Bringing it under control, the ITIL story part 1

IT Service Management (ITSM) using ITIL as a Best Practice framework has been the next forward step of my web career. Last week I received the results of the 3 day course in ITILv3 so now I’m certified to Foundation level at least. But the story of how I started using ITIL and where it’s going as part of my job description begins about a year ago.

What I would like to do here is document my efforts to implement ITSM into our organisation but to give context I’m going to start with the history. Why do this? I think being able to reflect on progress and development of both the work and myself will ultimately lead to a better understanding of ITIL, ISO20000, and ITSM in general.

In The Beginning
We are a web based portfolio system with a membership of about 150k, using highly bespoke instances of the same software. All data hungry, complex and subject to high levels of change and significant customer support and interaction. Note that the customer and the user are not generally the same person. The customer is the provider to their members, trainers or trainees who are users. We are part of a larger organisation based in the NHS, and our senior management passed down the directive that we were to get ISO 20000 accreditation.

So it fell to me to deal with the planning and implementation of processes that would make us ISO accredited, the question was, how to achieve this. All I had was a list of official ISO process document templates, such as MP11 – Incident Management, MP14 – Change and Configuration Management. So not really processes per se, but collections of processes that interlink with each other. And so ITIL comes to the rescue. Having tried initially using Visio flow diagrams (more later about these), and text to describe them, and some associated metrics things started to come together but it was difficult to see how to (a) make this practically work within the the team, and (b) how to achieve our more desirable goal of improving service to our customers. And that’s what it’s really all about.

Current status
So where are we now? I have ITIL v3 certification just confirmed, so now I have at least some idea about what we want to achieve at a practical level, how to get there, measure it, act on it, and importantly, keep it ongoing. Also needed is software to support the ITIL framework. At the moment I’m looking at an open source system called OTRS (www.otrs.org) which has a specific ITSM plug in that seems to tick a number of boxes but is mainly destined to replace the existing support queue software (as “Support Team” get renamed “Service Desk”). I’ve to demo this next week to the team with a view to piloting it, so which this space.

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