Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Marching Slowly Forward with ITIL

The adoption of industry standards is not easy. Even if it were, Higher Education does not tend to join the vanguard for information technology (with the recent exception of BYOD, for which many industry leaders looked toward the successful model in higher ed). So we, like many peer organizations, are only now starting to implement IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices for IT service management (ITSM). 

During the first year of our journey (July 2011-June 2012), we focused was on education and awareness; through a combination of online training (via Element K  - now SkillSoft) and classroom training we have achieved 75% training and certification despite also completing four major ERP upgrades and a half-dozen other projects in that time frame! 

But with awareness come many questions, including the obvious: "what next?" Indeed. Before one can decide where to go from here, it is wise to think about current state challenges across the dimensions of People, Process, and Technology.


  • How receptive are people to change?
  • Do we have the skills necessary for ITIL adoption?
  • How will existing job descriptions or organization structures change?
  • Do people understand "the why" for adopting ITIL?


  • Our existing processes are already wrapped in red tape; can we seriously be considering the layering on of more rules?
  • Which aspects of our work are actually "IT Services?"
  • Which of our existing processes best fit with ITIL? (low-hanging fruit)
  • Which of our existing processes least fit with ITIL?
  • How does ITIL relate to other "new" processes such as Agile/Scrum?


  • Do we have the tools to track / measure our services?
  • Do we have the tools for customers to request our services?
In my organization, we realized quickly that the top priority had to be Service Catalog and Service Portfolio Management; scary as it may seem, no one individual in my department had a complete picture of all the services we provide. Given our segmentation into logical silos based on line-of-business and/or vendor product (Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft Enterprise, Hyperion Planning, Grants Management, etc.) this was not particularly surprising to me; what was surprising was the size of the list once it was collated!

The development of a Service Catalog has proven no easy feat. It has taken several months to create initial drafts of service definitions and load them in our internal Atlassian Confluence portal. Internal reviews have been difficult to wedge in between other commitments (sounds like we need to move on Capacity Management, huh?) We are hoping to go live by the end of the summer!

My personal journey to adopt Service Strategy best practices has already begun. In addition to shoring up my understanding of the processes in this volume via ITIL Intermediate training and certification (halfway through The Art of Service online module), I am actively thinking about how to more formally implement Business Relationship Management and Service Portfolio Management over the next twelve months.

Within my organization, the natural follow-on activity to publishing a Service Catalog (to be properly ITIL I guess I should say “catalogue?) is to formalize service levels and implement the necessary controls for Service Level Management. But the major focus for us in the new fiscal year will be Request Fulfillment and Knowledge Management.

I expect it to be an interesting year and will be back soon with more observations and thoughts as we travel down the road.

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At December 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Grump said...

Have you seen any Public Safety organizations implement ITIL for their technical services staff?


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