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Bring optimization initiatives into a structured form

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Bring optimization initiatives into a structured form

Casting the work, tasks and to-dos of IT teams into standardized services and thereby providing them faster, delivering them more efficiently and continuously optimizing them – that is the goal of modern IT service management. So it’s not just about easy access to the services by customers and their effective, fast, low-friction execution by the team, but also about the constant improvement of the services.

But admittedly: “We always want to get better!” is a popular phrase in too many contexts, but it often has no consequences because – when viewed in light – there is little substance behind it and there are no tangible concepts to turn the general desire for improvement into an actionable one to bring structure.

But in modern ITSM, continuous service improvement is not a pretty addition, not a “nice to have”, but rather an integral part of the overall approach. Because: In the IT world of our time, nothing becomes outdated and outdated as quickly as the status quo of today. Continuous improvement means adapting to changing requirements and conditions and keeping pace with the omnipresent (and high-frequency) changes in complex markets.

Continuous service improvement: optimization opportunities at all levels

In the popular ITSM framework ITIL, continuous service improvement is understood as a process that permeates the entire company and affects all organizational levels – from strategy to implementation and delivery. In the ITIL approach, continuous improvement is firmly integrated into the value stream – and not an attachment or an appendage.

All people involved in the development, provision and delivery of the services can and should contribute to maximizing service quality and effectiveness by constantly keeping their eyes open for corresponding potential. And keeping an eye out for potential improvements is second nature to successful ITSM teams.

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Good questions lead to unused potential

When it comes to modern information technology, there is always room for improvement – ​​and there are plenty of unanswered questions in any ITSM team at any time. IT is more complex than ever, and complexity always comes with (often unpleasant) surprises.

In which areas has the team recently experienced such surprises? Does a process regularly grind at certain points because bottlenecks slow it down? Can additional automation help to delegate (repetitive) manual tasks to digital solutions and thereby relieve the team and ensure greater efficiency?

Are the software solutions used up to date and do they meet all the requirements of modern ITSM processes or are there alternatives that perform certain tasks better? What feedback do customers give, where do they see room for improvement?

There is no shortage of potential adjustment screws for sensible and targeted improvements. But how can this be operationalized? And how can an operational approach be aligned with the organizational vision and how can you ensure that a change actually focuses on customer benefits?

The optimization cycle of the ITIL framework

The ITIL framework offers a continual improvement model that helps the team to act in a structured manner. It provides seven phases for each optimization initiative and is flexible enough to support both small improvement projects at the individual service level and larger projects at the organizational level. (There are some similar suggestions in alternative ITSM frameworks.)

What is the vision? The optimization is intended to support the company’s goals, generate added value for the entire organization and bring it closer to its strategic goals.
Where are we now? This is about analyzing and documenting the status quo, because measurable improvement needs a clear reference point as a starting point.
Where do we want to go? The formulation and visualization of the specific objective creates the possibility of later comparison. The team defines key performance indicators (KPI) that specifically describe the desired target result.
How do we get there? Planning is about the specific approach that makes the initiative most likely to be successful. Most teams will take an iterative approach here (true to ITIL recommendations). If it is already apparent that certain measures can achieve relatively large effects with comparatively little effort, these should be given high priority.
Act! In the fifth phase, the team implements the plan, measuring and evaluating after each iteration whether the work is on track or the approach needs to be adjusted.
Has the goal been achieved? After implementation, success is evaluated. What are the metrics related to the starting point? Has the formulated result been achieved? Or are additional activities (iterations) required?
How do we keep momentum? A successful optimization initiative can free up a lot of energy within the team (and beyond) to quickly tackle new initiatives and projects. The team should take advantage of this momentum and draw motivation from it. This is how the culture of continuous improvement is created and consolidated.

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With the continuous improvement approach, ITSM teams have a structural tool at hand that promotes constant optimization cycles with measurable results, while never losing focus on the overarching contexts and goals of service delivery.

Successful service-oriented organizations use the structure of this process template to shorten the turnaround time of their services through continuous improvement measures, increase customer and user satisfaction, increase customer benefit, reduce costs and keep pace with changes.

Atlassian-Tools für ITSM-Teams

In order to identify and systematically use optimization potential, teams need powerful and flexible tools that can digitally map as many ITSM practices as possible – from ticket-based help desks with individual workflows to service level agreements and systematic service request management to extensive automation .

Jira Service Management from Atlassian has, among other things, the official certification as PinkVERIFY Certified ITIL 4 Toolset and thus meets all the functional requirements for a professional ITSM.

Would you like to learn more about Jira Service Management? Can our team show you some key ITSM use cases and practices in a personal demo? Or do you simply want to know more about the transformation towards professional IT service management? Then get in touch with us! Our current white paper “How does IT service management work?” also offers you valuable tips.

Additional information

ITSM teams between stability and change: What actually is change management?
Knowledge management in IT service management: It is enough to invent the wheel once
10 Best Practices for IT Service Management (ITSM)

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