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Does Organization Size Matter With ITIL?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019, 12:55 Hrs

Does organization size matter with ITIL?

ITIL is a framework that describes several processes that are systematized around service lifecycle stages. The objective behind these ITIL processes is to apply key principles that allow the achievement of a common goal.

These five service lifecycle stages include:

  • 1. Service strategy,
  • 2. Service design,
  • 3. Service transition,
  • 4. Service operation, and
  • 5. Continual service improvement

For example, the Service Strategy stage is comprised of the following processes: Strategy Management for IT Services, Service Portfolio Management, Financial Management for IT Services, Demand Management, and Business Relationship Management.

If we take the example of the Financial Management for IT Services process, its objective is to manage the service providers accounting budgeting and charging requirements.

Even with such an intricate constitution of lifecycle stages and their processes, one would assume that to adopt ITIL means to implement all its processes to the letter. It is, however, essential to understand that this is not necessarily the case. In fact, organizations (both large, small and everything in-between), that wish to adopt ITIL, often need to adapt its guidelines to their specific needs and their specific circumstances. Professionals who have achieved an ITIL foundation certification can prove to be beneficial for such organizations.

Benefits of the ITIL framework

The benefits of ITIL are not just directed towards improving information technology services but also extend to cover business issues and compliance issues as well. The framework is widely used by large and small organizations alike, across a wide range of industries. This means that there is an active community of experts and resources available to assist whenever necessary. Some of the other additional benefits of ITIL are as follows:

  • ITIL enables IT to become a central and strategic part of a business. Essentially, ITIL aligns business with IT.
  • ITIL also allows businesses to be agile and stay ahead of the competition by focusing on innovation and providing a better customer experience that is structured by a set of defined best practices and processes.
  • ITIL easily integrates with 3 rd party project management systems which means that workflows can be optimized, collaborations enhanced and visibility across multiple teams in an organization improved irrespective of the systems being used.
  • ITIL has processes that allow businesses to perform root cause analysis, review performance, resolve issues, and prevent future incidences from happening. The net effect is that ITIL makes businesses more reliable in the long-term.
  • ITIL is customer focused by ensuring they are kept happy through the provision of adequate services to enhance the customer experience based on customer needs.
  • ITIL allows organizations to monitor and control their budgets because it includes processes that provide clear visibility in service-oriented models.

Organization size does not matter for ITIL adoption

With so many large organizations using ITIL, one can be tempted into thinking that ITIL is only used by large organizations. This assumption is further compounded by the fact that for a long time ITIL was mostly referenced in the context of large organizations. Furthermore, small organizations have inherently different structures which implies that there will need to be some adaptation in the implementation of ITIL for small organizations as compared to much larger ones.

Here are a few of the differences between small and large organizations with regards to ITIL:

  • Small organizations have fewer resources used to achieve their objectives
  • Small organizations tend to emphasize flexibility and nimbleness over process and structure to gain a competitive advantage
  • Small organizations only tend to plan strategically when confronted by a major crisis or change
  • Organizational structures tend to be dynamic and informal in small organizations

Even with all these differences and the tendency for a ‘large organization only’ narrative, size does not really matter when it comes to the adoption of ITIL. Small organizations can have the upper hand when it comes to implementing ITIL in some cases.

For example, small organizations tend to have fewer people which means that there tends to be less disagreement. An effect of this advantage is that ITIL can be implemented a lot faster in a small organization. These small organizations can hire professionals who are experienced in implementing ITIL and have proven their abilities through the ITIL Foundation certification.

As for the resource deficit that is often associated with small organizations, the key to successfully implementing ITIL is in thoroughly understanding the principles and ideas behind it so that it is easier to make informed decisions about which specific processes address which specific needs. More importantly, when small organizations understand ITIL, they can adopt the parts that are useful to solve real problems or challenges that they have.

How small organizations can adopt the ITIL framework

Below are a few ways that ITIL can help small organizations to reach their short-term and long-term objectives:

  • ITIL can provide small organizations with useful strategy, structure, and knowledge to facilitate business growth and expansion.
  • ITIL can be tailored to conform to specific needs. When the most pressing needs of a small organization are prioritized and the ITIL processes that address those needs implemented, then a lot of benefits can be derived from ITIL. Essentially, ITIL can be implemented in parts, and there could even be some benefits of this approach.
  • In the same way, processes can be streamlined or prioritized, and roles can be condensed as well. In essence, several people do not need to take responsibility for roles as described in the ITIL guidelines. Depending on specific needs and available resources certain roles could be merged under one person, e.g., an incident manager and a problem manager can be the same person instead of two different people.
  • ITIL can help to develop a strong organizational culture irrespective of the size of the organization. A fundamental understanding of ITIL’s strategic thinking, customer-centricity, and continual improvement is enough to support any small organization to become successful in the long-term.

Conclusion: key takeaways

To implement ITIL for a small organization, it is essential to keep these key points in mind:

  • It’s important for small organizations to appoint a process owner to take charge of the implementation, and accountability of ITIL guidelines.
  • Although ITIL processes shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, it is important to remember that processes allow users to understand critical related principles that will enable an organization to achieve a common goal. As long as the fundamental principles are understood, then ITIL can be implemented in a small organization.
  • Small organizations can pick and prioritize the parts of ITIL that will work best in their circumstances. ITIL adoption should therefore not be in question as long as some parts of it can be useful.