7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs ITIL

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ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library Management. ITIL is not ITSM; instead, it builds on existing IT service management practices while providing a number of valuable benefits. We’ll explain what ITIL is, how it relates to IT service management and the many benefits your business could realize by adopting ITIL. Here are 7 reasons why your business needs ITIL.

An Overview of ITIL

IT service desks tend to see activity when things go wrong. Whether it is a single user’s computer freezing up or a critical system going down, resulting in hundreds of calls, the IT service desk’s job is able to handle what goes wrong.

IT service management, or ITSM, has become the standard operating procedure for many businesses. ITSM replaces the model where IT was focus solely on handling individual customer complaints and more on systems. Yet service desks tend to lack the formal processes that minimize the odds of problems occurring in the first place. That’s where ITIL comes in. It shifts the IT service organization from reacting to proactively addressing issues.

Your Customers Appreciate It

Implementing ITIL has been found to improve customer satisfaction with IT services. It tends to improve customer communications with the helpdesk. A Forrester survey found that more than 80% of businesses that adopted ITIL believed it improved service quality as well as productivity. That’s understandable when every IT service is governed by a single, systematized process. It is a repeatable action done per a proven process, instead of ad-hoc and potentially piecemeal.

ITIL results in minimal downtime, such as streamlined system updates and upgrades. Your customers and employees both appreciate that.

Your Helpdesk Wants It

Many customers and helpdesk staff alike get frustrated when the internal helpdesk is asked to do things that aren’t within its purview. ITIL makes it clear what is the help desk’s job and what isn’t. When you adopt ITIL, it becomes clear where someone should go for various types of problems. Then they don’t blow up at helpdesk personnel who cannot help them, and the helpdesk staff aren’t spending time dealing with calls they can’t do anything about. The end result is improved productivity for helpdesk personnel in addition to reduced frustration for customers.

Another benefit of formal processes that are themselves created, managed and maintained because of ITIL is that change itself is managed. If you’re changing hardware, software or entire systems, ITIL makes it a controlled process. Now upgrades, changes and evolution don’t turn into chaos that your IT staff has to deal with in addition to their customers.

ITIL implements change in a controlled manner. It allows you to keep track of the current as-is state and map out the most efficient way to get to your designation. All the while, you’re monitoring service levels and customer portfolios. This allows businesses to be agile and maximize value creation.

The end result is completing IT projects in up to half the time with minimal risk of failure. By having a set process for change, there are no last-minute add-ons, untested features that end up causing problems for customers and angry calls to the help desk when they’re already dealing with their own learning curve. IT staff appreciate the standardized IT process documentation, since it gives everyone the ability to see what the correct process is and straightforward instructions on how to complete it. Studies have shown that this increases the number of incidents fixed the first time the customer calls by 20%.

A side benefit is the systematic knowledge capture ITIL brings. No one is allowed to be the only person who knows how to perform a key function, risking everything grinding to a halt if they go on vacation or quit.

The formal change management process gives IT staff the ability to say, “we aren’t doing that in this release”, and it prevents problems with someone adding a fix on their own that ends up creating problems for others.

Another benefit of ITIL is that it streamlines, simplifies and standardizes IT interaction across departments. When the hardware person discovers the issue is the software or vice versa, there is a streamlined process for handing off tickets. No one wonders where to route the request, and no customer’s request is lost in the process.

Your Bottom Line Needs It

A Gartner report found that businesses that implement ITIL saw reduced costs in developing IT procedures. Aligning with ITIL eliminates redundancy and improves resource utilization. Both of these reduce costs without sacrificing service, directly contributing to the bottom line. Because the IT service desk is as optimized as possible even as technology changes, you’re able to deliver more for less. For example, studies have found that implementing ITIL reduces support expenses by nearly a third. This improves your business’s competitiveness. An intentional direct benefit of ITIL is encouraging the automation of tasks and functions to improve efficiencies but doing so in accordance with a broader plan, thereby maximizing efficiency. ITIL makes it easier to identify synergies, too, that you may want to scale up or copy in other parts of the organization.

Your Partners Want It

Whether you’re outsourcing IT functions or working with a distributed workforce, ITIL makes it easier to set up and maintain a common platform of support. The standard procedures and the processes for formulating and maintaining them supports working with disparate groups much smoother. And operating under a common framework reduces the steep learning curve for anyone else you bring in to provide services. Even if you don’t bring in third party service providers, an ITIL-aligned IT helpdesk is better prepared to scale up their operations.

ITIL also aids businesses when integrating functions across business divisions or departments. Whether you’re considering buying a smaller company and bringing them into the fold or coordinating with a partner, including coordinating IT functions to support a joint project, being able to say your IT department runs under ITIL is a major plus.

Continuous Process Improvement for Your IT Department

Another benefit of implementing ITIL is that businesses gain a systematic way of learning from past mistakes so that they don’t repeat them in the future. Service improves by design. Customers indirectly benefit from the fact that ITIL makes customer satisfaction and other performance indicators something that staff pay attention to and seek to improve as compared to the number of tickets closed or non-value-added metrics. As each new service failure is investigated and the root causes identified and corrected, you end up with continuous process improvement in the IT department.

It Can Be a Selling Point

Businesses that have adopted ITIL can tout this fact to customers and business partners, since it is proven and used worldwide. The fact that a firm is using ITIL shows that they’re managing risks and controlling change without sitting there in the tried and true methods slowing going obsolete.

When your employees have some sort of ITIL certification, you instantly become more attractive to partners that understand that this certification brings with it knowledge of IT management best practices. That’s why it would be wise to offer ITIL training to your employees, regardless of where you are in the standardization and regimentation of your IT department. If you’re looking for online ITIL courses, you can unearth ITIL training options here.

Managers Benefit from It

When a business implements ITIL, reporting on IT help desk activity is simplified. It is easier to keep track of tickets and their resolution. How large is the ticket backlog? What are the main issues that aren’t getting fixed? Now managers know where to devote resources or can understand an issue that is getting worse and needs to be addressed. You can compile information on prior issues and how they were resolved, potentially avoiding reinventing the wheel when trying to determine how to resolve an unusual problem.

Information technology has too long been seen as a Wild West, a place full of potential, but dangerous chaos as well. ITIL brings controlled, documented change to the IT department while saving time, money and effort.

 

By Nina Mosely

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