Your organization set out to adopt ITIL as a framework for service management. It seems like you first heard of ITIL related initiatives a long time ago. When was the first time you heard about ITIL within the company? Has it been months or years since you first heard about how the framework was being adapted to help with the customer experience and operations? You haven’t seen a lot of improvement yet you continue to hear about ITIL. Based on what you are seeing, you can’t understand why the company is spending time and money on this project. Why should you spend any time on an initiative that isn’t achieving any results?
Does the story above sound familiar? Organizations start their ITIL journey with the best of intentions. They need to provide the right mix of services to the business and they need to manage those services in an efficient and effective manner. Rising costs of technology and resources along with challenges associated with providing the business with an acceptable level of service are often the catalysts for creating an ITIL initiative yet many organizations fail to resolve these problems through ITIL adoption.
Whether the lack of progress is real or perceived, staff support for the initiative will wane without demonstrable progress. Staff will be exasperated when asked to contribute to the initiative as they won’t perceive it as good use of their time. This frustration is a sign of ITIL fatigue and it will make progress even more difficult.
Symptoms of ITIL fatigue include:
· A lack of attendance and/or participation in ITIL related meetings.
· Vocal disagreement over project direction and results.
· Discord between departments relating to process execution and the associated roles and responsibilities
· A lack of interest in performance metrics.
· Rumors relating to a major shift in operations and/or the staff involved in the initiative being reassigned.
Steps to minimize or resolve ITIL fatigue will vary depending on the pervasiveness of the problem but it will impede progress so action is needed to address the underlying root cause of the issue.
How can the organization overcome ITIL fatigue?
· Revisit the value proposition of ITIL adoption. What was the expected benefit? Are the benefits being recognized? If the benefits are being recognized, consider how to communicate this information to the team. They need to understand positive steps forward. If the value proposition is not being recognized, it may be time to bring in some outside assistance to help determine a course of action. Be sure that consultants or contractors actually have experience with ITIL adoption as well as experience working in IT operations.
· Review the communication plan for the project. Are you communicating merely about the project schedule? Project schedules don’t get people excited about change. The staff needs to understand why the organization is undertaking the initiative. What happens if IT does nothing? How will the changes impact operations and ultimately the individual staff member? Effective communications will reduce the fear and uncertainty in the organization and they can help to energize the staff about making improvements.
· Observe the leadership in the organization. Are they supportive of the project? Do the Managers and Supervisors understand how they are affected? Are they prepared to have conversations with their teams about the changes? If leadership doesn’t buy into the project, they won’t be supportive when talking with members of their team. Take the time to have one on one conversations with key leaders. Consider assigning the role of project evangelist to the leader who really understands why the initiative is important and how it will impact the customer and the company. A project evangelist should be assigned the task of helping with buy in and organizational change management.
· Re-evaluate service and process related metrics. What needs to happen for the organization to be successful? Will the existing metrics reflect success?Does baseline data exist? Adjust metrics to ensure that performance of the organization can be easily understood. Publicize both existing and ongoing performance metrics.
· Extreme cases of ITIL fatigue may require the organization to reinvent the initiative removing the use of the acronym “ITIL” and the associated acronym definition. Ensuring a common language for the team and ultimately producing results are the most important aspects of an ITIL adoption initiative. If necessary, reboot and rename the project. The organization can still build service management around the ITIL
ITIL fatigue occurs when organizations have a prolonged ITIL adoption period where signs of progress aren’t always visible to the staff. Recovering from ITIL fatigue can be difficult. Early diagnosis is key as organizations can usually identify some targeted actions to treat the symptoms. If ITIL fatigue becomes pervasive, it may be time to re-evaluate, reboot, and re-invent the initiative.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on IT strategy, innovation, process, and culture change to improve efficiency, increase effectiveness, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change for IT. For more information, contact us at 520-591-2427 or by email at email@example.com.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
Change occurs every day in the workplace. Businesses must grow and change to stay competitive. Sometimes it happens without any fanfare but other times, it is a real struggle. Why are some changes easy while others are a challenge? A number of potential factors can affect the success of change in the workplace but the staff acceptance of change is the number one reason that projects fail. Roughly 70% of technology projects fail due to people. It is a staggering number.
What can your organization do to improve the odds of success?
1.) Define and plan for the behavior changes necessary for success. Without a true understanding of what behavior changes are necessary, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Any actions taken to support the change won’t achieve the intended outcome. How are people affected by the change? What changes should they make to support the outcome?
2.) Engage those affected by the change in developing the actual solution. I’m not referring to engaging Supervisors or Managers. Involve the people on the frontline. They know the current strengths and shortcomings. With the right facilitation and support, they can come up with some amazing solutions. Involving them will help to facilitate ownership of the changes and reduce difficulties with change adoption.
3.) Communicate – Communicate – Communicate. Everybody is busy and finding the time to communicate about projects can be tough but it is worth the extra effort. Fear and uncertainty are created when people don’t know what is going on. People need to understand what the change means to them and the company. It is more than just sending a corporate communication about the project purpose and schedule. Why is the change occurring? What is the value of making the change? What happens if the change does not occur? Be as transparent as possible regarding what is occurring and why.
4.) Create an environment where people can be successful. Ensure that documentation is available and training occurs so those impacted by the change can effectively do their jobs. Set up a support system which includes key contacts so people know where to go when they have questions.
5.) Reinforce accountability for the desired outcome by setting new goals and objectives for those affected by the change. Incorporate them into the review process. Include goals around continuous improvement relating to the change.
6.) Measure the outcome of the change. Compare baseline metrics to the outcome after the change occurred. Publicize the metrics whether they are good or bad. If the metrics are not as expected, ask those affected how to improve. If the metrics prove success, publicly acknowledge it. Continue to measure and publicize metrics until the changes are rooted in the organization.
Change in the workplace isn’t easy but you can improve the odds of success. It just takes some planning and some additional time to execute tasks associated with change acceptance. Considering the importance of people in the success of your initiative, isn’t it worth the investment?
Many organizations undertake an ITIL initiative based on what they read in industry publications or based on what they hear from colleagues but they don’t really understand the framework or what they want to achieve by implementing ITIL.
Higher quality services, cost reductions, alignment with the business priorities, value to the business, increased efficiency – it all sounds good but what do you really want to accomplish in your organization? Merely listing ITIL value statements or buzz words is not sufficient. How will your organization change as a result of ITIL adoption?
Without a vision, the organization won’t understand what they are trying to accomplish. ITIL processes may be implemented but most likely, the organization will not change and the value statements that you've heard about will never become a reality.
Below are the top 5 reasons to create a vision for an ITIL initiative.
1.) A clear direction is needed to focus the organization on achieving the goals. A vision will serve as a reference point for decisions.
2.) It helps to clarify the value proposition for the implementation. It answers the “Why” question. Why should the organization focus on ITIL?
3.) It will help your customer to understand what IT is trying to accomplish. With an ITIL initiative, the IT Service Provider organization is changing. Defining and communicating the vision will help to garner customer support.
4.) It provides staff with a compelling reason to change how they work. If members of the team understand the vision and the value proposition, they are more likely to adopt the required changes.
5.) Understanding the vision will allow for the development of supporting strategies, goals, objectives, and action plans. It provides a foundation for the initiative.
If your organization is just getting started with ITIL, taking the time to develop and understand the vision will provide a solid foundation for your initiative. If your initiative is already underway, it is beneficial to step back and examine if you are achieving the anticipated results. If not, consider defining a vision and re-evaluating the direction.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
How does culture impact strategy? - Your mission, vision, and values, help to define the strategy. The goals and objectives that are defined for individual strategies help to guide your staff to achieve the required outcomes and the culture is driving action toward achieving the strategies. The culture of the organization is formed by individual and group values, practices, and behaviors.
Annual planning involves defining the vision and strategies required to support the overall mission of the organization yet culture, which drives achievement of the vision and strategies, is often neglected. If culture is driving action, why is it often omitted from the strategic planning
When we neglect culture, time, money, and opportunity are negatively affected. Project execution takes longer. Ideas to improve products or services are lost. Conflict between coworkers and departments becomes normal. Turnover increases. All of the goals and objectives of the strategic plan may be accomplished but at what price?
Malcolm X once said “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” The culture of your IT organization sends a message about what it stands for - what the organization thinks is important.
Fostering a healthy culture requires nurturing. What does your IT culture say about the organization? Do your leaders know how to nurture the existing culture?
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, process, and culture change to improve IT efficiency, increase effectiveness, and optimize costs. For more information, phone 520-591-2427 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the organization struggling with incident management? Is service level compliance dismal? Do changes to the IT environment often cause outages? I could go on… Many organizations experience problems with service delivery. When looking for an answer, they jump head first into an IT service management (ITSM) tool initiative as their existing tool appears to be contributing to the issues and technology is familiar.
Replacing the tool won’t solve the problem. Most likely, the cause of the service issues is rooted in one of two areas.
1.) Processes are not well defined or understood. If the process isn’t clear, it will not be repeatable and therefore, service delivery will be inconsistent and sometimes, downright painful.
2.) There is a lack of buy in regarding how service is delivered. If the people in the organization disagree with key aspects of the service delivery processes or agreements; if they are struggling to understand why some agreements exist or processes were designed a certain way; or if they do not feel as though they can succeed, service delivery will never meet the expectations of IT leadership or the business.
Unfortunately, replacing the tool won’t solve these problems. It will only make it worse. Without clear, defined processes, how will you develop requirements to complete tool selection? If the team didn’t feel successful before, a new tool will only increase their confusion.
Rather than starting a new tool initiative, consider a process improvement initiative which includes a defined plan to address organizational change. Start with the processes that relate to the business’s key pain points when dealing with IT. Redefine the processes including process objectives, policies, process integration, roles and responsibilities, critical success factors and key performance indicators, operational metrics, and other details.
Plan for the desired outcome by defining a vision for success and then developing strategies and tasks to accomplish the vision. Examples of strategies and tasks which facilitate change include: engaging staff in the process improvement initiative; routinely distributing transparent communications about the project and potential changes; developing clear, concise performance objectives for staff members that relate to the success of the process; providing training and documentation; tracking and publicizing compliance metrics; establishing a process for continual service improvement which includes feedback from those engaged in process execution; and fostering a sense of ownership and accountability by setting expectations and quickly addressing issues.
Once the process improvement project gains momentum, it may be time to reevaluate the ITSM tools but before investing in a new tool, ensure the processes and the organization are strong enough to support success.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
Many organizations have implemented ITIL® processes as part of their service management strategy yet they are not realizing the expected benefits to staff productivity, service quality, and cost optimization. Adoption challenges are common but with some additional planning during project initiation and a focused effort relating to organizational adoption, these challenges are often minimized.
Why is the organization implementing ITIL processes?
When this question is posed to senior IT leaders, they usually talk about the benefit of aligning IT to the needs of the business. They may follow up with additional benefits relating to service quality and reducing the
IT budget. If the same question is posed to mid-level managers, often their answers do not correlate back to the value proposition defined by senior leaders.
To maximize the opportunity for success with an ITIL initiative, the value proposition for both IT and the business must be understood throughout all layers of management in the IT organization. A clear, articulate message relating to value is paramount to success.
Mid-level managers run the day to day operations. Engaging some members of this team in developing the vision and strategy for the ITIL initiative will help to facilitate acceptance. As part of the vision and strategy session, develop the “elevator speech” for the project. Every member of management ultimately needs to understand the value proposition for this project. The “elevator speech” will become a key element of communications.
Many organizations form project teams and develop detailed project plans with timelines and milestones yet they do not address the "people” aspect of their implementation. Research has shown that approximately 70% of IT initiatives fail to have the intended impact. Why does this happen? People are not considered. Technology is easy. Process development isn’t that difficult. People are hard. They come with preconceived ideas and emotions. People can make or break any implementation. Planning for the organizational adoption of ITIL involves directing addressing the “people” aspect of the project.
During project planning, an organizational change plan should be defined to illuminate the desired end state for the organization along with the steps necessary to help the IT staff and possibly the business adopt the changes required for success. While the steps associated with this plan can be included in the overall project plan, a focused effort is needed to ensure the tasks defined for organizational change are executed. Structured and transparent communications, training, performance objectives, metrics, etc. are all elements of an organizational change plan. To maximize the opportunity for success in planning for change, use an organizational change methodology to develop the plan and ensure resources are assigned to execute and manage this aspect of the project.
When focusing on the “people aspect” of the implementation, it is important to update job descriptions to include ITIL skills and qualifications. When hiring new staff, it is easy to focus on ITIL certifications and IT service management tool experience. It is important to consider actual experience with the processes and functions being implemented. A foundational element of ITIL is partnering with the business. To ensure staff are prepared to effectively work in this manner, soft skills such as communication, negotiation, and persuasion should also be considered and evaluated during the hiring process.
Taking the time to fully articulate the value proposition for the ITIL initiative and engaging different levels of management in defining the vision and strategy is a strong first step toward success with an ITIL initiative. Developing and executing a focused plan to address organizational adoption will minimize many of the challenges which often affect the outcome. Taking steps to address organizational adoption will reduce the fear, anxiety, and confusion relating to the changes allowing the staff to focus on ensuring the outcomes will meet the needs of the business.
Understanding the value proposition and developing an organizational change plan are key elements of a successful IT transformation initiative.
ITIL®is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, process, and culture change to improve IT efficiency, increase effectiveness, and optimize costs. For more information, phone 520-591-2427 or email us at email@example.com.
Implementing ITIL processes can be a daunting task. Where do you start? There are numerous possibilities as ITIL is a best practice framework that is meant to be customized for your organization. Every organization and ITIL project is unique and therefore, the starting point for each organization will vary.
Regarding the starting point, consider the IT pain points for your end users and customers. What is causing them the biggest headache? What is the cost to the business due to this issue?
Once information is available about their IT pain points, analyze the root cause of their issue. Is it downtime due to unauthorized changes? Consider starting with change management. Do incidents take too long to resolve? Start with incident management. Is the business struggling to figure out how to request services? Consider request fulfillment, the service catalog, or business relationship management. The list could continue but if the IT organization recognizes their role in supporting the business, how about starting with the processes or functions which are challenging the business?
Analyzing the IT pain points will provide valuable information regarding a potential starting point for your implementation. Additional review will need to occur to determine if it is feasible to start with the process or function that was identified in the root cause analysis. For example, if the root cause is a lack of configuration information, it may not make sense to begin work on configuration management without a strong change management process in place. The interdependencies of the processes may require that some process work occurs in tandem or that the process work is prioritized in a manner that will ensure maturity in one area is not temporary due to deficiency in another process area.
Starting the implementation by addressing the processes or functions associated with the root cause of the IT pain points will allow the project to identify some quick wins for the business and IT. It is a great way to kick off the project and build momentum.
“Culture eats strategy for lunch” – Author Unknown
This quote rings true not just for Information Technology Divisions but for every type of department or business. Organizations have their own culture but there are sub cultures that exist as well. I.T. attracts a unique set of individuals and therefore, often has a sub culture unique to the division. If the I.T. organization doesn't have a culture that supports service and execution, how will they achieve the strategy that has been defined and effectively support the business?
Approximately 70% of I.T. projects fail due to cultural or change related issues. It is a staggering number. If the I.T. team isn’t performing as expected, it may be time to evaluate how the culture of the organization is affecting performance. Symptoms of cultural issues may include project delays, budget overages, end user complaints, system availability challenges, and increased employee and department tensions - as just a few examples. It may “feel” as if it takes a lot of leadership effort to get something done or to keep customers happy.
Culture takes time to change. This is true but if we don’t define the desired culture and begin to work toward the goal, progress will be non-existent. Often I.T. organizations update or define a vision and strategy for the division annually. Culture and change management plans should be included in this process. Every I.T. initiative should subsequently include actions associated with supporting the defined culture.
You can change the culture of the I.T. organization. Take the first step. Ask a third party to assess the culture of the organization. You may be surprised at the results. Sometimes a few simple actions can result in dramatic improvements.
Assessing the culture is an important step in transformation. The results can provide insights into how to influence change in the organization.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. Discover how a cultural assessment can help you to understand how the work is really done in your organization and how to influence change. Ask us about conducting a cultural assessment and take the first step to achieve the expected return on your initiative. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
IT organizations often talk about customer service but, they frequently mistake customer service as a strategy with emphasis placed on providing good service. They design services to meet service levels and they embrace metrics relating to availability, response times, resolution times, customer satisfaction scores, etc. However in today’s world, this just isn’t enough. IT’s focus needs to shift to customer intimacy.
When focused on customer intimacy, providing consistent, good service is a given. Customer intimacy begins when we focus on and commit to delivering business results. What is the best possible solution to the customer’s needs? Consideration is given to the customer’s overall objectives, technology trends, costs, business process improvement, engagement, innovation, and competitive advantage.
When an emphasis is placed on customer intimacy, the IT organization can solve problems the business may not realize exist. Every interaction with the business can be used to gather information,
analyze opportunities, and formulate an IT response.
Consider this example from an insurance company. An IT employee observed a customer service agent taking a call about coverage. The call was 30+ minutes as the agent had to navigate several different systems and screens to provide the information. Follow up research revealed that some simple system changes would reduce the complexity for the agent thereby reducing the call time by over 50%.
IT partnered with the business to optimize processes and outcomes through the use of technology. Through simple observation of an everyday business transaction, IT identified an issue and proactively engaged the business to solve a problem the business didn’t realize existed.
How does IT make the leap to customer intimacy? It starts with reevaluating the vision, strategy, and core values of the IT organization. The value proposition of customer intimacy needs to be fully explored and embedded into each of these areas. A thorough plan for the transition can be developed once the vision, strategy, core values, and value proposition are fully vetted but don’t be surprised if restructuring is required and new positions are identified.
With customer intimacy, IT is placing an emphasis on relationships, customer needs, and solutions. It is a cultural shift that will require careful planning and execution however, as this focus matures; a strong
partnership will form between IT and the business. IT will become a trusted service provider and a trusted advisor to the business.
Customer intimacy – an important step forward in IT transformation.
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Why is your company implementing ITIL processes? What is the vision for the implementation?
Without a clear vision, any strategy implemented will only have mediocre success. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, how can you develop a strategy to get there? How can you achieve the expected result for your ITIL implementation if you have no idea of what was envisioned at the onset of the project?
Let’s take a step back to maximize your opportunity for success. Was the vision defined and shared? If not, consider what you want to achieve from the project. What is the value proposition? I’m sure the organization has some very smart people working in IT. Engage members of the team along with the Project Sponsor in defining the vision. Why would they implement ITIL processes? What results do they expect?
Once the team members have defined a vision, solidify the vision with senior leaders. Their agreement with the vision is critical to success. Most likely, this group initially sponsored the project. Do they agree with the vision defined by the team? Fine tune the vision based on their input and circle back with team members regarding any changes.
Defining the vision for your ITIL implementation is the first step toward success. Engaging team members in vision development and garnering a shared vision will ultimately improve cultural acceptance and adoption of the changes to come.
This blog makes it sound easy, figure out what you want; engage your team; and garner support for the vision. It isn’t easy. Let’s face it – all of the possibilities can give you a headache.
Consider having a trained facilitator walk you and your team through developing your vision as well as the high level strategy for the ITIL initiative. A third party can provide a proven structure for success and they can be an unbiased voice providing best/common practice guidance when needed.
ITIL®is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited