Although many companies are turning to ITIL to help them construct and implement the most effective IT service management (ITSM) strategies possible, few realize – until it’s too late – that the tips ITIL provides are merely meant to serve as guidelines. ITIL doesn’t necessarily take one, step by step, through the process of designing and deploying specific IT service workflows.
As a result, companies often struggle to refine and restructure their IT service operations to successfully conform to the best practices that ITIL highlights. In this post, we will provide some helpful and valuable tips for effective IT service process design.
1. Assess Your Current Processes
Chances are, you’ve already got certain processes in place. But, before you go “back to the drawing board” and re-design an existing workflow, you’ll first want to take a good, hard look at it. Evaluate it closely, task by task. This will help you determine exactly where the biggest problems or inefficiencies exist in your IT service desk operations. It will also let you know what steps or activities may be working well, so you can incorporate them into the new process.
2. Use ITIL as a Head Start
While the advice and best practices outlined by ITIL alone are not enough to build and implement and complete process from end-to-end, they can give you a great head start. Instead of designing your new IT service process from scratch, use ITIL as a basis, then tweak, enhance, and expand it, as needed, to meet your own specific requirements.
3. Work as a Team
Always take a consultative approach to IT service desk process design, and ensure that anyone affected by the process in actively involved in the design phase. Solicit their feedback and input throughout. This will garner full support for the new process, and make it more likely that those responsible for executing related tasks will follow it accordingly.
4. Consider Technology Carefully
Every process comes complete with technology requirements. Whether you already have an existing IT service management solution in place, or you plan to purchase a new one, be sure that tool is closely considered as you are designing – not after the fact. Otherwise, you may find yourself with technical specifications that simply cannot be met. You’ll also want to make sure that the ITSM solution you choose is flexible and customizable, and can be easily tailored to work with the process exactly as you designed it.
5. Test and Validate As You Go Along
Don’t wait until the process is fully designed to try it out. Test it incrementally, in phases, and collect feedback from the team. If you find a problem along the way, you’ll only have to refine a few activities and workflows – as opposed to completely starting over. Many experts even recommend prototyping the IT service process within your ITSM tool as you go along, so any test you conduct will more accurately reflect how the process will play out in real-world scenarios.
6. Educate All Stakeholders
Nothing will help ensure compliance with your new IT service process better than keeping stakeholders involved and informed – particularly once it is ready to be put into action. Once the process has been designed, educate them on their roles and responsibilities, and demonstrate how consistently following the workflows outlined in the new process will benefit them.
7. Enforcement is Key
There’s no sense in spending countless hours designing, testing, and refining a new process if nobody is going to follow it. Once your process has been created and implemented, it is important to put a “checks and balances” system into place, to monitor adherence and ensure that stakeholders are sticking to the plan.