How To Align IT Services Based On Business Needs?


Did you ever wake up with a sore neck? You think you slept well but when you wake up, you have this uncomfortable dull pain that throbs throughout your head. The whole day practically is unproductive. This is a classic case of your neck going out of alignment due to sleep. The reasons could be as simple as not using the pillow right or bad sleeping posture. Alignment makes a big difference to the quality of sleep and the quality of your mind the next day.

Why are we talking about sleeping patterns? We are actually talking about how alignment makes even a basic human need like sleep better or worse.

Imagine a business enterprise going through alignment concerns. It’s going to be a lot more painful and not just in the neck!

In this blogpost, let’s look at how to align Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) with business needs.

ITIL® for Better Business

According to Wikipedia “ITIL® describes processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists which are not organization-specific, but can be applied by an organization for establishing integration with the organization's strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency. It allows the organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement, and measure. It is used to demonstrate compliance and to measure improvement.

Going by this definition, ITIL is inherently oriented towards business alignment. It is also a suggestive framework that can be flexed to suit the business needs of a particular organization. All that needs to be done is to create the environment to do so.

What Factors Impact ITIL®Alignment with Business?

Before you set out on the path to align ITIL with your business needs, it is important to understand what factors impact this alignment. The reason is simple. It is these factors that need to be addressed for better alignment.

Organizational Culture

It is imperative to have a culture of continuous service delivery and improvement for ITIL® to better align with business needs. It is the very purpose of ITIL®.  This needs an organization that is innovation driven. The very first check to do for aligning ITIL® with business needs is the organizational culture. If the culture doesn’t support innovation and improvement, then what you need is a change in business outlook of the decision makers.

Eliminate One Size Fits All

Once you have assessed the practicality of opting for an ITIL® implementation, the next step is to choose a software vendor. It is important to understand that ITIL® framework is a broad spectrum of things to do that can positively impact a business. Given this context, it is important to carefully choose a software vendor who can understand your business needs and recommend services. Eliminating vendors who promise a one size fits all approach to ITIL® is one of the best things you can do early on to better align this effort with your business needs.

Staged Implementation

One of the best steps to align ITIL® with business needs is to adapt a staged implementation. It is a good idea to choose the stage in the business cycle that can use the ITIL® framework than an overall implementation across the various stages of business. Level 3 Communications has a business cycle that they sum up as Plan – Design – Build – Operate. This blogpost on the Level 3’s blog describes how ITIL was used only in the ‘operate’ stage of their business for better impact.

Proactive Education

ITIL® implementation is a change from the existing practices. It is important to proactively educate all concerned. This little effort paves way for acceptance, a key factor in any change management. Investing in ITIL® certification for key individuals goes a long way in aligning ITIL® with business needs.

Communicate the Changes

Any change encounters resistance. It is more to do with humans involved than technology that is being enabled. In an ITIL implementation, there are numerous levels of individuals at different levels of empowerment and responsibilities involved. Communicating the changes that are happening or going to happen with all of them is important to align the ITIL to business needs. Naturally, discretion is needed in the depth and frequency of communication.

Inspire Participation

An ITIL implementation affects the organization in toto. It cannot survive as an isolated activity. Hence participation of all employees and stake holders is critical. Participation from all quarters of the organization helps management understand first-hand the positive or the adverse impact of ITIL in a particular department. It is the role of the senior management to inspire participation of all employees with timely communication.

ITIL alignment with business needs is a continuous cycle of implementation, testing and feedback. Following this diligently with intermittent communication with all stake holders will pave the way in aligning ITIL with business needs.

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Amarja Puranam