By R. Arun Prasath, CIO, EverestIMS Technologies
Sophisticated IT services are no longer the province of large multinationals alone. They are also within reach of the average enterprise. The SMEs of today are managing an increasingly complex array of IT assets. It faces a few challenges, such as managing the overall quality of IT and understanding and controlling the costs.
Fortunately, SMEs can also leverage these technologies to enter broader markets and the world of virtual offices, monitor their business activities in real-time and improve customer relationships. This possibility is primarily due to low-cost data storage, mobile technologies, and high-speed communications. One such technology-enabled solution that SMEs have access to is IT Service Management (ITSM).
ITSM provides cohesive management of IT with a formal structure. Essentially, ITSM enables the management of environments focusing on output; that is, what users and stakeholders are actually getting out of IT. This model operates from two levels:
- Continuous improvement of IT delivery for the end-user
- Enhanced alignment between IT and the business
SMEs must have a solid handle on the diverse IT infrastructure to achieve success on the above fronts. They must acknowledge that their service management begins with taking total ownership of the user/ customer experience, i.e., everybody who affects the customer experience is on the same team. Therefore, SMEs will need to implement a service delivery model, which is where ITIL comes in. ITIL uses a service management model to define what is delivered to end-users and what the business gains.
What is ITIL?
At its most basic level, ITIL is a set of best practices that helps IT enterprises provide reliable and consistent service to end-users at a cost that the SME can afford. As IT has evolved, several new and complementary frameworks have also emerged. However, the basic principles of quality improvement have not changed, and they apply to enterprises of all sizes.
ITIL’s basic structure helps establish a suite of combined processes to provide a comprehensive and cohesive structure to the SME’s IT as a whole. This management structure includes:
- Service desk: It is a single point of contact for documentation and a receptor of all feedback, making it the hub for information related to the service management process.
- Two categories of services: Quality of service to end-users and cost and quality of IT to the business
Continuous improvement of the service and assessing the cost of making the service more reliable is where the effective implementation of ITIL comes in.
How can ITIL benefit SMEs?
ITIL applies to a wide range of IT scenarios. For instance:
- Scalability: ITIL principles can be used to create processes for SMEs of all sizes. ITIL can help track incidents, record configurations, and manage escalations, be it for a one-person help desk or a large enterprise.
- Flexibility: One of the tenets of the ITIL community is to adopt and adapt. This means taking the ITIL principles and using them as required in the SME.
- ITIL is all about teamwork: SMEs that embrace ITIL work without putting up barriers between different stakeholder groups. ITIL ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal.
- Consistency of quality: Continuous improvement plays a significant role in maintaining quality standards, regardless of issues, be it in the service, application, network, or hardware, etc.
SMEs may be daunted by the prospect of ITIL implementation, fearing that they lack the resources. However, they have the advantage of being more adaptable and flexible across all stakeholders and have closer relationships with their customers. These attributes give them an edge while adopting ITIL in all its capabilities, taking them that much closer to an improved ROI.