The next stage of IT Service Development

There’s no doubt at all that ITIL has transformed the way that Service Desks operate.

ITIL processes, particularly in respect of incident and problem management, have brought structure and consistency to the IT support operation, and this has led to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

My own experience of implementing ITIL was instructive; initially IT staff weren’t too sure about it (I think they though that it would be used to assess their personal performance, or maybe to justify cutting posts), but the team eventually bought into it when they realised that it would make their lives easier. And of course, the ITIL qualification always looks good on a CV.

One of the most satisfying parts of the project, for me anyway, was publishing the stats to demonstrate just how many calls we were dealing with on a daily basis. Many people in the business were really surprised at the amount of work the Service Desk got through, and it was nice to hear that the team were, probably for the first time, properly appreciated.

Having said that, it wouldn’t be accurate to conclude from that that ITIL solved all our problems. There were still complaints about IT, particularly with regard to engagement, and still a lot of people who didn’t really understand what the role of IT Department should be.

Having reflected on this, I think that while ITIL made a huge improvement to the service from a process point of view, there were still some behavioural issues that needed to develop.

I’ve mentioned before that IT teams are (predominantly) made up of introverts, and I think that this has a large bearing on how IT Teams are perceived, particularly in organisations which place a high value on personal contact and communication.

So what sorts of things can we do to build on ITIL, and improve our service even more?

I raised this with some non-technical colleagues recently, and they suggested that IT should be more outward facing, less defensive, more confident in describing successes, and should try to get more involved in the day to day business.

“We don’t really know the IT Team” was a comment that struck home; there was a perception that IT staff (with a couple of exceptions) were stand-offish, cold and unfriendly. My view was that this was a bit harsh, but I could see how someone might gain this impression.

So the next phase in IT Service development, I believe, has to be behavioural. ITIL has sorted out the processes, but the next stage will involve building stronger relationships with the organisation and becoming appreciated for who we are, as well as what we do.