Posted by Stephen Mann on October 18, 2011
Is it a blog? Is it a musing (that’s not “amusing”)? Or is it just a cheap attempt to pick the brains of others smarter than myself? Does it matter? Can I do anything other than ask questions?
My point (or at least my line of thinking while I plan a couple of ITIL-related Forrester reports) is that we spend a lot of time talking about what to do (or more likely what not to do) when "adopting ITIL," but how often do we talk about whether we have been successful in applying the concepts of ITIL, the processes, and the enabling technology for business benefit?
Maybe it is because we quote the mantra that “ITIL is a journey” and we can’t see a point in time where we can stop and reflect on our achievements (or lack of)? Maybe we segue too quickly from the ITIL-technology adoption project into the firefighting realities of real-world IT service management? Whatever the potential barriers to taking stock, where is that statement that describes what we have achieved and our relative level of success?
Looking at this logically (fatal mistake, I know), assuming (potentially a big assumption) that there was a business case for the “ITIL adoption project” where is the post implementation review (PIR)? Where can we look to see the realization of business benefits (I deliberately didn’t say “IT benefits” BTW)? I’m trying not to be cynical but, even if we forget the formalities of a PIR, how many I&O organizations can quantify the benefits achieved through ITIL adoption? More importantly what has been achieved relative to the potential for achievement? Where did we get to in our desired-future-state?
I appreciate that I am probably flogging the proverbial dead horse talking about the likes of PIRs. So how do you “sell” the resources spent on, and continued to be consumed by, ITIL-based I&O improvement activities back to the business? What would you say if questioned by your CIO, CFO, or CEO in the corridor? Would it be a blurting out of ITIL-based buzzwords and propaganda or do you have the ammunition at your finger tips to fire back on demand?
I’m not anti-ITIL; I just like to look at the reality rather than the theory. And, in this instance, I wonder whether I&O organizations do themselves a injustice by not fully understanding where they were, where they are, and where they could have been (and still could be). Importantly, this is understanding (and communicating) not in IT terms but in the context of delivering business benefits or value.
It’s an interesting question: “ITIL: What Constitutes Success?” What would you say? What have you said? Please let me know.
UPDATE: Two popular ITIL-related blogs:
Other ITIL adoption-related blogs include: