What is ITIL?

Organizations focus heavily on processes and technology to deliver service excellence to their customers. Following a set of industry best practices and frameworks allows companies to realize their objectives easily. This directly influences productivity and improves customer satisfaction. But, the key here is to adopt only those best practices that are necessary and suitable to your business model. This helps in providing excellent service support and delivery.

IT Infrastructure Library, ITIL is a set of best practices for an effective IT Service management, ITSM is followed across companies of all sizes. ITIL enables businesses to handle IT issues and service requests efficiently by assigning clear roles and responsibilities. It helps individuals and organizations to realize business growth and transformation. The primary objective of ITIL service desk software is to continuously improve the way IT support services are delivered. Today, ITIL is widely adopted by many organizations to streamline business operations. So, what does ITIL include? ITIL includes a set of different processes that can be implemented based on organization’s needs and maturity. Service desk ticketing systems of IT and other functions adopt the best practices of ITIL to streamline their processes and workflows.

Overview of ITIL service lifecycle

ITIL service lifecycle consists of five stages. Each stage has a set of ITIL processes and it is significant to understand the purpose of each process before implementing. However, companies may selectively implement few processes that are necessary.

  • Service strategy - Service strategy involves clear understanding of customer’s and market’s needs. This advocates a long-term market driven approach to deliver IT support. Service strategy include strategy management for IT services, service portfolio management, demand management, financial management for IT services and business relationship management that focuses on customer satisfaction.
  • Service design - This is an holistic approach to design a support service. The right service design approach translates to higher customer satisfaction and usability. Some of the ITIL service design processes include service level agreement, service catalog management, availability management and IT service continuity management.
  • Service Transition - This stage ensures changes in service lifecycle are handled with minimum risk and impact so that there is minimal or no downtime. Some of the processes here include change management, release management, configuration management database, knowledge management.
  • Service Operation - ITIL service operation ensures seamless service in day to day business activities. Actual delivery and consumption of services happen during this stage. This has a direct impact on the productivity of end users. Typical processes include incident management, request fulfillment, problem management.
  • Continual Service Improvement - CSI aims for process review and improvement throughout the service lifecycle. This is applicable to all service stages including strategy, design, transition and operation. Metrics definition and performance review happen at this stage which help companies to revisit existing process.
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Overview of ITIL processes

Let us discuss some of the core ITIL processes that are commonly used across service desk ticketing systems and their benefits.

Incident Management

Service desk ticketing system is the single point of contact for end users to report any issue that affects their normal routine. Incident management aims for speedy recovery from any kind of service disruption. Incident management enables IT teams to resolve incidents quickly by configuring multiple channels and setting up automations to remove manual work. Incident management process flow includes incident logging, classification, prioritization, investigation, diagnosis, resolution and closure.

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Problem Management

The Problem Management team is responsible to perform a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and to find a permanent fix/workaround for recurring incidents. It is recommended to have an effective communication strategy and to follow a proactive approach to avoid any major incident occurrence. Problem is one or more incidents with an unknown root cause. Problem management maintains a known error database, KEDB whose solution is unknown.

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Change Management

Change management is responsible for evaluation and planning of a change with minimum risk and impact to the current ecosystem. Change management process starts with change evaluation, planning and getting necessary approvals from Change Advisory Board, CAB. It works closely with other ITIL modules such as Incident, configuration management to manage infrastructure and CIs that are affected or going through the change.

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Release Management

Once change management is completed, it is followed by a release management process that has a specific deployment schedule. Change execution happens with the help of release management process. Release planning includes detailed build and test plan. You need to ensure that the change is tested well and this is followed by a post deployment review as a part of Continual Service Improvement, CSI.

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Asset Management

Companies handle different types of assets that include IT and non IT assets. Asset management tracks asset configuration, asset state and asset owner. This improves governance and helps during asset audit. Asset lifecycle management ensures assets are tracked from stock till disposal stage along with cost incurred at each stage. Asset ROI analysis and contract renewal become more efficient with asset management.

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Service Request management

Companies fulfill different types of service requests such as onboarding, reimbursement, new hardware or software request etc. Automatic approval management for service requests eliminates manual intervention and improves time taken to resolve. Service catalog is a family of service items which delivers a shopping cart like experience for end users.

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ITIL Adoption mistakes

Most companies tend to commit one of the below mistakes while implementing ITIL. They often ignore the bigger picture and implement processes without any purpose. This leads to unnecessary overhead and creates confusion on purpose of these processes.

  • Lack of ITIL Understanding and Vision
  • Assumption of ITIL as a compliance
  • Lack of initial planning and evaluation
  • Implementing ITIL as a big bang project
  • Following one size fits all approach
  • Not involving stakeholders during implementation

When should you implement the ITIL process?

There is no right or wrong time to implement an ITIL process whereas it all depends on business needs and priorities. Before implementing an ITIL process, understand the objectives and what problems you are trying to solve. Start small while implementing ITIL processes by taking a phased approach rather than a big bang implementation. Identify the critical function and implement core processes such as Incident management, problem management and change management to start with. Continuous process review is important to ensure process goals are compatible with business goals. Ensure process owners are identified and assigned with clear roles and responsibilities.

Role of ITIL in ITSM

ITIL is a catalyst to IT Service Management, ITSM. Are you confused whether your organization needs an ITIL service desk or not? Here is a list of primary reasons why you need to implement an ITIL based service desk ticketing system. Some companies might use subset of these processes

  • Seamless service delivery and operations
  • Manage chaos within your organization
  • Better alignment of IT process with business vision
  • Make informed decisions
  • Reduced cost and resources

Checklist for successful ITIL Implementation

  • Understand ITIL process goals before you implement
  • Start small by implementing necessary processes
  • Measure performance improvement, redefine service desk ticketing system processes if necessary
  • Extend ITIL service desk best practices to other teams

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How ITIL fits into IT organizational structure?

It is generally a myth that ITIL implementation requires organizational restructuring. But in reality, adopting ITIL process requires understanding of current organizational structure and implementing processes that are required. Start with ITIL service operation that includes Incident management, problem management and service request management. Build dynamic teams to collaborate effectively and set clear roles & responsibilities for every member. Implementing ITIL does not disturb the current ecosystem rather it improves transparency and boosts the overall team efficiency. It is important to classify your IT team into different groups based on expertise so that clear goals are set.

Help desk vs service desk

Help desk aims to resolve issues and to restore normalcy. Help desk is mostly reactive which receives issues from end users and provide resolution. Help desk is keen about volume of tickets resolved and time taken to resolve. Help desk is the face of IT support and it mostly handles tactical operations. Service desk is responsible for entire IT support and services which includes service request management, change management and asset management. Service desk is strategic and collaborates with other functional units to streamline support. Service desk follows a holistic approach to align business and IT vision. Proactive problem management is carried out to avoid any major incident occurrence. Service desk is an extension to helpdesk with an exhaustive set of functionalities and aims for service excellence.

Differences between the ISO 20000 standard and the ITIL framework

Companies focus largely on getting ITIL / ISO certification, instead focus on the value created for customers. There are many similarities and differences between these two frameworks but they complement each other.

  • ITIL is a book of best practices and ISO 20000 is a standard
  • ITIL is descriptive whereas ISO 20000 is prescriptive
  • With respect to certification, ITIL certification is specific to an individual whereas ISO 20000 applies to an organization.
  • ITIL focuses on process definition whereas ISO 20000 provides specifications on requirements

ITIL small scale implementation

ITIL is not designed specifically for any industry/organization. Small scale industries can also implement relevant processes from ITIL framework. Follow an incremental phased approach for ITIL small scale implementation. For small scale industries, cost is an important factor to consider. Therefore it is important to start small and implement only the necessary processes. Ensure that the long-term vision is clear to every stakeholder during ITIL small scale implementation. There are many iterations to ITIL version. ITIL v3 is an extension of v2 with more focus on strategy and execution. ITIL v3 follows a service lifecycle and recommends service oriented framework whereas ITIL v2 focuses more on process. ITIL v3 follows an integrated approach while v2 follows a traditional silo team structure.

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Why should you implement Freshservice ITIL service desk?

ITIL service desk implementation is vital to improve efficiency. You can align your ITIL service desk goals with business goals to stay relevant. Freshservice is an ITIL aligned service desk solution that offers contemporary features for an effective IT service management, ITSM. Customize Freshservice at ease to meet the ever-changing demands of your end users. Freshservice is packed with intelligent automation features to automate mundane service desk activities.

  • Efficiency booster - Freshservice is packed with intelligent automations to eliminate redundant tasks. Therefore, this improves efficiency and productivity of IT team
  • Process alignment - Freshservice is aligned with ITIL best practices and ITIL processes such as incident, problem, change, release and asset management are available for you. Configure these processes based on your business needs and maturity.
  • User satisfaction - The easy-to-use UI of Freshservice offers a great user experience. Improve your end user satisfaction by implementing Freshservice, an ITIL service desk.

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