• Trevor Wilson

Implementing ITIL® 4


This document has been composed through my own personal knowledge and experience as an ITIL trainer on behalf of Axelos®/PeopleCert® combined with real-life experience. In other words, I have not simply copied and pasted from a textbook.

Situation Analysis

Those company organisations who thought that if their employees simply undertake ITIL® training the business would in turn automatically reap the benefits will have already realised that this is far from the truth.

Unless the purpose is to achieve more cosmetic and indirect business benefits then the end-result is almost likely to be disappointing, unless however, the correct infrastructure exists for those employees returning to the workplace after class.

Without the correct infrastructure and strategy, we will see short bursts of self-motivated initiatives however, these will more than often be short-lived. We will see people flirt with designing and partially implementing things in silos until the novelty eventually wears off.

Without the correct infrastructure and strategy people will ‘talk the talk’ but not ‘walk the walk’, meaning people supporting what they say with just words from the textbook without action.

Equally, without the correct infrastructure and strategy those who fail their exam, may end up resenting anything to do with IT service management (ITSM) best practices.

Furthermore, without the correct infrastructure and strategy organisations will expose themselves to losing any knowledge gained in the event employees leave the company.

The issues highlighted lie with those organisations who are unable to embed and institutionalise the principles, methodologies and practices and therefore, placing the organisation with:

  • A sense of failure to meet the desired results

  • The realisation of the costs associated with such failures

  • Questions being asked as to whether ITIL does what it claims to do?

So, how can an organisation establish the correct infrastructure and strategy and in turn, capture and maintain the principles, methodologies and practices learnt in the classroom? Whilst there are several key factors, one significant contributor falls within ‘Organisations and People’.

Organisations and People

Culture & Roles

Definition (Cultural Fit): The ability of an employee or a team to work comfortably in an environment that corresponds with their own beliefs, values, and needs.

Firstly, we need to either redefine the term manager’ to include servant leadership or differentiate managers from servant leaders. Meaning, regardless of title, seniority or executive decision-making we must introduce and promote servant leaders. So, what is a servant leader?

The term “Leadership” focuses on the explicit support of people in their roles

Servant leaders focus on the needs of the organisation, not just their team. Servant leaders think and work holistically (end-to-end). Servant leaders ‘serve’ and ‘support’ the people they lead by ensuring they have the right resources including knowledge. Servant leaders think and work cross-functionally therefore, servant leaders thrive in matrix-based organisational structures (see the diagram at the top of this article).

So, to avoid confusion regarding the term manager’ we will use the term “champions”, or more precisely ITSM champions. Meaning ITSM champions within this document refers to servant leader responsibilities. It goes without saying that managers can also become ITSM champions (servant leaders) however, it should be highlighted that the criteria for an ITSM champion is not a manager’ by default. In other words, subordinates within a management hierarchy can become ITSM champions. It should also be said that not all managers are best suited to become ITSM champions for many reasons, such as an inability to dedicate the time due to other responsibilities that would fall into the context of ‘manager’ and therefore, introduce unwanted distraction.

In the context of ITIL, based on the organisational structure (shown in the diagram at the top of this article) each ITSM champion will have their own speciality, e.g. Create Deliver and Support (CDS), Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV), High Velocity IT (HVIT) and Direct, Plan and Improve (DPI), etc. These specialist topic areas represent the ITIL 4 certification scheme.

For clarification these specialisms comprise of:

  • CDS Champions: Serve the cultural ITSM aspects of product and services; the resources which support ITSM and how to integrate practices into value streams.

  • DSV Champions: Provide guidance on establishing, maintaining, and developing effective service relationships at appropriate levels. Leading organisations on a service journey in their service provider and consumer roles and supporting effective interaction and communication.

  • HVIT Champions: Address the specifics of digital transformation and helps organisations evolve towards a convergence of business and technology, or to establish a new digital organisation

  • DPI Champions: Help align product and ITSM with modern business requirements; drive successful organisational transformation and embed continual improvement into an organisation’s behaviour at every level.

Explained simply; When it comes to successfully implementing ITIL principles methodologies and practices etc; with consideration to the assurance that these principles, methodologies and practices are adapted to the relevancy of the business/organisation, rather than managers undertaking higher level certification courses who will struggle to drive such initiatives within the workplace, the following should be adopted:

  • Practitioners (the workforce) in their entirety should ideally undertake ITIL Foundation (FND) training in order to translate ITIL concepts.

  • ITSM Champions should undertake selected specialist higher level courses in order to become experts, protectors and advocators in the required ITSM topic arena.

ITSM Champions should not be elected based on seniority. ITSM Champions should be elected based on their personal attributes such as cultural fit, leadership and aptitude to comprehend and embrace ITIL. In crude terms, champions collectively, would form a parliament which would become the organisation’s service management office (SMO). In addition, the SMO would be primarily led by one or more managing professional and/or strategic leader designates.

In conclusion, if an organisation wants to successfully implement ITSM principles and methodologies it must aim to embed, institutionalise and introduce an in-house ITSM branding. Furthermore, the organisation must ensure that such knowledge is more readily accessible (ideally on-demand).

This can all be easily achieved without incurring significant costs through adopting a simple but effective strategy.

If you want to discuss this topic in more depth then contact me direct at:

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