Continual service improvement is a must for IT services to continue to exist and be relevant. We all agree its importance and the need to implement it. But how does it get started? What triggers it?
This is an important question you must ask when you architect the CSI process. If you do not define the triggers, then you might as well send the process to the cold storage.
What can trigger an improvement? A subpar service parameter? A problem on hand? Lack of efficiency? The shortcomings such as this bring about the need to improve. We try to improve ourselves after finding the pit or somewhere close to it that doesn’t fit our liking, isn’t it?
In an IT service management environment, there could be various triggers that can get you to think towards making improvements on the service that you have offered to your customers. The list is not comprehensive, but it might very well be what you are desperately looking for:
Feedback from the customer
Findings from a compliance audit
Historical knowledge of the issue on hand
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Various reports that get published – daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly
Any of these could get you to improve one or more important aspects of your service.
For example, you conduct an internal compliance audit to check if the delivery teams are complying with the defined and implemented change management process. In the course of the audit, you find out that a couple of normal changes have been implemented as emergency changes to cut through the bureaucratic approvals and stringent timelines. Along with giving the team a non-compliance certificate, you can trigger an improvement opportunity with your CSI manager to tighten the controls around the change management process to ensure none of the normal changes slip through the sieve, and into the bucket of emergency changes. While you tighten the controls in the change management process, you are indeed improving an important aspect of a service that deals with control and stability, which otherwise could result in unwarranted outages and data losses to the customer.
I sincerely hope that you have grasped the idea of defining triggers for improving services, and the example quoted above has given you a broad insight into the world of interfacing between various processes and process activities.
My next article on continual service improvement will be interesting. In the quest to make ITIL lean, I propose that the CSI process can in fact replace an existing process, a process that is quite popular amongst organizations today. A process that is inimitably part of most ITIL implementations worldwide.