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Next Practices in Business Service Management



Are People the Forgotten Part of ITIL within BSM?
by Peter Doherty

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Keyworth’s (Editor) Note: One of our newest BSMreview experts, Peter Doherty of Computer Associates (CA) in Australia, questions the anticipated BSM role of people and culture within IT service management roles.  Peter calls out the critical need for better alignment between business and IT (BSM), and identifies how that fundamentally changes the success metrics of IT Service Management, and consequently ITIL processes, in the new world of BSM.

A cultural shift is taking place in IT departments – they are now being required to talk, measure, manage and deliver in terms of the business service consumed (BSM), not the terms of IT Metrics used in the past. Customers are looking for a catalog of business services represented in business terms with choices relating to cost, service level and quality of service commitments.

To accomplish this task, many IT organizations are turning to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®). However, turning to ITL without truly changing the organizational culture can lead to failure. They need to pay more attention to the “people” part of the people, process and technology elements found in ITIL guidelines.

If you don’t have engaged and motivated people executing on the ITIL processes, or using the technology in support of those ITIL processes, then there is little chance of realizing the full benefit that you envisioned at the beginning of your ITIL initiative and ITSM program.

With that said, how do you fix this outside of budget re-allocation? You must address three essential areas:

  • Communications
  • Learning
  • Leadership

If we use readily available techniques to increase our attention to these areas, we should see engagement increase - not only in the ITIL initiatives and the ITSM program – but across the IT organization.


Many people ask me when you should start the Communications Plan for an ITIL initiative; the answer is simple.  If you want to be successful, you start it the day after you get the business case signed off. One of the key tenets of ITIL is awareness-keeping people informed so why not start right away.

The Service Management Communications Program needs to look at the key delivery points of the ITIL program and make sure that the messaging is consistent and reinforces the benefits to people. This will consist of general information and communications that is targeted to individuals based on their roles.

The communications can range from newsletters, tricks and information for doing things, roles and responsibilities, advertising training, specific benefits and projected metrics. Communicating operational metrics is a good way to keep advertising the benefits that ITIL is bringing to the organization.

The key message here is that communications need to have messages tailored to the individual. If you can achieve effective communication, you have a better chance of succeeding.

Learning Tools, Techniques That Work

Some organizations think that publishing new processes on an intranet and offering a user guide are the only requirements for education. However, when people are not engaged, those programs will struggle for ROI.

A Service Management Learning Program should look at the roles people will play and the skills (from a process and technology perspective) that are required to fulfill those roles. This is a similar concept to the ITIL® V3 “Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed” (RACI) model for things like Change Management. Once we set up these matrixes we can deliver very accurate, targeted levels of learning. We also want to develop internal ITIL champions to help spread the word.

There are a few tools and techniques that organizations can use in their quest to attend to the people part of ITIL and enhance the learning process.

Simulation Programs and Workshops

  • Allow participants to design, execute and improve process and technology enablement in a controlled and safe environment
  • Foster understanding of not only the “how” but also the “why” of each step of their Service Management processes
  • Provide the opportunity for people to immerse themselves in ITIL and Service management processes and look for continual improvements as they move from round to round of the workshop


  • Allow for live broadcast of sessions including presentations and live technology feeds or recorded for later playback and review
  • Provide an ability to tailor training for various Service Management roles and responsibilities
  • Can be created and run from individual desktops to help people better understand the process


Use Cases
ITIL-based Use Cases also can be created to test whether a given tool is supporting the process as required. Keys for success include:

  • Demonstrating the key functions that most users will be required to perform
  • Combining them with process modules to create a powerful learning tool for distribution prior to going live with an ITIL process
  • Asking users to take part in the User Acceptance Testing part of a program – either formally signing off on the Test Cases or informally performing tasks in the Test environment

Developing IT Service Management Leaders

A good ITSM leader makes sure the team understands the IT service management goals, the benefits in achieving those goals, and how the benefits affect everyone as a group and individually.

One method typically used in business process improvement that works well for leading an ITIL implementation is Plan – Do – Check – Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDCA).


  • Develop shared goals and assign the activity around them by getting to know the team – who they are and what drives them to succeed
  • Create a formalized plan for communicating overall progress reports to their team and their business constituents
  • Garner backing and buy-in from the CIO or other senior executives
  • Involve senior executives in project kick-off meetings to demonstrate leadership support


  • Set the example and establish a culture where the senior executives follow the process like any other team member


  • Establish a culture where the team can speak freely and challenge decisions and processes without repercussion
  • Measure processes and compare results against expectations


  • Make decisions

Once the team has planned, executed, examined and questioned -and possible changes have been recommended- a leader must make the decision on whether or not to act upon the recommendations. This then starts the cycle over again.

Leaders also understand the importance of rewards and recognition beyond the formal review cycle and are sure to call out success in their team as it happens. The team executing the processes is in the best position to remove waste and inefficiencies, and a leader will find ways to inspire the team to find these opportunities and will ensure team members are recognized and rewarded.

If you review the three segments on people being the forgotten pillar of ITIL, the common theme suggests that organizations develop a culture of actively coaching and mentoring their teams for IT service management success. 
If you put some effort into communications and learning, you will see great improvements in the motivation and engagement of your people and thus improvements in your process and technology. When you start turning out leaders instead of managers, the improvements can be staggering.

































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