Before getting to the misconceptions of ITIL lets first break down what ITIL or ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’ is and why organizations should adopt the ITIL framework.
ITIL is a leading framework for a set of processes, and standards for IT service management (ITSM) with a particular focus on aligning and improving IT services with business needs. ITIL can be used by small and large organizations alike to gain a competitive advantage that allows them to thrive in challenging environments. Professionals willing to excel in ITIL can take up ITIL certification and gain the necessary skills.
Why should organizations adopt an ITIL framework?
Some of the key benefits for organizations in adopting ITIL are as follows:
Constructive and measurable organization transformation
ITIL service lifecycle practices lead organizations to maximize the value to clients at every level. As such, leveraging ITIL practices allows organizations to manage customer portfolios better, and achieve meaningful, constructive, and measurable transformation.
Enhanced service delivery
Leveraging ITIL practices allows organizations to meet service deadlines and deliver a higher quality product predictably. Additionally, ITIL will enable organizations to recover from downtime a lot faster due to the clarity provided by the streamlined processes. Essentially, ITIL allows organizations to deliver high-quality services efficiently, on-time, and with consistency.
ITIL provides organizations with a framework to evolve
One of the reasons for the effectiveness and popularity of ITIL is the consolidation and standardization of commonly used ITSM practices. These practices are abridged into a set of integrated and applicable best practices that organizations can easily upgrade to. Since ITIL constantly evolves with the dynamic nature of the businesses and IT, following ITIL practices affords all organizations the ability to evolve as well.
ITIL allows organizations to not only optimize internally but to optimize interaction with other organizations as well. Such optimization is achieved because ITIL introduces best practices that provide standards and a methodology for making intelligent business decisions when trading with global partners. The net result is that organizations gain more financial opportunities while at the same time gaining more awareness and predictability of risks involved.
Enhanced customer satisfaction
At their core, ITIL best practices provide organizations with guidelines for the provision of better products and services for their clients, in the best possible way. The enhanced customer satisfaction experience provided to clients has the ripple effect of attracting more clients and building stronger relationships with them.
7 misconceptions people generally have about ITIL
As is the case with most technologies and methodologies, the benefits are just one side of the coin. Although few and far between, the other side of the coin are the limits of ITIL. One way to address both the limits and the benefits holistically is by addressing the misconceptions of what ITIL is and what it is not. In doing so, those thinking about adopting ITIL and those jaded or disillusioned about using ITIL can gain some clarity and rejuvenation.
Without further ado here are seven misconceptions about ITIL:
ITIL is the only useful ITSM framework
Although ITIL is today the most popular and widely used ITSM framework, it is not the sole ITSM standard or framework out there. In fact, several other ITSM frameworks exist with their own strengths and weaknesses but which can, more importantly, can be utilized where appropriate. Some of these frameworks include USMBOK, Six Sigma, eTOM, ISO20k, DevOps, Cobit, and CMMI. Better yet, ITIL can be used with other frameworks to make winning combinations.
Each ITIL process is restricted to a single ITIL lifecycle stage
ITIL emphasizes a thorough understanding of ITIL lifecycle stages and further describes each process in a particular lifecycle stage. Given this emphasis, it is easy to misunderstand that each process is restricted to one specific lifecycle stage. In reality, this is not necessarily the case. Some processes can span over multiple service lifecycle stages. For example, the Information Security Management process is described only in the ITIL Service Design lifecycle stage. In reality, the Information Security Management process cuts across four service lifecycle stages.
Adopting ITIL is the goal
Organizations that buy the idea and benefits of ITIL tend to think that their next target on the roadmap is to merely implement ITIL. The reality is that without actually thinking about what is to be achieved or accomplished, ITIL may not be of that much benefit. Instead, implementing ITIL should be seen as a means to an end/goal. For example, if you have a goal of increasing the quality of services towards your clients, then ITIL can provide you with the methodical guidance to understand your current position in the context of your destination/goal and how to get there.
ITIL implementation is a one-off ITSM project
Once an ITIL project is completed, a lot of organizations tend to fall back into old habits, culture, traditions, and behavior, instead of adopting or evolving into a new way of doing things. The misconception is that once an ITIL project is completed, that is the end of it. In reality, proper implementation of ITIL requires a continuous ‘plan-do-check-act’ process that should never end.
Processes are the be-all-end-all of ITIL
For the reason that there is so much stress on the processes, it is a common misconception that they are all that is required. In reality, sometimes best practices and principles are more important. Indeed, ITIL processes should be seen in the context of understanding fundamental principles and how these fundamental principles should be used together to achieve a goal.
For example, in Incident Management where efficiency and process control is required, focusing on processes, KPIs, workflows, etc. may be sufficient. However, in Availability management, thinking about principles like availability design before implementing the service is the better approach. Anything else will usually lead to failure.
Understanding ITIL is the only way to understand better service delivery
Although ITIL has contributed a lot towards better understanding an organizations service orientation, it does not provide all the reasons or the only reasons why a service is not being delivered optimally or with the highest standards towards customer satisfaction. For example, poor service delivery could be the result of frustration, interpersonal problems or politics, lack of interest, poor motivation, etc. ITIL may not be able to address these issues adequately. A better solution to such a situation may be to reshuffle staff, change staff (hire better people and fire the ‘bad apples’ among the current team).
Taking an ITIL course is enough to implement it in an organization
Taking an ITIL course is just the first step towards understanding ITIL including the terminology, the service lifecycle stages, processes, best practices, and strategic thinking. The next phase, and probably the most crucial one, is to adapt what you have learned to a specific organization. Achieving this requires a long-term outlook towards achieving goals rather than merely implementing ITIL for its own sake.
Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of ITIL is critical. A thorough understanding of ITIL best practices and processes can allow an organization to appropriately use ITIL as a means to solve challenges or as a methodology/framework to reach its goals rather than use ITIL as the end in itself. You can learn more about the ITIL best practices by pursuing ITIL Foundation certification and advance your career.