ITIL Case Study® Adoption – the Challenges
ITIL Case Study® Adoption – the Challenges
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Customers often come to us and say “I want to implement
Change Management.” The first thing we would ask them is
ITIL is a Best Practice standard, which people have heard of
and they think it sounds good. But often they haven’t taken
time to analyze their own organization’s issues. They don’t
really understand why they need ITIL or how it is going to
help them; instead, they implement ITIL processes because
it looks good on paper. But you can waste a lot of money
on implementing ITIL if you don’t understand your own
organization’s pain points.
CIOs need to prove they have spent their budget wisely. For
example, they may spend 50,000 Euros on implementing ITIL
processes. You would hope that at the end of the project, they
would see improvements in customer satisfaction, cost saving
and reduced incidents. But on many occasions, organizations
don’t stand back and think about what the desired outcomes of
implementing ITIL will be – they just do it and at the end of the
project nothing actually changes.
We think ITIL has to answer for itself. We don’t want its value to
be impossible to measure. If you want to do ITIL you must start
with analyzing what problems you are facing, what motivates
your customers and what you want to achieve.
ITIL is a tool to use, and it is a good one. But goals must be
clear from the outset. Think about who is your customer? Is it –
your CEO? Can he or she give you the direction you need? Or
is it your project manager? Should you go together to speak to
the boss about what the company needs?
It’s so important to set this direction first. You need to think
about who your customer is and what he wants. Goals should
be agreed together. That means talking to someone in the
organization with senior authority, and making sure they agree
with the person who holds the purse strings. For SERVIEW, if
we can’t ask these questions and get good answers then we
would rather not work with that particular customer. We feel we
would be the wrong supplier for them because without answers
to those questions we wouldn’t be able to apply the advice and
the actions that would benefit the organization.
Written by Kate Winter
You can waste a lot of money
on implementing ITIL if you
don’t understand your own
organization’s pain points.
ITIL® Adoption –
Markus Bause, Director SERVIEW GmbH
Account management can be challenging because customers
can race ahead in their decision making and we have to take
them two steps backwards to get those fundamental questions
answered. This is important because ITIL often changes the
organization structure from hierarchical to process-oriented. This
can be a difficult transition so it is important that very early on in
the project, the management team has thought about how they
want the organization to look in the future. In a process oriented
culture people take on more responsibility because they are now
accountable for the process.
We take some time to explore how we think things will be and
how functions are going to work together in the future. For
example when an incident occurs, you need to find out why. It
might be that you check with the server team, but they report that
everything is ok. The database team has a similar story and so
do applications, but at the customer business unit, the process
isn’t working. We need to find the cause of the incident quickly.
Therefore we need to appoint one incident manager who has
the authority to take appropriate action. He must be competent
and have the responsibility to be able to deal with things.
What you don’t want to create is a process manager who is
just a toothless tiger. When people realize they don’t have the
authority to change things they become disengaged and more
responsibility is laid on team leaders, adding extra pressure
for them. Instead we want a situation where the team and
management are working in harmony – they need to agree the
process and work to a set of common commitments.
Like Kotter advises, you need a guiding coalition and
management shall get the agreement of staff before they
decide on roles. People should be aware at the beginning that
they will be responsible and accountable.
How do you get buy in?
All organizations implementing ITIL will need someone who has
an expert understanding of service management. It’s ideal if
there is a senior IT Manager who can talk on the same level as
the CIO. All CIOs have the same problems whichever sector they
are working in – they want faster service, higher quality service,
cheaper service and the ability to take advantage of the cloud.
They need to think about what the critical success factors are
for the next few years and what capabilities the organization has.
ITIL can seem daunting but the reality is it is just a box of tools.
If you don’t make the conversation about ITIL but about service
management then you can get a good feeling for which services
you should provide, which services you need, and which
services you want.
If you talk about ITIL you will find that lots of people fall asleep.
Service management talks about issues that everyone can
understand – which capabilities do we have, which are the most
important services to provide etc. SERVIEW uses entertainment
tools such as Listening Books and games to help people
understand the concepts of service management in an engaging
way. They are instruments to gain understanding and address
peoples’ emotions. We believe if you can get the emotional
commitment then you can get the change you want.
We use a simulation game based on the Apollo 1
The flight was in trouble and the objective of the mission
changed from going to the moon to getting the crew back
The simulation puts participants in the Kennedy space control
centre and they are told there’s trouble (i.e. an incident) that
needs an urgent resolution or the crew will perish. Problems
unfold and it is tense; the participants can’t find the information
they need and things change quickly. After 30 minutes the
participants tell us how they are feeling. Everyone is confused;
they lack the correct information and are uncertain how to
save the lives of the crew. We encourage them to establish a
single point of contact – which is a key principle of ITIL. The
participants can then see from their own experience why a
single point of contact is so important.
We find that when people can
see and understand the higher
concepts they think about it in a
different way and become much
How do you know if processes
To make sure that the ITIL processes are working as hoped,
we advise that customers keep records at the beginning of the
project to demonstrate compliance of steps. Later they can
switch to KPIs which are measureable and repeatable. What
happens is that – over time – people stark working with the
processes, not talking about them. At that stage, you can feel
that the processes are working because change and incidents
are not discussed any more.
When you are driving a car and you reach a stop sign, you don’t
analyze the sign, you just stop the car. There are rules and you
just accept them. ITIL is a box of rules. When someone is not
questioning it or thinking about it you know it is working.
A word of caution though – it takes years to reach this stage,
so organizations need to be patient and keep working at it.
You’ve trained your people but are
Staff need to understand the theoretical basics of ITIL.
The Foundation exam is the start and strategy and continuous
improvement come later. What is important is that people can
interpret ITIL in their own environment.
It’s easy to tell if your training is good enough because if it is you
will have compliance of processes and employee satisfaction.
There are always clear signs if people are not following process
correctly. For example, in configuration management, if you
realize that the integrity of your of data in the CMS is not very
good, then your change management won’t be very good – you
will have symptoms that show the process isn’t working.
In this case, the organization will need to spend some time
understanding why the process isn’t working – is it because people
don’t understand it? Or is it because they don’t want to use it? If
it’s the first scenario then some more training might be in order – if it
is the latter, maybe staff need a better understanding as to why the
organization has decided to do things this way.
We find that for most organizations there is a percentage of people
who support the new way of working, and a percentage who don’t.
■ Normally there are 10% of people who will think it’s a
great idea and fully embrace it;
■ 40% will think it is good and might help;
■ 40% will think it is a good idea but is risky;
■ 10% will be against the idea and say they don’t want or need it.
All our simulations and games etc focus on the 80% in the middle.
If the 10% who don’t want it to work are at management level
then really for the benefit of the organization and their colleagues
they should leave. If they are at employee level then they usually
come around once they see their colleagues embracing the new
ideas. If they don’t do this then we tend to find they also leave the
organization, but there is no significant loss in them doing that.
What you are looking for is a
positive manager who has the
support of the people who work for
him or her. It is important to find out
which people support the change
and which are against it.
It is OK for staff to be constructive
in their criticism, and it is natural for
them to be cautious and nervous
about it. Good communications in
stakeholder management cannot
How do you manage risks in
ITIL is very strategic but CEOs can belittle ITIL by thinking it is
the process for operational IT. Not having senior support is the
biggest risk. Without this commitment there is a huge risk of
The project sponsor must be committed. They will go through
deep valleys from an emotional point of view, and need to
keep focused on the vision. When the sponsor comes to the
first barrier in the project, it’s important they really believe what
they are doing is right. They must ask themselves: ‘What is my
vision?’ and ‘Why am I doing this?’
These questions should be answered periodically, and usually
you will get the reassurance that you are doing the right things.
There are lots of risks associated with any kind of change
programme. The goals of IT organizations change as the
needs of customers change, or they may face a merger or
other re-structuring programme. The strategic goals for ITIL
implementation should not be inflexible – they need to be
adjusted every three, four or five months to take into account
evolving political or economic situations. Keep talking.
How do you know your service
management has improved?
It’s quite simple to work out if your service management
■ The satisfaction rate of customers will increase.
■ Try to analyze uncalculated acts against calculated
activities – for example when the organization has lots of
incidents but can solve them immediately. You may not be
able to calculate the benefit of resolving incidents quickly –
but you will know it is of huge benefit to the organization.
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SERVIEW is a training and consulting company
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