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Who Benefits from an Efficient IT Department? Your Entire Organization!

In this information age, everything has become faster and more dynamic. There is a lot of business competition at all levels and at the same time we have an unstable economy. For those reasons, today more than ever, is necessary that organizations watch very closely the performance of their IT Departments.

It does not matter what is your industry type, if it is a private organization or if it is government, the resources provided by the IT Department, using the best technologies available in the market and an exceptional service level, will be able to support the organization to obtain its goals successfully.  However, very frequently the IT Departments face problems like these:

- They are not aligned with the organization’s goals.

- Lack of budget to invest in the technologies they require to better support the organization.

- Limited personnel, situation that does not allow them to provide a high quality service to their internal and external clients.

- Multiple requests to manage and all categorized as high priority by the users.

- Frequent and recurrent problems that need to be solved immediately and no time to document the solution and worse than that: without time to investigate the root cause of them.

- Internal and external clients not satisfied with the service provided by the IT Department.

There are methodologies that can help us to handle these problems and also allow IT Departments not to be seen as an administrative cost that organizations simply need to be able to operate. IT Departments should be seen as partners of the business, totally necessary within an organization to support it and to help to fulfill all its goals.

ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management (ITSM) in the world. It provides a cohesive set of best practice guidance. It provides a practical, no-nonsense framework for identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to the business. 

ITIL focuses on IT Department services to be aligned to the needs of the business and it emphasizes on the quality of those services and the relationship between the IT Department with its clients. ITIL guidance can help us to respond in an efficient way to those exigencies required of an IT Department, improving customer satisfaction and employees performance.

There are another benefits like:

- Improvement in IT services  through the implementation of the industry best practices.

- Effective change management so changes are managed in a controlled way.

- Priorities are established and only those change requests that are aligned with business goals will be implemented. Change requests will be evaluated to assure they do not conflict among themselves and assure that these will be implemented without affecting the stability of the systems already in production.

- Customer satisfaction improvement through a more professional approach to service delivery and service tailored to their particular needs.

- Third party services improvement through commitments on service level agreements.

- Improvement in the capacity and productivity of  IT employees.

- Increase in IT employee retention.

- Training costs could be reduced.

- IT operational costs reduction.

- Incident and problem management costs could be reduced and the related processes more efficient.

- Better resource utilization.

- A clear business differentiator from competitors.

- Greater visibility of IT costs.

- Greater visibility of IT assets.

- A benchmark to measure performance against  IT projects or services.

ITIL Service Lifecycle has five different components. For your reference, they are described below:

Service Strategy

Service Strategy is the starting point of the ITIL Service Lifecycle. The methodology provides guidance in the clarification and prioritization of service-provider investments in services. In summary , Service Strategy focuses on helping IT organizations improve and develop over the long term.  In any case, Service Strategy relies largely upon a market-driven approach.

Key topics covered include service value definition, business case development, service assets, market analysis, and service provider types.

The covered processes are:

- Service Portfolio Management.

- Demand Management.

- IT Financial Management.

Service Design

The ITIL methodology provides good-practice guidance in the design of IT services, processes, and other aspects of the service management effort. Design within ITIL is understood to encompass all elements relevant to technology service delivery, rather than focusing solely on design of the technology itself.

As such, service design addresses how a planned service solution interacts with the larger business and technical environments, service management systems required to support the service, processes which interact with the service, technology, architecture required to support the service and the supply chain required to support the planned service.

The covered processes are:

- Service Catalogue Management.

- Service Level Management.

- Risk Management.

- Capacity Management.

- Availability Management.

- IT Service Continuity Management.

- Information Security Management.

- Compliance Management.

- IT Architecture Management.

- Supplier Management.

Service Transition

Service transition, as described by the ITIL methodology, relates to the delivery of services required by a business into live/operational use, and often encompasses the "project" side of IT rather than "BAU" (Business As Usual). This area also covers topics such as managing changes to the "BAU" environment.

The covered processes are:

- Service Asset and Configuration Management.

- Service Validation and Testing.

- Evaluation.

- Release Management.

- Change Management.

- Knowledge Management.

Service Operation

This is the best practice for achieving the delivery of agreed levels of services both to end-users and the customers (where "customers" refer to those individuals who pay for the service and negotiate the SLAs). Service operation, as described in the ITIL methodology, is the part of the lifecycle where the services and value is actually directly delivered. Also, the monitoring of problems and balance between service reliability and cost  are considered.

The functions include technical management, application management, operations management and service desk as well as responsibilities for staff engaging in Service Operation.

The covered processes are:

- Event Management.

- Incident Management.

- Problem Management.

- Request Fulfillment.

- Access Management.

Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

It refers to aligning and realigning IT services to changing business needs. Continual Service Improvement, as defined in the ITIL methodology, aims to align and realign IT services to changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to the IT services that support the business processes.

The perspective of CSI on improvement is that of the business view of service quality, although CSI aims to improve process effectiveness, efficiency and cost effectiveness of the IT processes through the whole lifecycle. To manage improvements, CSI should clearly define what should be controlled and measured.

CSI needs to be treated just like any other service practice. There needs to be upfront planning, training and awareness, ongoing scheduling, roles created, ownership assigned and activities identified to be successful. CSI must be planned and scheduled as process with defined activities, inputs, outputs, roles and reporting.

The covered processes are:

- Service Level Management.

- Service Measurement and Reporting.

- Continual Service Improvement.

Implementing policies, processes and best practices within your IT department will allow you to improve your services while responding to new business and technology requirements. IT will be more efficient as well as your entire organization!!

Written by:
Lissette López, ITIL-f
MM Consulting Services
Account Manager


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