ITIL Continual Service Improvement - Publication Review by Vernon Lloyd
'ITIL Continual Service Improvement' provides guidance for the identification of improvement opportunities in all aspects of the service lifecycle. Feedback from any stage of the service lifecycle can be used to identify improvement opportunities for any other stage of the lifecycle. ITIL Continual Service Improvement also looks at the changing business outcome requirements and suggests how these requirements can be met by the delivery of ever increasing quality IT services.
From the very beginning, one of the cornerstones of ITIL has been that improvement opportunities should be sought and implemented. An integral part of every process has been the need to measure efficiencies and effectiveness with a view of analysing these and seeking opportunities to do it better. If we don't continually improve then effectively we are losing ground on our competitors and others in our industry. We identify our strengths and build on these to ensure they remain our strengths but even more importantly we look for areas of weakness so that we can rectify these and enhance our service provision. ITIL Continual Service Improvement offers guidance on ways to measure, review and act to identify and adopt improvements in service provision.
Specifically, ITIL Continual Service Improvement uses a number of techniques to recognise what needs improving. It is not about improvement for improvement's sake, but improvement for the benefit of the business, so any initiatives have to have a clear business case which will show either a financial return on investment or a return in the shape of value to the business of a non-financial nature. One technique used is outlined in the seven-step improvement process which monitors performance data and analyses this to ultimately turn it into knowledge and wisdom, which can be applied to improve the way we deliver our services.
Also covered in the book is the CSI approach - once the business vision is understood, then we can assess how well we are delivering against this vision, and from this an improvement road map can be produced. A number of quality measures such as the Deming Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle are looked at to ensure the appropriate ones are being utilised to support continual improvement activities.
ITIL Continual Service Improvement also looks at ways of assessing organizations and explores benchmarking an organization's maturity levels. Measuring and reporting is covered - including the balanced scorecard - as this is key to understanding where improvements can be made. "You cannot manage what you cannot measure."
If we are to consistently deliver quality services to the business customer, we must meet the customer's expectations and then improve over time. The guidance in this publication will help organizations to do this consistently.
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