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IT Service Management: Best practices for improving IT efficiency

IT Service Management (ITSM) implementations can increase ROI and improve IT efficiency -- all while following the best practices guidelines laid out by ITIL and other ITSM frameworks. Learn more about how ITSM can work for you.

IT Service Management (ITSM) is becoming an integral part of IT shops. The process-based practice intended to align IT services with the needs of the company highlights customer benefits, with an emphasis on IT efficiency. For some companies, IT Service Management best practices bring about increased ROI, overall cost savings and improved IT processes.

Incorporating best practices like Six Sigma, guidelines from the International Organization for Standardization and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) frameworks, ITSM allows organizations to build strong internal structures for alignment, integration and IT efficiency. But what are the risks, if any, of incorporating these business processes? Case studies, tips, expert advice and informational resources are compiled in this briefing, providing IT executives in the midmarket with the information needed to make informed ITSM decisions.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our list of Midmarket CIO Briefings.

Can ITSM improve IT efficiency and ROI, even in a recession?

ITSM can often be a hard sell, even in a solid economy. Frameworks such as ITIL, the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) and Six Sigma have often been described as "nice to haves" and not IT necessities. But there are ways that midmarket IT executives can embrace ITSM's focus on organizing processes and workflow to reduce costs and increase customer service, even during a recession. Experts recommend you:

  • Identify up front what problem you are trying to solve with your ITSM implementation.
  • Look at processes over tools and technology.
  • Do it cheap, but keep it smart.
  • Choose your partners carefully.

Learn more about each of these recommendations in "How an ITSM implementation can help in a recession." Also:

  • Six Sigma, ITIL, other business processes cut IT costs in lean times
    Business processes such as Lean Six Sigma and ITIL are better ways to reduce your IT costs than just blindly making cuts, say Forrester experts.
  • SaaS service desk application turns IT into BPM guru with strong ROI
    A credit union transforms its service desk into a business process management facilitator with the help of an ITSM SaaS application that proves a strong ROI from year one.
  • PR firm grows up with IT Service Management
    As his company grew, the director of technology at a midsized PR firm realized his company's ad hoc approach to IT Service Management needed an upgrade.

Is an ITIL certification a good idea?

Continuing education and the pursuit of ITIL certifications can benefit both employees and employers during the economic downturn, in terms of building IT skills and improving IT operational efficiency.

Firms hire workers based on their skill sets. While many organizations understand the value of developing IT workers' skills, others discard employees when skills no longer align with a company's needs. In their responses to employee surveys, it's no wonder that respondents list stagnation as a top fear.

For those interested in developing business-oriented IT skills, ITIL certifications teach new approaches and offer the value of having an IT certification. Educational groups take great care to combine theory with practical application to help students not only pass certification exams but also internalize the theory and how to apply it.

Get more information in "ITIL certification builds IT workers' skills in economic downturn." Also:

  • ITIL creator endorses ITIL tools certification
    For the first time, Britain's Office of Government Commerce is endorsing an official ITIL compliance framework for auditing ITIL software and processes. Here's why.
  • ITSM guidance: An expert video series
    ITSM best practices, including ITIL, ISO and COBIT, allow organizations to build strong internal structures for alignment, integration, security and more.
  • ITIL cert: Industry game changer
    Can the new ITIL certifications turn IT from a "collection of cowboys" into a profession? They'd better, says an ITIL author.

What should midmarket companies keep in mind when implementing ITIL?

When considering ITIL, you have to ask yourself: Where's the return? If you can't answer that question, then don't do it, advises Larry Killingsworth, an IT consultant at Seattle-based consultancy Pultorak & Associates Ltd.

This is especially true for midmarket firms, where resources are limited. "If you can answer that, then go for it," he said. "To blindly follow because some guru said so is just foolish."

Learn more about implementing ITIL in the midmarket. Also:

  • ITIL vs. MOF: Find the best IT framework option for the midmarket
    The IT Infrastructure Library's increased complexity is difficult for midmarket CIOs to embrace, argues CIO Niel Nickolaisen. That's why he turned to the Microsoft Operations Framework.
  • ITIL service support: The midmarket's sweet spot
    ITIL service support offers resource-constrained midmarket CIOs best practices to help with service-related problems and business process improvement.

What are common ITIL implementation mistakes?

ITIL is implemented in companies worldwide to change and improve processes within an organization. With ITIL, everything is changing -- organizational change as much as process change.

But change doesn't always come easy. Organizations often make mistakes within the first year of an ITIL implementation, and that's normal. Some common errors:

  • There is no vision.
  • Leaders think top-down commitment isn't necessary.
  • Leaders don't think they need a business case. They know why ITIL is important and why they're implementing it.

Learn more in "10 ITIL implementation best mistakes and fixes." Also:

  • Targeted IT communications key to ITIL implementation success
    Many companies are implementing ITIL without considering the importance of an IT communications plan. Get expert advice on ways to target your IT communications for ITIL success.
  • ITIL: Top five tips to kick-start your strategy
    Make sure your ITIL V3 strategy is solid with the tips and resources offered here.

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