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As the velocity of the business world has increased, so has the rate of change affecting technology organizations. Innovation initiatives demand new development, implementation and support capabilities. Regulatory changes can inject large compliance projects into the pipeline. Mobile customers increasingly expect new innovative applications with upgraded functionality. Security threats and other risks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. In companies of all sizes and industries, technology leaders must cope with these factors plus many more, all the while striving for cost efficiency, increased productivity and high-quality, non-invasive security.
“ITIL implementation can be a complex and resource-intensive process, regardless of organizational size”
As a consequence of these pressures, technology leaders must be prepared to continuously transform their organizations to maintain close alignment with the business while maintaining operational excellence to ensure high-quality service delivery. Three interrelated approaches are required to manage this dynamic:
• Run IT as a business
• Realize the full potential of integrated operations based on ITIL
• Encourage a commercial mindset among all technology professionals (i.e., “know your client”)
Run IT as a Business
Running IT as a business is critical to an organization’s success. Among other things, this includes:
• Giving clients transparency into technology services and solution delivery so they understand both their respective levers and tradeoffs
• Having a robust technology talent sourcing
• Ensuring an efficient and effective deployment strategy
• Aligning cost management with the overall technology strategy and
• Basing performance management on clear measures of success in line with the business
While it can take a focused effort over an extended period to establish all of these practices, the elements of this approach can help clients gain a better understanding of the value that the technology organization delivers on their investment. The value IT brings is not merely the ability to process information; it is the capability to support the core business strategy and objectives. As a consequence of implementing the elements of this approach, the business will respond with increased confidence. The technology organization will be viewed as a partner and the provider of choice. In addition, the rigor imposed by a businesslike approach helps maintain predictable performance in an environment of constant change.
Realize ITIL’s Full Potential
Gaining the maximum benefit from running IT as a business depends on delivering services through a set of well-defined operating processes. Over the past 30 years and more, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has evolved to become the most widely accepted process foundation. Many organizations have implemented portions of the framework. By understanding how IT can best serve the priorities of the business, it is possible to select those elements of this very comprehensive framework that serves your needs.
ITIL implementation can be a complex and resource-intensive process, regardless of organizational size. For this reason, many technology leaders elect to implement ITIL in multiple phases, thereby driving continuous organizational change over an extended timeframe measured in terms of ITIL maturity. In today’s agile, cloud-scale environment, the automation of ITIL processes has become critical to successful service delivery.
In balancing competing demands for resources, CIOs and IT leaders should focus investments on development and production rather than on overall organizational transformation. Since most major IT service management applications base their internal workflows on ITIL, implementing these tools make it possible to operate in ITIL-like ways while avoiding the time and complexity involved in transforming enough to realize ITIL’s full benefits.
Adopting efficient and effective processes enabled by automated framework for rapidly developing, testing, deploying, operating and maintaining innovative technology products can prove to be a key enabler of business growth and allow companies to scale efficiently. If the technology organization can increase productivity while maintaining operational excellence and controlling costs, resources and investments can be redirected to innovation, thereby providing the business with opportunities for competitive advantage.
Business Relationship Management (BRM), a defined process within ITIL, is critical in realizing ITIL’s full potential through successful IT service management. By strategically implementing ITIL practices, IT organizations can favorably impact client satisfaction and relationships and through BRM, technology professionals gain a better understanding of the business’ needs, priorities and goals. The account management structure breaks down the barriers between various departments, allowing for more fluid, open communication and a deeper insight into improving customer satisfaction.
As part of the execution plan, management should commit an appropriate level of resources toward transforming the technology organization through ITIL. As a consequence of adopting ITIL processes in a calculated approach, the IT organization will naturally transform itself. Though the burden of transformation is not trivial, the benefits are many and will continually accrue.
Encourage a Commercial Mindset
To help their companies win in the marketplace, CIOs and IT leaders need more than just being able to run IT as a business on a solid foundation of ITIL processes. They must also consider transforming their organizational cultures so that professionals adopt a commercial mindset. By implementing strategic organizational change management, technology professionals will see themselves as an integral part of the organization’s overall success, improving their morale, and contributing to the business and the bottom line.
Technology professionals must recognize they are each an essential link in a chain of value creation that ranges from client needs to realize business values. If every technology professional learns to think about his or her role in this lateral, value-added, outside-the-silo manner, the entire IT team can come together to empower the business for greater capability, agility and success.
CIOs and IT leaders should commit to transforming their organizations to run like a business through an integrated service management approach and to help their professionals adopt a commercial mindset. By implementing ITIL service management practices, the result will be an IT capability that empowers businesses to new levels of success.
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