Critical Questions To Ask Before ITIL Implementation


IT Infrastructures Library or ITIL in short, is seen as a solution for many IT organization related pain points. A good number of organizations have implemented ITIL. Some succeeded in getting the results they wanted and others failed. In the organizations where ITIL is a failure, the reason is mostly lack of assessing the need for ITIL.

ITIL is a framework that can be customized based on a particular organization’s needs. It is not a one size fits all. Hence, aligning it with your business needs is an important step, if you intend to make your ITIL implementation a success. An even more important step is to ask yourself the following questions before plunging into an organization wide ITIL implementation.

Is ITIL needed in the first place?

This question might sound funny, but it is really the most relevant of all the questions to be asked before an ITIL implementation. Is ITIL the solution for the particular problem you are trying to solve? For instance, are you looking at solving service delivery issues? Then is ITIL the only and right solution for you? A service delivery issue can be solved by critically analyzing and identifying gaps in the Service Level Agreements. You can further look into the whole service delivery process cycle. If all this analysis leads you to the conclusion that you need ITIL, only then, get into it.

What are the issues to be solved?

If you have determined that you need ITIL, then the next step is to identify the issues to be solved. To identify critical issues that need to be resolved, it is important that the IT department is not treated as the last ‘go-to’ department. This department needs to have clear understanding of the business strategy of your organization because ITIL demands an organization wide change management where the IT department plays a huge role.

Once these issues to be resolved are identified, it is important to critically assess if ITIL really is the solution for these issues. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not.

Is ITIL spelling improvement for your organization?

ITIL is for service improvement. No doubt about it. But, is the implementation of ITIL spelling service improvement for your organization? That’s a billion dollar question worth answering before launching into ITIL across the organization. Service improvement happens when you assess current capabilities with respect to service delivery. If you find a gap in this assessment, then understanding whether ITIL fills that gap is important.

If all these assessments are pointing towards an ITIL implementation, then the next thing to assess if whether you are able to monitor and measure it. There is no way to know if there is any improvement if you cannot quantify it.

How best to scale ITIL implementation?

ITIL implementation affects all the departments. It is no exaggeration if we were to say that it affects each and every person in your organization. It is not a mere technology upgrade. It involves a change at all levels of the organization.

Going about an organization wide ITIL implementation may not be the right solution. It can cause panic and chaos. It is best to assess the key departments where ITIL can bring about a positive impact and start with them. On your part, you need to spend the time and effort to identify these key departments. The questions you need to ask yourself is – will ITIL implementation for this particular department show a measurable improvement in the business case for this department? If the answer is yes, go for it, if not, you need to make further assessments.

Is the ITIL implementation working the way you want?

The most human and normal tendency when faced with a change is to pause and check if the change is working the way you want. The same thing is needed with ITIL too. In fact, it is needed even more. It is a huge change in all things to do with an organization. The changes brought in by ITIL have to be closely monitored. The reason is to know if it is working in the direction you intended it to, when you set out on this path. Making corrections in the early stage of ITIL implementation is easier compared to an advanced level of engagement.

These are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself before going for an ITIL implementation. These are just guiding questions to indicate the direction you should take. You can look at each business process or a process work flow to really identify aspects that can be improved. Club these aspects with the ITIL framework to know whether ITIL is for you or not!

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Amarja Puranam