Don’t Install ITIL


By Dick Stark

RightStar held its third annual BMC Remedy User Group Meeting in Washington DC on Friday. It was a well-attended event, with most there to learn more about Smart IT and the new BMC.  My job was to introduce the speakers and to discuss what I learned at Engage, primarily for those not able to make the trek down to Orlando.  One of the Engage sessions I enjoyed the most was, “Let’s not Overthink ITIL,” which was led by BMC.  Here is a short summary.

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?  BMC began with a quote from a customer, “We failed twice with ITIL. First, we tried to implement 13 processes at the same time and it did not work. Then we scaled it to nine. Finally we focused on the processes that would impact the business and we are getting traction.”  The quotation reminded me of a recent conversation with an executive about ITIL.  Thinking he was an ITIL “bigot,” I offered additional ITIL training, especially simulation training.

His response was that he had enough training, but all he needed was to implement ITIL.  Since ITIL is a framework, I pushed back, knowing that an attempt to “install ITIL,” would probably have a similar fate as the above-mentioned BMC customer.  Instead, here are my recommendations:

  • Start with a baseline. Most organizations are at a maturity level of less than three. This executive was just getting iPhones, Androids, and iPads for his organization, which assumes a higher level of maturity and innovation.
  • Zero in on the up-front pain points. Are assets leaking out of your organization? What about service request management? At a current RightStar customer, it took more than four weeks to get an account set-up so one of our consultants had access. This is unacceptable and suggests a huge issue with provisioning.
  • Low hanging fruit. Eighty percent of incidents are caused by poor Change Management. Maybe a focus on Change will significantly reduce calls to the help desk.
  • Quick wins in round one mean we can come back in round two. If Change is working, focus on service catalog, or an “Amazon-like” experience for provisioning of everything from printer cartridges to new employee on-boarding. When done properly, this provides a rapid ROI and visible organizational success.

By using the ITIL framework, IT organizations can deliver technology services better, faster, and cheaper while improving customer satisfaction. It is like making a cake. By combining ingredients that are separately not very tasty, e.g., flour, baking powder, eggs, cooking oil, and water, you can end up with an outstanding end-product. Of course, if you are not, careful and don’t know what you are doing, you can end up with a cake that is “half-baked.”

Remember it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Focus first on those areas that will have the most impact to the business. You can have your cake and eat it too.

About dick1stark

I am the President and founder of RightStar, Inc, an XTIVIA company. RightStar is a leading ITSM and DevOps consultancy and BMC Software Elite Solution Provider and Atlassian Gold Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. In 2019, BMC selected RightStar as its DSM North American Partner of the Year for its sales and partnership excellence. Finally, in November 2020, RightStar was acquired by XTIVIA, an innovative IT Solutions Provider. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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