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Everyone else is already doing it…

Posted By Jason Stonehouse, Wednesday, January 30, 2013
In the months since Fusion12 in Dallas, there has been one phrase that has stuck in my mind more that all others. "Whether they accept it or not, all organizations are doing service management processes." While there's a good bit of truth in that statement (after all, what business does have unplanned interruptions, make changes, or even do any financial management?), there's one element of the service lifecycle that I've seen many organizations miss, and that's continual service improvement.

From a service lifecycle perspective, the key difference between successful businesses and those that are stagnant (and, as a result, losing ground to competitors) is the willingness to regularly revisit their processes and revise or even rewrite them. Many organizations look at "implementing ITIL" as a project; something with a beginning, middle, and an end. They'll pour significant resources into creating binders and trainings and tools that given them more metrics and visibility into their incidents, changes, and service catalog than they ever imagined. Once done, they'll celebrate the launch and watch the metrics (and, if they're lucky, the accolades) stream in on dashboards galore. Then, in a year or two, the whole thing will become routine and employees from the service desk to leadership will be so comfortable that they'll stop following every step of the process ("My change is so small it doesn't really need a risk assessment.") and continual service improvement will be forgotten.

Continual service improvement is not a finite process. The goal isn't implementing a tool or a process; it's changing an organization's DNA. This is disruptive, and can be very intimidating for organizations that see their own processes as immature. Undertaking the tasks of formalizing an incident management process, creating a change process, or building a service catalog can be expensive and time consuming. Once these are started, there's the effort of managing them. Where can a organization that's already stretched thin find the resources to undertake the persistent effort needed for continual service improvement?

Come join us for a practitioners' round-table on Thursday, February 21 as we discuss how our organizations are addressing the need for continual improvement, in the face of scarce resources and growing operational needs. How do you sell the value of service management? Have you found a way to effectively sell the business value of improved process?

Tags:  csi  itsmf_ne events  process improvement 

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