IT Governance

6 Tips for Successful ITIL Adoption

ITIL, like agile, can reduce business costs and better align IT with customer needs—if done right. It is the execution that makes all the difference. In a post for, Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord shares six pragmatic tips for an ITIL adoption that delivers the intended benefits:

  1. ITIL is as useful as you make it.
  2. Think from a practical point of view.
  3. Train employees in the right direction.
  4. Dare to choose.
  5. Don’t overestimate your own maturity.
  6. Prioritize, but remember that low priorities are still priorities.

Careful Improvement

ITIL is a framework like any other, albeit with the benefit of decades of refinement behind it that makes its practices especially reliable. If you trust ITIL to be perfect though, you will be fast frustrated. ITIL is only useful as you make it. This means you need to start by implementing only the parts that are most applicable to your current situation, as well as adapting processes to fit your unique environment. Toward that end, Van Elsacker Louisnord reminds us that there is no point in adopting a process from a higher level of ITIL when the processes underneath it have not been fully put together yet.

The best way to decide which ITIL processes the business needs now is to ask yourself what customers’ biggest problem is. When you have an answer to that question, you can implement the ITIL processes that most directly address it. And you can employ this sort of precision when it comes to training your staff too; not everyone needs intimate familiarity with every detail of ITIL. Design training programs to teach staff the aspects of ITIL that are relevant to their roles.

While doing all of this, be realistic about how mature your organization really is:

Be honest and critical when evaluating your own maturity. My experience is that the ambitions of an organization or department often disguise what needs to be addressed first. My colleagues and I notice, for example, that many companies can still do a lot more with basic processes, such as change management or incident management. In this case, it’s better to give these processes attention first before starting to introduce others.

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