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ITIL Best Practices to Revive Your IT Service Management

As a guiding framework, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) functions to help IT keep pace with the organization’s needs and goals. With companies accelerating their digital transformation projects, the adoption of ITIL best practices can help organizations stay focused on IT goals and consistently provide exceptional service to customers and employees.

ITIL Best Practices

ITIL best practices cover a vast range of fields when it comes to assisting IT Service Management. Here’s a quick overview of where ITIL is applicable:

  • Asset Management: Staying on top of replacement costs, refresh cycles and contract renewals is key for Asset Discovery Services. CMDB will help you discover, identify and track assets; plan for changes; and respond to issues with an understanding of CI configuration history and blackout and maintenance windows, as well as impact maps.
  • Change Management: Tech is the heart of your organization, so maintaining a stable IT infrastructure is crucial. Even the most carefully executed IT deployments can fail and lead to unplanned downtime if proper change management processes are not in place. You can facilitate new technology and maintain existing services by using a single ITSM platform to organize and manage the plans, execution and communication. It’s crucial to ensure that the implementation of new technology is executed without disruptions in ongoing services.
  • Incident Management: When you run a help desk fast routing, grouping tickets and a great communication platform are paramount. ITIL outlines that a problem is the root cause of one or more incidents; the defining factor being that each has a somewhat distinctive critical path. Each of these needs your attention.
  • Release Management: The ability to maintain an uninterrupted level of the services you provide is critical when implementing new technology. With an ITSM solution that aligns with ITIL, you can follow the release management process and keep your production environment running smoothly. You can also leverage standardized methods and procedures for efficient and prompt release management; minimize the number of related incidents; gauge performance; and communicate with those impacted. Sometimes a release can evolve into a new full-on project, you’ll need a system that allows you to pick up where you left off. With a single platform approach for ITSM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM), you’ll never have to jump between systems.
  • IT Service Desk Management: With the increase in remote work and virtual workplaces organizations are looking to technology to connect with clients, customers, employees and users. A great internal service desk is a huge piece of keeping your ITSM running smoothly through clear communication and problem-solving.
  • Knowledge Center Management: Knowledge-Centered Service(KCS®) tracks and documents as problems arise, creating and cataloging content along the way, building up a knowledge base (KB). KB articles are real-time assets that can be used by both users and technicians. Create relevant KB articles based on real issues.
  • Endpoint Control: It is critical to have a reliable antivirus and anti-malware solution, monitor its effectiveness and be smart about backups in order to thwart ransomware attempts. TeamDynamix IT Service Management offers out-of-the-box integrations with Kaseya and other solutions to help you do just this.

As organizations gear up for accelerated adoption of advanced technology initiatives, many organizations are looking to find ways to improve IT maturity and streamline internal processes to manage the influx of demand. Managing resources in this environment while ensuring clear and valid communications among stakeholders is a unique challenge.

As a set of practices that provides practical and strategic guidance for service management, the main goal of ITIL is to improve the business service. The business service will be enhanced when its support system—the specialized capabilities of the process, people, suppliers, and technology—is optimized. Providing a self-service solution for ITSM is a consistent hurdle for many organizations. A lack of self-service is consistent with lower ITSM maturity. ITIL can help improve this.

Seven Keys to Laying a Strong ITSM Base with ITIL Best Practices

Here are some key steps to laying a strong base for ITSM using ITIL best practices:

  1. Understand the business requirements: The first step in implementing ITIL best practices is to understand the business requirements and the services that IT must provide to meet these requirements.
  2. Define the scope of ITSM: Define the scope of ITSM and identify the services that IT will be responsible for delivering. This will help ensure that the IT services are aligned with the business requirements.
  3. Develop a service catalog: Develop a service catalog that lists all the IT services and their associated service level agreements (SLAs). This will help manage customer expectations and ensure that the IT services are delivered in a consistent manner.
  4. Create a service desk: Create a single point of contact for all IT service requests and incidents. This will help ensure that all requests are handled in a consistent and timely manner.
  5. Establish ITIL processes: Establish ITIL processes for incident management, change management, problem management, and service level management. These processes will help ensure that IT services are delivered in a consistent and efficient manner.
  6. Implement a configuration management database (CMDB): Implement a CMDB to manage all configuration items (CIs) and their relationships. This will help ensure that IT services are delivered in a controlled and predictable manner.
  7. Monitor and measure performance: Monitor and measure the performance of IT services using key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that IT services meet the needs of the business.

ITIL Best Practices in Action

Many institutions are implementing ITIL to ensure they have a common vocabulary and methodology surrounding request fulfillment and incident response. 

Increased demands for online and blended learning experiences put pressure on higher-ed IT organizations, but IT budgets are staying static or even decreasing. 

TeamDynamix ITSM makes a positive impact when paired with ITIL in higher education. Yancy Philips, IT Team Director for Indiana State University, explained how their old basic ticketing system that was used to manage the delivery of IT service “served its purpose for many years, but as we started to adopt more ITIL best practices and worked to improve our service delivery, we knew we needed something more.”

That something more was TeamDynamix. 

“People are thrilled with our service now,” Philips says.

Likewise, in an ever-connected world, state and local governments need to provide new services and keep up with changing needs while often balancing tight budgets. 

Implementing ITSM best practices enables organizations to standardize and optimize the way they respond to the ever-increasing demand while keeping operational costs low and customer satisfaction high. 

Dusty Borchardt, Business Systems Manager for Oklahoma City, said that they adopted the ITIL framework more than 15 years ago. He explains that they’d had effective processes in place for a while, but they “haven’t had a decent toolset to manage them” until they utilized TeamDynamix’s ITSM platform.

“TeamDynamix has brought simplicity to our operations,” Borchardt says. “This is the first IT Service Management platform we’ve implemented that everyone loves to use.” 

Proper Change Management Relieves the Stress Caused by Unforeseen Issues

Putting in place ITIL’s change management process helps mitigate unforeseen issues and downtime that arise from inadequate planning (or lack thereof) and controls. By documenting changes, organizations can stop the rise of significant—and often avoidable—issues.

Proper change management is a core component of the ITIL framework. For organizations looking to improve their maturity around IT Service Management, this is a great place to start. From the rollout of new technology to changes in processes or procedures – change management is everywhere. Without proper change management principles in place, an organization may struggle to deliver results and drain valuable IT resources in the process. 

Change management is important because it helps to ensure that changes are made in a controlled and consistent manner, minimizing the potential for disruption to critical business systems and processes. Without proper Change Management, changes can be made without adequate testing, planning or communication, which can result in downtime, lost productivity and even data loss or security breaches.

Effective change management involves several key steps, including identifying the need for change, evaluating the potential impact of the change, developing a plan for implementing the change, testing the change in a controlled environment, communicating the change to all affected stakeholders, and documenting the change for future reference.

For organizations undergoing rapid growth with limited IT resources, change management should be a priority. At Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) they were struggling with unforeseen issues after each technology-related change. Using TeamDynamix for their ITSM, they were able to build out a comprehensive and well-thought-out change management strategy to address their issues.  

“We set up a special form within the system called a change form, and whenever a production change is pending, we have the technical lead fill out that form,” Geri Hein, project manager within the university’s IT division, said. For larger changes, the change form is routed to a change control team that consists of Hein, a business analyst, the managers of the university’s IT infrastructure and database groups, and the IT director. 

This process has increased communication within the IT team and helped with troubleshooting problems. 

Now, whenever a change is coming, the key people who need to be aware are automatically notified in advance, so they can weigh in if they foresee any risks or dependencies in order to ensure a smooth transition. Changes are linked automatically to the ticket calendar feature within TeamDynamix, so IT staff can easily see which changes were made on which days. 

“If there’s a problem, we can go to the calendar and determine whether it was related to a particular change or not,” Hein said. “There have been a few instances where our infrastructure team made changes that we didn’t think would cause problems with our ERP system, but they did. [Because of the change management process] we were able to track it back to the right source and easily resolve the issue.” 

Adopting ITIL best practices can lead to massive success and benefits for your organization across the board. The ITIL Glossary gives a good look at the implementation, management, and quality of IT services that meet a company’s needs. By choosing a robust set of ITIL best practices, you can foster strength between the core functions of your organization and the IT services and develop a more even-keel approach to the service environment throughout a state of constant change.

Want to hear more about ITIL best practices? Watch top CIOs explain the difference between simply adopting ITIL and truly embracing it, including the roles education, technology and institutional support play in the overall vision.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated with new information.

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