with Service Management for nearly 6 years, with a focus on Service Level Management and increasing the understanding of the overall framework of IT Service Management best practices at the local and national level.

Michael uses his experience in IT, education and other industries to help increase learning and understanding of IT Service Management. He is currently a Local Interest Group officer for the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) and served on the conference committee for the 2004 ITSMF Conference and Expo.