Do you also think,

  • “ITIL is just Incident, Problem & Change Management. And yes, CMDB!”
  • “ITIL is a rigid set of tools, procedures, and processes and if you don’t follow what’s in the books, it’s not ITIL.”
  • “ITIL is for infrastructure or production only.”
  • “ITIL is only for big organizations, and it requires too many people.”
  • “ITIL doesn’t require any formal training, it is just common sense or a tool that will fix it all.”
  • “You don’t need to worry about culture when adopting the ITIL framework.”

If your answer to any of above is Yes, this article is for you!

Misconception #1: “ITIL is just Incident, Problem & Change Management. And yes, CMDB!”

Well, this misconception is incorrect. In essence, ITIL covers the entire life cycle of a Service/Solution/Product, right from its inception (aka, ‘kick-off,’ ‘initiation,’ ‘envision’) where ‘VALUE’ for the service is created, thereby supporting the complete service/solution/product lifecycle as an approach.

It involves practices such as management of Strategy, Portfolio, Finance, Demand, and Customer Experience function, with purposes of establishing Business Relationship Management for customer collaboration and loyalty.

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Misconception #2: “ITIL is a rigid set of tools, procedures, and processes and if you don’t follow what’s in the books, it’s not ITIL.”

ITIL is sometimes treated as a standard, which it was never meant to be. Businesses enforce this inflexible structure upon their employees, and it is often met with resistance. Despite what some people think there is nothing called an ‘ITIL way’.

As a resource, the very nature of ITIL is ‘adopt and adapt’ mindset which encourages users to tailor the best practices to their needs. If something fits your requirements, great, use it. If it does not, tweak it or do not use it.

Misconception #3: “ITIL is for infrastructure or production only.”

Many people associate ITIL with managing incidents and problems focusing on break/fix scenarios. But practices such as Lean, Agile, DevOps cannot be complete without ITIL for a holistic solution involving SDLC plus warranty.

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Misconception #4: “ITIL is only for big organizations, and it requires too many people.”

I have encountered several people who believe ITIL is not for their organization as they “don’t have and can’t afford to employ 26 process owners”.

Initially, ITIL may seem overwhelming and people think they need a big team to make it work. However, when taking the time to consult the ITIL guidance it is clear organizations of any size can use the framework.

A tailored approach

  • Just because ITIL has 26 processes, and each one must have a Process Owner – that does not mean having 26 different people each doing one of them. The roles can be assigned to existing employees in your organization with relevant skills and experience.
  • You do not need a minimum number of ITIL people to work effectively within a business. But what you do need is senior management buy-in. To get that, you need to communicate the business benefits clearly in a way that will show the tangible, positive changes it will bring to the organization and how ITIL will help with the pain points.
  • Another very common denominator for problems across teams is lack of role clarity: clearly documented ITIL processes can be used by businesses of all sizes to bring clarity to roles and responsibilities.

Misconception #5: “ITIL doesn’t require any formal training, it is just common sense or a tool that will fix it all.”

A lot of people believe that if they implement an ‘ITSM tool’, it will fix all problems in their business. And it is easier to implement a tool than a process.

Unfortunately, both these viewpoints just are not correct!

Often, while IT teams trying to adopt a full ITIL process, they instinctively just change what is possible within their silo, i.e.  going from Tool A to Tool B. While they may end up with a better Incident Management system or have SLAs implemented, it is questionable whether the proposed way of working, or a target is something that the business also requires.

Alongside a change in approaches and practices, ITIL requires a genuine collaborative cultural shift of a whole business. Otherwise, organizations will not achieve the transformation they are aiming for.

Misconception #6: “You don’t need to worry about culture when adopting the ITIL framework.”

Moving from one framework to another should not affect the organization’s culture too drastically but going from home-grown processes and methods to a structured framework can be quite daunting.

There are steps an organization can take to manage the company culture which will help a change initiative run smoothly:

  • Involve employees from the start – Brainstorm what is working and what is not with your employees. The more involved they are, the smoother the change will be. Reassure the most affected that they have value and a voice. By asking them to help shape the change, their worth to the organization is acknowledged.
  • Take the help of ITIL professionals and experts – Take professional advice that allows you to take advantage of each of the recommendations offered by ITIL methodology. An expert can clarify any doubts that may arise and ensure each process is executed properly according to the requirements of the business.
  • Break down larger changes – Larger changes can be broken down into smaller parts, which will make them easier to work through and can make them less daunting for potentially reluctant employees.
  • Embrace the fact that ITIL is not an immediate problem solver – ITIL does not bring with it a recipe for immediate efficiency but represents a transition that depending on the requirements of each business can vary widely in the amount of time needed to be successful. The effective coordination between processes, people and technology can take a considerable period. But there is no doubt that if these best practices are applied correctly, the organization will be able to enjoy the benefits progressively.

About the Author –

Gouri Mahendru

Gouri is part of the Quality Management function at GAVS, handling the Operations and Delivery excellence within ZIF Command Centres. She is passionate about driving business excellence through innovative IT Service Management in the Digital era and always looks for ways to deliver business value.

When she’s not playing with data and pivoting tables, she spends her time cooking, watching dramas and thrillers, and exploring places in and around the city.