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7 Common Mistakes When Adopting ITIL®

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ITIL® is a set of widely accepted best practices for approaching IT Service Management (ITSM). Drawn from both the public and private sectors, it focuses on aligning IT services with business needs.

ITIL® is a flexible framework that should be adapted to an organisation and adopted for business needs rather than the business being forced to align itself with the service provider organisation. It is a common error when trying to implement ITIL® into an organisation for adopters to make mistakes on how the framework should be used, as the concept is often not completely understood, and there is also a misunderstanding with regards to the scale to which it will improve IT services and support.

It is worth repeating: ITIL® is a framework of best practices. ITIL® is not a standard to be measured. It does not mean much to say an organisation or a tool is “ITIL®-compliant,” as ITIL® is merely a collection of guidelines. It is all about identifying what works for your organisation and customising ITIL® to meet your needs. This will depend on your customers and what needs to be done to support them in achieving their desired outcomes. Keep them informed and happy by adding value to the organisation via the practices, products, and services offered. ITIL® is not a utopia, but it is an approach to get to your vision. It is important that all stakeholders are fully onboard with what you are trying to achieve with the framework.

1. Highly Process Driven

Professionals who complete ITIL® Foundation training have a desire to start implementing the framework end-to-end immediately. In this attempt, they will normally set up separate groups for managing incidents, problems as well as changes that occur in a project.

However, this step is totally counter-productive with respect to IT Service Management concepts. Hence, newly certified professionals should comprehend the fact that not all practices require a dedicated team. Practices are just a collection of people, processes, and tools (like a law practice, or dental practice, etc.). and many practices (such as service requests) can be handled with the help of a single resource who can perform multiple activities.

(Click here if you want to find out more about our service request management training course).

2. Certified And All Set For Shouldering The Responsibilities

ITIL® certification is not all that you need for being successful in ITSM. The service value system and service value chain concepts learned by a candidate in an ITIL® Foundation training course are just a simplified version of the complex IT service management concepts. This does not provide the complete guidance for reaping the benefits offered by ITIL® to an organisation but provides the necessary understanding of the basics.

3. Being Practice/Process-Centric But Not Service Centric

Newly certified ITIL® professionals focus on stabilising the processes before gaining a better understanding of the services offered by the organisation. This can be a mistake as the decision made by considering process stabilisation might end up being an impediment when the organisation transforms into an IT service provider. In other words, there is a need to think holistically (big picture) rather than at the granular level.

4. Trying To Head A Project Unaided

ITIL® upholds the fact that IT has been supporting various businesses through services. For this, IT should work together to meet and support various business needs. Thus, implementing a tool or a process in isolation without proper guidance can be dangerous. In today’s world, it is essential that service providers put customers at the heart of everything they do (customer-focused design). It’s not about what the service provider THINKS the requirements are; it is what the customer TELLS us they are.

5. Overlooking Business Needs While Developing A Service Catalogue

It is always a good start to document the services provided by IT to various businesses while developing a service catalogue. A service catalogue should be able to bridge the gap between business expectations and IT deliverables. Therefore, mapping the services currently provided to the desired business outcomes can fill the gap between IT service and business expectations.

6. Expecting ITIL® To Do Everything Immediately

Adopting ITIL® best practices will not automatically improve everything that goes wrong related to IT service delivery and support – especially in the early stages of its adoption. ITIL® helps organisations commit to a service delivery model which is clear and transparent. ITIL® documents 34 practices. It is worthwhile to consider gradually adopting the practices that matter to your organisational needs in priority order. Traditionally organisations start with one of these practices, especially if they want to address common ITSM and IT management issues:

➜ Incident & Problem Management
➜ Incident & Change Management
➜ Change & Configuration Management

Your practices should drive the tool requirements, not the other way around.

(Click here if you might be interested in our incident management training).

7. Positioning ITIL® As An Ad-Hoc, One-Off Solution

Teams must understand that ITIL® is about following guidelines for improving IT and business operations, and this requires a certain level of dedication to trial and error. ITIL® is a library of a proven set of methods that aid in improving productivity, speed of innovation, and customer satisfaction to reduce costs, risks, and business-debilitating IT issues. It is not about implementing ITIL® as a “final” solution or one-off ITIL® project, but an ongoing, continual improvement of processes to create higher-value effectively and efficiently.

It is key to keep your people, processes, tools connected and informed to make your ITSM journey smooth. Team collaboration and knowledge sharing are of the utmost importance. Collaboration requires working with others with a shared vision, whereas communication just requires us to involve others whilst still maintaining an individual goal.

Underestimating The Human Effort In Making ITIL® Successful

Respecting the level of resources and commitment needed to successfully adopt ITIL® is key because, as with any project, insufficient effort will negatively impact the expected ROI. This includes underestimating the effort ITIL® will require related to organisational changes to people, processes, and tools. For ITIL® to be successfully adopted, continual attention, improvement, and investment are critical.

(If you want to do more reading, you might enjoy this post looking at the roles of an ITIL service transition manager).

Other Inhibiting Factors To Consider:

➜ Being content with just ITIL® Foundation certification – the more knowledge you have of the framework, the better.

➜ Focusing only on a few select processes: Whilst ‘starting small’ is not incorrect, the adoption of ITIL® by the organisation and its adaption to the organisation requires a holistic service management view, i.e., strategic, tactical, and operational.

➜ Ignoring the impact of culture: Every organisation is unique. First, learn how the organisation approaches change before implementing any transformational process. Gaining in-depth knowledge of the culture within will help you to successfully implement the ITIL® Framework to the best of your abilities. Many organisations realise that to succeed in today’s world, they must be flexible to change. This means that change is not something they worry about, but rather they are willing and happy to embrace change as and when required to do so.

➜ Implementing ITIL® on your own: This often happens with newly ITIL® certified professionals who want to show the immediate impact of the ITIL® framework in their organisation. In doing so, they start processes and tools on their own and start implementing them, which leads to duplication of work. The main concept of ITIL® is that IT is there to provide support for business services. To provide these services, the entire IT staff should work together to ensure the business needs are met.

➜ Creating service catalogues without understanding business requirements: As mentioned previously, it is good to start documenting the services provided by IT to various business services by creating a service catalogue, but a service catalogue should be able to narrow the gap between business expectations and IT deliverables. To bridge the gap, mapping the services that are being currently provided to cater to business expectations should take place in an effective manner.

➜ Not creating a strong business case: As a certified professional, you know why ITIL® is important, but do others know the benefits of ITIL®? Articulate the benefits of implementing the ITIL® Framework and communicate the same to all stakeholders who are involved in the project. They should know what the cost is of implementing the ITIL® Framework and what they get in return. The scope of the project must be clear, and outlining the benefits will help in justifying your claim for resources to be used.

➜ Not everybody knows the ITIL® language: Newly ITIL® certified professionals now have a vocabulary that helps in ITIL® adoption and implementing the ITIL® framework in an effective manner. But when you speak to others who do not understand the language of this framework, they may think that you are speaking in some code and will start ignoring you when you are trying to communicate. Cut down on the ITIL®-specific terminologies and just concentrate more on the ITIL® guidance. By demonstrating the effectiveness of the framework for the organisation in easy-to-understand terms, you will get your point across.

➜ You are not selling ITIL® to key stakeholders: After getting newly ITIL® certified, individuals often tend to limit the scope of ITIL® implementation for a few processes which need immediate attention, as previously mentioned. If you want to create a major impact with the ITIL® framework, then you need to sell ITIL® to key players in the organisation who can initiate changes, allocate budgets and resources. It is hard to sell ITIL® to the executives when they have no idea what you are talking about. You need a boardroom champion or an executive sponsor for any ITIL® project.

Nothing can guarantee a successful implementation of IT Service Management, but adopting and adapting the ITIL® Framework to your individual business needs will certainly help.

All of our ITIL® 4 training courses have extremely high pass rates and are taught by expert tutors with real-world experience. We can help you become certified and progress your IT Service Management career.

ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification
ITIL® 4 Specialist Create, Deliver & Support (CDS) Certification
ITIL® 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV) Certification
ITIL® 4 Specialist High Velocity IT (HVIT) Certification
ITIL® 4 Strategist Direct, Plan & Improve (DPI) Certification
ITIL® 4 Leader Digital & IT Strategy (DITS) Certification
ITIL® 4 Managing Professional (MP) Certification
ITIL® 4 Strategic Leader (SL) Certification

Or if you want to do more reading click here to read: What is ITIL Service Management?

About The Author

Bob Amies

Bob Amies

I've been around IT for almost 25 years, many of those in the support and training environment. Hopefully, you get to hear some of my 'war stories'.

Tel: +44(0)1539 736 828

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