Anyone who has had a “stereotypical” interaction with an IT organization may be laughing at the title of this piece. Calling an IT help desk is not unlike calling a utility company. You call….you wait…you speak to a well-meaning, but powerless agent who you hope will open a ticket or a request to get you the services you ultimately need…you wait some more. Often, the invisible process between that first call and the delivery of the service you need is a mysterious maze that you hope someone else will navigate for you.
I live in that maze at Boston Financial, and I have some good news. We’re renovating.
Over the past year, the Business Technology Services (BTS) organization at Boston Financial has been on a journey. We realized some time ago that the arcane silos of specialty that historically made up our IT organization, like many IT organizations, were getting in the way of what matters: our customers and the services they expect from us. We began to look for ways to improve our efficiency, transparency and customer communication. Through our research we quickly identified ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) as a framework to guide our renovation of the “maze”.
Simply stated, ITIL is a set of practices for IT service management that focuses on aligning services with the needs of business. In practice, it is a non-prescriptive collection of best practices that provide guidance to an IT organization seeking to move away from being technology “order takers” in favor of becoming metrics-driven, consultative partners.
Boston Financial launched its adoption of ITIL standards in our IT support and IT infrastructure organizations. And it is paying dividends. For starters, it has provided a common language for our Associates to use when discussing procedures. As a result, we understand each other more quickly, which improves internal collaboration and ultimately our communication with customers. ITIL’s systematic, standards-based approach to IT service delivery has also made clear many areas where improvement is both needed and possible. This has helped us to prioritize our work and get to the fundamental cause of problems faster. These organizational changes are contributing to an efficient IT culture that offers more consistent, client-oriented business services.
It’s an exciting transformation to watch and to be a part of. Several of our leaders have achieved ITIL Service Management Foundation certification. The first six leadership team members who prepared for the certification studied in groups, quizzed each other constantly and played board games adapted to support the study process, like ITIL “chutes and ladders” and “Trivial Pursuit”. Through this process, we became known within the organization as ITIL “nerds.”
Good-natured ribbing is a fair price to pay for the changes we’ve made. We feel better about our work because each improvement we implement makes the maze a little less complex, our service delivery a little simpler, and ultimately, our customers much happier.
Cultural transformation takes time and best practices never stand still. In fact ITIL standards continue to evolve as technology and our knowledge of our customers evolves. But for now we have a framework that helps us to continually improve and focus on the right priorities, you and the services you require.