When agencies and organizations first began adopting IT solutions, a lack of standard practices forced them to start independently creating their own IT management practices. These procedures often differed across organizations.
Enter ITIL. The original IT Infrastructure Library included a set of books that outlined best practices for companies implementing their own IT service management (ITSM) plans. Since its inception, ITIL has sought to “improve business performance and outcomes through better IT delivery and support practices.”
It’s now grown into something much larger, including the same core guiding principles but ever-evolving to suit our changing needs and industry standards.
So, what would happen without ITIL? There would be no guiding set of principles for organizations to reference. Everyone would be forced to create their own ITSM plans and procedures. Using the same set of guiding principles across organizations can help everyone work more effectively by allowing for more collaboration and checks for efficacy.
It helps us to see other organizations adopt these principles and see how they play out, learn from their mistakes, as well as see what they get right. This breadth of testing would be hard to replicate within just one company. “Having a systemative approach to IT Service Management (ITSM) can help businesses manage risk, strengthen customer relations, establish cost-effective practices, and build environments that allow for growth.”
ITIL can deliver us a wealth of knowledge we may never have discovered on our own (or may have taken years to accumulate). People who have years of combined experience across different organizations have created these universal guiding principles for people to follow and implement. We can choose which processes to adopt and adapt them to suit our needs.
There are tens of thousands of organizations currently using ITIL, with more embracing it every day. The exciting news is that as users grow, we can learn more and more from common mistakes organizations encounter when they begin to adopt and implement ITIL. ITIL is not a magic recipe to solve all of an organization’s problems; however, used effectively, it can improve efficiency and competency.
The key to success is having a clear understanding of what ITIL is and having a defined goal (dare we say, a roadmap?) detailing what you want to accomplish.
5 ITIL Mistakes That Are Holding You Back
Today there are a multitude of resources available to users that can help them better understand ITIL and warn them of the most common mistakes that befall ITIL users. The following is an excerpt from ServiceNow’s eBook that covers this very topic – it outlines 10 mistakes to avoid in ITIL 4 adoption. These first five mistakes focus on understanding what ITIL is and how it can be used to achieve business goals:
1. Not understanding what ITIL is. ITIL is a service management best practice framework and not a gold standard for your organization to be measured against. Importantly, there’s no such thing as “ITIL-compliance.”
2. Thinking that ITIL is an industry-standard. ITIL is merely guidance. It’s a collection of good things to do, as opposed to a standard that can be measured against or complied with. ITIL is about adopting and adapting, not the blanket application of one fixed set of activities.
3. Viewing ITIL adoption as the desired outcome. It’s not about doing ITIL but rather using ITIL to achieve better outcomes—so ITIL is not the end (or desired outcome) but the means to an end.
4. Adopting ITIL as a silver bullet. ITIL will not magically improve everything that’s wrong; however, ITIL will improve operations and outcomes for organizations that commit to the concepts of the ITIL 4 service value chain (or the v3 service lifecycle).
5. Incorrectly positioning ITIL. Organizations must understand that ITIL is about following guidelines for improving IT and business operations, as opposed to simply adopting ITSM best practices.
“When you adopt ITIL best practices, it’s important to learn from those who have gone before and the drivers of successes and failures. This will increase the speed and success of your ITIL adoption and likely save you and others heartache.”
The rest of ServiceNow’s top 10 ITIL mistakes alongside a list of top 10 best practices for ITIL planning and implementation can be found in the full ServiceNow eBook. All of them are applicable to ITIL V3 and the newer V4.