American business expert Tom Peters once said that excellent firms "don't believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change", and this is a quote that sums up the ITIL Continual Service Improvement philosophy very well.
As the world's most respected IT service management framework, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become a key tool in the inventory of any organisation looking to achieve ongoing and consistent improvement in their IT services.
As the fifth component in the ITIL Lifecycle – after Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation – the Continual Service Improvement component of the ITIL framework offers organisations a proven method of aligning and realigning existing IT services to better suit changing business needs.
What is Continual Service Improvement?
Your organisation is never static. It is a constantly evolving and developing entity, adjusting to the needs of stakeholders and consumers alike. As such, it is important that the IT services you deliver to customers evolve and develop as well.
The process of Continual Service Improvement involves driving improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness and value of IT services and IT service management processes. While this is not a new concept, it is one that is becoming increasingly important in today's competitive IT landscape.
Organisations today can no longer afford to wait for failure before initiating change. Instead, they need to be on the forefront of innovation and identifying potential areas for improvement in a proactive, rather than reactive manner, in order to ensure they remain at the forefront of their industry.
How does ITIL drive Continual Service Improvement?
The ITIL perspective on Continual Service Improvement specifically focuses on assessing past successes and failures in order to determine how future processes and initiatives could be improved to achieve greater organisational results.
In order to drive this assessment, ITIL draws on the Deming Cycle of quality improvement, which was designed by American engineer and management consultant W. Edwards Deming.
The Deming Cycle is constructed from four main components – Plan, Do, Check and Act. Organisations looking to improve IT service management need to ensure they are paying due attention to each of these four steps; preparing a thorough project plan, initiating the plan, auditing the success of the plan and acting accordingly.
ITIL also provides a Continual Service Improvement model that helps your organisation identify opportunities for improvement, through understanding of business objectives and implementing the necessary measurements and metrics.
In addition to this, ITIL also emphasises continued momentum – that is, embedding Continual Service Improvement as a philosophy across the whole organisation. By encouraging this change in mindset, organisations can ensure they will continue to grow and develop moving forward, and not allow previous improvements to fall by the wayside.
How can I learn more about Continual Service Improvement?
ALC Training offers a comprehensive free-standing qualification on the Continual Service Improvement component of the ITIL Lifecycle stream.
This course is ideal for IT leaders such as CIOs, CTOs and other managers, as well as IT service designers, architects and planners. However, the Continual Service Improvement course can benefit many other individuals in the IT service world, and is well worth the consideration regardless of your current role.
Candidates who participate in this course will benefit from an improved understanding of the principles, processes, methods and techniques of ITIL Continual Service Improvement, and will also learn about how to successfully implement this ITIL component in their organisation.
There are currently ITIL training courses scheduled in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – for more information, contact ALC Training today to find out how an emphasis on Continual Service Improvement might benefit your organisation.