As far as functions go in an organization, the service desk comes alive only when something goes wrong. A computer goes down or a software expires or during an important release or deployment or event, the server does something it shouldn’t do. The result is a frantic flurry of activity to get things back in working order.
This can be great fun if your system and hardware are all good, and all you are doing is watching a colleague having a hilariously bad day; this something to be filed away for use during after-work drinks. But it sure as hell isn’t anywhere near funny when you are at the receiving end. And when that (inevitably) happens, the first thing you’ll be frustrated at is the lack of processes that would have ensured that such lapses happen as rarely as possible. The second thing you’ll be frustrated at is the fact that there isn’t a set of steps to be followed in such situations; damage-control in this case being as important as ensuring that it never happens.
If put succinctly, this is why your organization should be implementing ITIL. But that’s not the whole story.
A Gartner reports says that “..(on implementing ITIL) clients have identified improved customer satisfaction with IT services, better communications and information flows between IT staff and customers, and reduced costs in developing procedures and practices within an enterprise”. In another Forrester survey, results showed that more than 80% of businesses believed that ITIL had improved their organizational productivity and service quality.
But then there’s the long answer as well, to what ITIL can bring to your organization, and why it is important.
Here you go –
1. Makes it easy to work with partners
Thomas Friedman’s flat world was a reality even before these extraordinary times of the internet and businesses without borders. And such circumstances mean having to partner & buy from vendors continents away, to sell to organizations on different time zones. Which means that a common platform of support and quality can help you work in tandem much more easily, especially when all of them are using the same approach to service and support quality as you are. With businesses becoming more and more dependent on IT, a common framework removes the need for lengthy, time and effort consuming learning cycles.
2. It’ll make clear what your service desk can do, and can’t
Manhours many are lost when people wait for things that their internal helpdesk isn’t responsible for. Employees aren’t to blame for this; they just don’t know. But when such knowledge is made transparent through a system that is easy to peruse, go through and glean information from, employees and users know exactly who they need to go to for what. This clarity just makes things easier on all fronts. The saved time of course goes straight into productivity, and cumulatively, the costs controlled by ITIL will add up.
3. Makes it easier to scale
The biggest benefit of implementing ITIL early in your organization is that when you scale, your infrastructure and systems will not suffer. This is the biggest problem that SMB’s face internally; their systems and processes don’t grow with them, resulting in growing pangs that affect almost everything the organization does. And if dependability on hardware and systems is significant, the probability of descending into utter chaos becomes high. Alternately, an ITIL-aligned service desk would have taken care of a such a transition with ease, eliminating redundancy, strengthening central processes, and improving resource utilization remarkably. Of course, the peace of mind that comes with that is a bonus.
4. Improves quality of service
Every organization wants its internal ops to be as squeaky clean, proactive and fast as possible. But there’s only so much that excel sheets and lists can keep up with. Which is why an ITIL implementation can take you away from primitive software and hardware management practices that are typical of organizations stagnant and stationary in thought and execution. Finding themselves confused and tied up internally, they’re unable to respond to innovation and competition. And all of this because of basically not keeping their house in order. An ITIL implementation makes sure that past mistakes are learnt from, performance indicators are paid attention to, and the cost of achieving such service quality is justified.
5. Improved efficiencies on the floor
With improvements in service quality, turn-around and resolution timeframes, and the overall smooth functioning of processes, ITIL-aligned organizations are much more efficient and productive than organizations running on random blueprints. Smoother processing and proactive support means minimal downtime and delays, keeping employees, users and customers happy. With customers demanding more for less, and the exponential increase in global competitiveness, efficiency is not something to be strived towards, it is a given. ITIL is one of the means to that end.
The last decade saw ITIL adoption among the world’s biggest corporations, as they saw the advantages in embracing a framework that would simplify management of business interests across many different product lines, of supply chains across continents and employees and offices in almost every major city in the world.
- Procter and Gamble publicly attributes nearly $125 million in IT cost savings per year to the adoption of ITIL, constituting nearly 10% of their annual IT budget.
- Shell Oil utilized ITIL best practices while overhauling their global desktop PC consolidation project, potentially saving 6000 man-days working days and 5 million dollars.
- VISA reduced incident resolution time by at least 75%, Sallie Mae’s ITIL implementation resulted in a reduction in length of help desk calls by 40% and improved the rate of first-call resolution to a two-year high.
If large organizations, with all their complexity and bureaucracy are achieving so much success and results by embracing ITIL, there are no barriers to what SMB’s can do if they simplify and automate their processes and bring them up to speed with the rest of the world. The possibilities are endless.