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Positioning ITIL for Success

Aug 6, 2007

Glen Willis

9. Prepare to Respond to Fortuitous Opportunities

An honest organization that has achieved positive results from an ITIL initiative will tell you that a part of their success can be attributed to serendipity. Preparing to recognize and respond to these opportunities will position you to take advantage of them.

For example, few organizations realize the valuable opportunity that exists when automating a process (beyond the general efficiencies that we associate with process automation). Any time you properly automate a process, you are forced to refine that process and to rigorously test its repeatability. Don’t get frustrated with process redesign work in this phase. Rather, see it for what it is: a golden opportunity for improvement.

Other opportunities might be an IT director looking for a solution to a problem that just happens to afford you the opportunity to pilot a process concept in the organization. It might be an IT executive that wants a more relevant dashboard, or a line of business demanding improvement in a specific IT service. The important thing is to prepare the program to recognize and seize these opportunities that can result in increased program momentum.

10. Don’t Forget About Your Vendors

Many organization's make the mistake of not accounting for their vendors within their ITIL initiative. Undoubtedly, considering this up front makes the thought of the initiative intensely more daunting. However, we are convinced the ITIL initiatives that realize the most benefit are those that include their vendors within their processes; if not making IT vendor management the centerpiece of their service management program.

If you are like many others in finding this concept overwhelming, we encourage you to take a step back and to recognize how competitive the vendor landscape has become over the last few years. Many IT vendors are trying to demonstrate their capabilities of succeeding and adding value to their customer base in the new era of increased regulatory pressure, a continued move to more multi-sourced IT models, and increased dependencies on third party relationships. You might be surprised at the way your IT vendors respond if you approach them about making some changes in the way in which they interact with you. The benefits can be powerful.


The key to success is in the soft side of the program. Most ITIL implementation failures can be attributed to too large of a focus on the hard side of the program. Program documentation such as project plans and roadmaps focus almost exclusively on the hard deliverables like process designs and documentation.

Instead you should concentrate on building programs that have a realistic appraisal of the organization’s ability to manage change. You also need to understand the level of support you have from the organization as a whole and your executives, all the while focusing on measuring real business value linked to the organization’s strategic goals.

Using these ten tips is a great way to start focusing more on the softer side of your program and positioning it for long-term success.

Glen Willis is a consultant in PA Consulting Group's IT Consulting practice. Glen has more than 10 years experience as an IT professional and IT manager having worked in the retail, telecommunications, and transportation sectors.