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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.