Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:35 am Post subject: ITIL Oversight, Communication of Progress and Business Value
Dear ITIL Community,
One of the promises of ITIL besides standardized and aligned IT processes, is improved transparency and value communication of IT services to the business community.
I believe, the foundation for better value communication should already be established during the introduction and implementation of ITIL into an organization, i.e.: by treating the ITIL implementation itself as a program, setting goals for what the organization wants to achieve with it, measuring the performance against those goals, and communicating the progress to the business stakeholders.
The same approach is then used to track and communicate process performance on an ongoing basis and to facilitate continuous process improvement, providing, what I would like to call “ITIL oversight”.
Now, one might argue that this is already taken care of by the ITIL metrics (or KPIs).
However, I have the impression that the typical ITIL metrics (e.g.: number of incidents, number of RFCs, % of RFCs backed out, etc...) are on a level that is too detailed to really communicate value to the business (like not seeing the forest for the trees).
Furthermore, most software tools that are used to support the ITIL processes from an operational perspective (e.g.: Tivoli, Remedy, etc...) and that can produce reports on those detailed metrics/KPIs fail to provide a comprehensive view across all IT functions and, more importantly, fail to demonstrate how these KPIs relate to the overall business strategy (or how they fit into the value chain).
I also acknowledge that there are other frameworks, such as COBIT (and specifically ValIT) that attempt to close that gap, but I believe the difficulty is in the execution of how to tie these different approaches together (i.e.: problem of relating/mapping Cobit and ITIL concepts and KPIs).
So my questions to the ITIL community are:
(1) Do you share my viewpoint, that communicating the progress, value, and contribution of ITIL on an ongoing basis to the business stakeholders is important and is still underrepresented? If not, why not?
(2) What, if anything, do you use to enable “ITIL oversight” by the stakeholders in the business community of your organization and to communicate the value of ITIL on an ongoing basis to them?
(3) In general, how do you report ITIL KPIs in your organization? (What works and what does not?)
I am looking forward to your feedback! Thanks in advance.
1) yes, I fully agree. Reasons: as ITIL is supposed to increase the quality of services delivered to "customers", no much communication effort is perceived (communication being seen as required essentially to sell "bad news" not good ones), despite the fact that moving to ITIL is a CHANGE (and a major one) that requires all change management efforts...
2) in my mind they are only 2 points of interest for them: money and contribution to the business processes and their goals (which somehow turns also into money somewhere).
3)Balanced Score Cards seem a good solution , aligned with core business processes not any technology.
I agree with you that the Balanced Scorecard is a good methodology to show the business community how the IT processes contribute to the overall business strategy and value chain.
I guess the challenge is really in bridging the gap between the high-level KPIs that are associated with the Strategic Objectives of the Balanced Scorecard and the very detailed KPIs that are suggested for ITIL so that the business stakeholders can actually see and understand how improved performance in IT service management impacts the KPIs that they are typically looking at in the scorecard (i.e.: to demonstrate the cause-and-effect relationship between the two areas).
Why is there so much focus on the minutiae of the processes in the context of ITIL themselves?
Is it worth fine-tuning the details of a process if it is not really understood how the process in general contributes to, or impacts the overall performance?
Wouldn't it be better to get a "rough cut" of the core processes in place, then start monitoring their impact to the overall performance and, based on that, add details and improvements to those process areas, that have a bigger impact on the overall outcome?
The ITIL approach STARTS from the business: strategies, priorities, requirements. The processes ,and spécially the level of maturity required to answer those needs (not every company requires to be fully mature in all the processes) are "designed" and implemented to best support those requirements => it is therefore assumed "logically" that they will contribute. So in measuring the performances of the processes that are implemented, we are supposed to check a certain level of compliance with the business needs/expectations.
As you pointed out, that leaves the communication with business partners as a big issue: knowing that we (IT) contribute to the business success and that the processes work fine is not enough; we need to be able to show it.
In order to achieve this, I would suggest to use balanced score cards with specific KPIs that make sense for the business. There was another post on the subject, but that can typically include indicators like: total cost of unavailability over the past month, average delays in implementing a change, ratio of IT costs spent in Run vs Build types of activities, and so on... _________________ JP Gilles
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