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How to Manage Chaos with an ITIL Framework

I have to confess I don’t know too much about the detailed mechanics of ITIL, but I couple of months ago I got chatting to an expert, Erin Palmer from Villanova University in the US, and over the Christmas holidays he’s written up a really good post by way of an  introduction..


So you think you have IT chaos to manage? Imagine the IT services needed to tame the chaos of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate of 11 large-scale theme parks, two water parks, over 40 resorts, and a pair of cruise ships – and over 118 million customers annually. Did I mention these services also operate in all time zones across many languages and international borders every day all year long? Can you imagine an IT department of 1000?

These are the statistics from the Walt Disney Company (TWDC) case study as they took on adopting ITIL best practices in the mid-2000’s. Used since the 1980’s in the United Kingdom to manage the IT services of large governmental entities, ITIL has proven its value time and time again in a variety of large, medium, and small business settings worldwide. The IRS which processed over 236 million tax returns and collected more than $2.3 trillion dollars in revenue in the fiscal year 2009 uses ITIL, so does N.A.S.A., and a host of other business entities that aren’t nearly this big or complex. One of the reasons why ITIL structure continues to grow in popularity is that it is adoptable and flexible in nearly any business setting that uses IT to conduct its commerce.

Looking at recent ITIL case studies, several important points emerge when thinking about how ITIL might help you manage the IT chaos in your business setting, no matter how large or small.

1. ITIL processes are flexible and help manage the services IT provides as the business grows:

· Working with existing IT structures, ITIL grows the business efficiently

· Reducing redundant data storage, ITIL saves room on servers

· Centralizing data storage means increased security of company data

· Generating reports for monitoring progress is easier and more efficient with ITIL

· Increasing consistency and dependability is an ITIL goal; business is streamlined

· Maintaining the ITIL is efficient, resulting in less down time and “work-arounds”

2. ITIL best practices generates data to address IT and departmental problems pre-emptively

· Self-monitoring applications reveal areas that need attention before they become a problem

· Generating reports to track how various IT factors work together is easier and you can assess for glitches in the system before they cause a problem

· Measuring data and comparing goals across departments increases productivity and accountability

· Implementing company- wide IT standards and guidelines means less is overlooked, or repeated and that there is increased communication and cooperation among departments regarding company goals

3. Client Trust increases

· Less outages and down-time due to IT issues means increased client satisfaction

· Increased data security is a strong selling point

· ITIL provides strong back-office support which positively impacts the user’s experience

· ITIL means streamlines services that lead to faster response time when a client needs assistance

4. The ITIL structure helps team building

· When company goals are ubiquitous across all sectors progress is easier to monitor

· Each team plays a unique role in reaching company goals and can keep track of contributions toward the goals

· Teams know that company-wide standards are in place so everyone is on a level playing field when striving for a goal

· Reports are easy to generate and share regarding company-wide progress

· Communication between teams and with team leaders is more streamlined so response time can be faster when team members request changes or observe a situation where an IT adjustment would streamline services even more

· Help desk requests are processed more efficiently and data tracks trends that need more careful attention

As a business grows, the chaos of IT grows as well. By implementing an ITIL, not only can you harness some of that chaos, but you can make it work for you. By analysing the huge amount of data available to you in the ITIL framework, more specific reports are possible that indicate progress toward goals. Team building within the company is increased through the implementation of standard language, goals, and processes from one department to the next. Increased efficiency can mean increased profits, a more enjoyable IT experience, increased client satisfaction, and more “free” time for managers to promote company growth and increased profitability.

Even though your company goals may not involve IT that provides a literal thrill ride for your clients, through examining case studies of companies that have successfully adopted ITIL best practices, you may just find that the lucky star you were wishing for is closer than you think. With its internationally recognized standards of best practice, ITIL offers the possibility for unlocking greater potential and momentum for increased growth, efficiency, security, and profitability in your company no matter where you are and what service or product you provide. Chaos in the global marketplace will continue to increase; ITIL offers a proven method for harnessing the chaos and riding it all the way to the bank for those willing to put the time in to prepare, invest in, and utilize an ITIL framework to its fullest potential.

This article was submitted by Villanova University’s new ITIL training course. This course is part of the overall IT Service Management training program.