Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval Africa
Technology is constantly evolving and organisations need to adopt the changing technology in order to maximise their benefits. But remaining agile and flexible enough to do so can lead to chaos if a company doesn’t have the right processes in place. According to Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval Africa, the service lifecycle defined in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides the ideal framework of processes to ensure that a business’s service offering remains competitive in a technology driven market.
“ITIL’s service lifecycle comprises 5 consecutive stages, each providing a guided roadmap towards the ever moving destination of full business maturity,” says Carbutt. “These stages are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. Contained within each stage are the processes which utilise the various elements of best practices of ITIL.”
Service Strategy is the first stage of the ITIL service lifecycle, when developing a new service. Carbutt explains, “The Service Strategy stage guides an organisation on how to develop service management strategies that will differentiate itself from its competitors and give it a market advantage. ITIL provides guidelines to assess all aspects of the organisation’s service portfolio in relation to its customers’ needs so as to approach its IT and ITSM operations proactively, and effectively address those needs.”
Carbutt adds that following ITIL guidelines at the Service Design stage aids the organisation to use its strategy to develop IT services, products and processes that will meet the desired outcomes of that strategy. He goes on to say that the importance of Service Design is often underestimated, adding that the purpose of this stage is to establish solutions to meet the requirements delineated in the service strategy stage to the best benefit of the organisation.
“The third stage, Service Transition, outlines processes and best practices for effective building and deployment of the newly developed IT service, product or process. It helps to guide an organisation on how to efficiently and productively implement the new services without disrupting current services and processes, ensuring seamless integration and ongoing customer satisfaction. This is critical for any company who needs to carry on with business as usual while implementing new – or changed – services.”
Service Operation gives advice on how to go about the day to day management and delivery of IT services and covers the fulfilment of user requests, service failure resolution, problem fixing, and operational processes. Carbutt says, “It is essential that organisations continue to run smoothly, reliably, efficiently and cost effectively throughout the operation of this whole process, and ITIL’s best practices assist in making sure that this happens.”
Finally, Continual Service Improvement brings us full circle, providing processes to manage the continual improvement of the IT service’s effectiveness and efficiency. “Continual Service Improvement is not the final stage, but rather the stage that underpins all other stages and the individual processes they contain. It effectively restarts the lifecycle, taking us back to Service Strategy,” says Carbutt. “Continual Service Improvement starts with knowing where change is needed, and gives processes to analyse the business’s IT service strategy, identify areas of improvement and look for ways to improve. It continually forces us to ask the question: How do we keep the momentum going?”
Despite implementing new services without negatively impacting customer experience, it is vital that the organisation does not settle for merely providing ongoing customer satisfaction. “The business needs to strive for optimised IT maturity,” says Carbutt. “IT maturity is when the IT and ITSM processes are fully aligned to the strategic business and IT goals, and are virtually “institutionalised” within IT and the business. It is a goal that organisations need to constantly reach towards. Always improving. Always seeking optimal ways to ensure quality IT service delivery, and quality service delivery in general.”
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