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Ten Tips for Successfully Implementing ITIL

To succeed on the implementation journey, your roadmap and plan need to be realistic, achievable and grounded in practical experience, write ITSM Watch guest columnists Isabel Wells, Derek Lonsdale, and Anthea Jeffcoat of PA Consulting.
Apr 2, 2008

Isabel Wells


Organizations are making significant investments in increasingly complex IT infrastructure and application services. In 2003 the average IT spend for a Fortune 500 company was $353 million.


In order to realize the value of the IT investments being made, organizations should look to improve the maturity of their service management processes. The management and control of the IT infrastructure is a critical function and improved service delivery and service support processes will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of operational delivery.


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a widely accepted industry framework which adopts a process driven approach to developing operationally excellent IT service support and service delivery processes.


The benefits of implementing globally consistent, ITIL-based processes include:


·  Improved availability, reliability and security of IT services.

·  Increased IT project delivery efficiencies.

·  Reduced TCO of IT infrastructure assets and IT applications.

·  Improved resource utilization including decreased levels of rework and elimination of redundant activities.

·  Provisioning of services that meet business, customer and user demands, with justifiable costs of service quality.

·  More effective and better third-party relationships and contracts.


Since the ITIL framework only provides the necessary guidance on process structure, many CIOs are not seeing the improvements they expected—despite heavy investment in ITIL. ITIL deployment should be set within the context of a business or IT change program and as such, is more than a simple set of processes that can be rolled out and uncompromisingly followed.


Any IT change program will encompass organizational, process and technology elements. Drawing from PA’s experience in these areas, we have pulled together ten tips CIOs and program directors can use to approach effective ITIL implementation with confidence.




Approach ITIL implementation as part of the IT-wide strategy, and use it to guide all other strategic initiatives.


ITIL process implementation has significant IT-wide impacts; it is not an isolated initiative. To avoid both resource and programming constraints, implementation must be aligned with other global and regional programs, IT initiatives and sourcing or supplier initiatives.


A portfolio management approach should be taken to understand the alignment and priorities of all initiatives in addition to the overall benefits to the organization.


Consider the post-ITIL organization before completing the process design.


Introducing ITIL-based processes generates requirements for new functions and roles, which could impact the current service management structure. Prior to completing process design, understand the roles and functions required to support the processes; giving specific consideration to the supplier/internal resource split.


Consideration must also be given to the governance structure needed to guide and support the new IT organization. Establishing a transformation program ensures that the structure from which to hang ITIL is secured and operational prior to process implementation.


Engage, engage, engage. Continuous communication is required at all levels of the organization.


Implementing ITIL impacts the full spectrum of the organization’s employees. Because of this, it is critical to understand the impact at each level within the organization and the value each brings to the program.


Subsequently, engagement, communications and training are absolutely key to success; from the initial engagement of senior stakeholders to the manager-level ITIL training of new global process owners.


Set realistic expectations about benefits realization and establish a baseline from which to monitor improvements.


Change within any organization takes time to be accepted and implementing ITIL is no different. Implementation of ITIL focuses on improving customer service and as the processes mature the subsequent ROI will be recognized.



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