Category Archives: General

What is ITIL?

ITIL is a public framework that describes Best Practice in IT service management. It provides a framework for the governance of IT, the ‘service wrap’, and focuses on the continual measurement and improvement of the quality of IT service delivered, from both a business and a customer perspective. This focus is a major factor in ITIL’s worldwide success and has contributed to its prolific usage and to the key benefits obtained by those organizations deploying the techniques and processes throughout their organizations. Some of these benefits include:

  • increased user and customer satisfaction with IT services
  • improved service availability, directly leading to increased business profits and revenue
  • financial savings from reduced rework, lost time, improved resource management and usage
  • improved time to market for new products and services
  • Improved decision making and optimized risk.

ITIL was published between 1989 and 1995 by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in the UK on behalf of the Central Communications and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) – now subsumed within the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). Its early use was principally confined to the UK and Netherlands. A second version of ITIL was published as a set of revised books between 2000 and 2004.

The initial version of ITIL consisted of a library of 31 associated books covering all aspects of IT service provision. This initial version was then revised and replaced by seven, more closely connected and consistent books (ITIL V2) consolidated within an overall framework. This second version became universally accepted and is now used in many countries by thousands of organizations as the basis for effective IT service provision. In 2007, ITIL V2 was superseded by an enhanced and consolidated third version of ITIL, consisting of five core books covering the service lifecycle, together with the Official Introduction.

The five core books cover each stage of the service lifecycle, from the initial definition and analysis of business requirements in Service Strategy and Service Design, through migration into the live environment within Service Transition, to live operation and improvement in Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

Five Innovation Principles

To drive growth through innovation, you must embrace the following five innovation principles into your own unique approach:
Principle 1: Innovation Must Be Approached as a Discipline
To practice innovation as a discipline means first and foremost that you distinguish between creativity (coming up with ideas) and innovation (bringing them to top- and bottom-line results for the company).
Companies sometimes seek to promote creativity, by, for example, sending their people to facilitated brainstorming sessions. In a cover article in Inc. Magazine several years ago, a reporter was allowed to participate in one such session at a leading ideation center, and write about the methods used. The article detailed how a team of managers from a mid-sized food company facing flat sales growth was led through various proprietary lateral thinking exercises and came away with 75 high potential ideas. But three years later, we were told that not a single idea became a product that made if into the marketplace. Blaming the firm’s “corporate structure and management,” the spokesperson lamented that “It’s hard to get ideas through an organization.”
Such sessions are incredibly fun and often produce lots of new possibilities and plenty of excitement. But nothing happens because innovation, or inventing the future as it’s sometimes called, is not a discipline, and ideas, no matter how good, get pummeled by the pressures of the present.
Principle 2: Innovation Must Be Approached Comprehensively
Innovation can’t be confined to one department or an elite group of star performers. It cannot be assigned to a skunkworks far afield from the main organization and insulated from the company’s bureaucracy. It must permeate the company, and it must encompass new I products, services, processes, strategies, business models, distribution channels, and markets. It must become part of the DNA of the entire organization.
A comprehensive approach to innovation means that it becomes the responsibility and way of operating of business units and functional departments, whether purchasing, operations, finance, or human resources, just as much as it is for new product development or marketing.
Principle 3: Innovation Must Include an Organized, Systematic, and Continual Search for New Opportunities
Back in the early 1990s, AT&T’s top brass allowed a small unit of its planning department to call itself the Opportunity Discovery Department—ODD, for short. This band of maverick thinkers gave itself the task of shaking up the giant company’s thinking. One day in 1995, members of the unit donned sandwich boards that read: “What if long distance were free?”
While the question was dismissed as “ridiculous and irrelevant” at the time, five years later the firm’s long-distance revenue was declining so rapidly that the company sought to sell off its long-distance unit at fire sale prices. Clearly, today’s seemingly irrelevant question could quickly become tomorrow’s threat—or opportunity.
Principle 4: Innovation Must Involve Everyone in the Organization
In most organizations today, new ideas are almost always directed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. Not only do most organizations not expect their people to innovate; they don’t really expect them to think. Nearly two-thirds of the managers and workers surveyed by Kepner-Tregoe, a leading training and consulting firm, said their companies don’t use even half their brainpower. More than 70 percent compared their organizations to a “slow moving truck,” blaming the condition on a failure to involve employees in decisions and a lack of training or rewards.
Beyond a seldom-used suggestion system for cost-saving ideas, most companies have no way to stimulate or harvest the good ideas of their people. Not so at companies that are designed for continuous, all-enterprise innovation. The assumption that lower-ranked managers and rank and file employees cannot come up with powerful, growth-producing, breakthrough ideas is viewed in these firms as a paradigm unfitted to 21st century reality.
Principle 5: Innovation Must Be Customer-Centered
Innovation-adept firms live and breathe the customer. They know that the customer is fickle, whimsical, and always difficult to predict, but they don’t let that stop them from trying. They also know that creating value for the customer is the only route to success, and that while you can fool some customers all the time, and all customers some of the time, ultimately, the reputation and acceptance of “new and improved” products, services, and service offerings had better deliver.
Because today’s customer is more sophisticated, with more information available at the touch of a keyboard to compare and contrast an ever-increasing array of value propositions, the discipline of innovation means learning to listen to customers and potential customers in new ways. And it means inviting the voice of the customer to permeate the design and implementation of new concepts, if those ideas are ultimately going to drive growth.
Source of Reference:Robert B Tucker, Driving Growth Through Innovation, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.