Introducing Continual Service Improvement

Continual Service Improvement (CSI) is arguably the most important phase within ITIL, however IT departments seldom put anything in place to reap the benefits that the discipline can offer, opting to continue on the reactive hamster wheel of fire-fighting regardless.

The cornerstone of any IT department will involve a strong focus on their Service Desk with an emphasis on project, incident and change management whilst your existing processes and technology quickly stagnate leaving the familiar world of re-active chaos that most have had some experience with.

CSI is very much a journey rather than a destination but relatively easy and inexpensive to implement by immediately monitoring and improving every aspect of what your traditional IT department offers its customers.

Whether it be improving existing processes, services or overall efficiency of the IT department, it shouldn’t take too long until you see visible and measurable results that can be felt both in and outside of IT that will ultimately allow your business the ability to react to change rapidly.

My personal CSI journey began with an identification process that reached out to people across the whole IT team to voice their biggest frustrations by adding ideas for improvement to a ‘CSI Register’ that allowed users to focus on where we are now and the future state that their improvement idea could offer by also advising what critical success factors and KPI’s they would benefit.

It quickly became apparent that when the team had taken a step back from the everyday business as usual activities, there was a heavy influx of ideas that would resolve repeated problems by introducing quick wins that could dramatically improve the performance that everyone could feel the benefit of.

The biggest obstacle or most time consuming aspect of CSI is the introduction of metrics that allow you to fully measure your journey from your current baseline to the future state after your improvements have been implemented.

CSI ensures that service will be continuously monitored, measured and improved which is often described as a never ending story but it is vital to find the right balance because reports that nobody reads or cares about will see you fall at the first hurdle.

CSI measures and monitors process compliance, quality, performance and business value in order to review, analyse and prioritise improvements which could be summed up in the age old phrase “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”

Using the CSI discipline, our aim is to improve business efficiency, potential cost reduction when introducing services, increased customer satisfaction with the provision of existing services, more agility when responding to requests for new services, or more reliable IT services to support business critical services but this road to perfection is a continual process that will be tweaked and evolve over time.

There is no secret formula to succeed with CSI, the seven-step approach is the natural place to start if you are thinking of implementing CSI but remember that when you have completed all the required steps, go right back to the beginning because the road to improvement after all is continuous.

The two biggest demands for any modern business is to fully understand their own data and to continually improve what services they offer their customers, so I expect this often neglected principal to become more commonplace as businesses concentrate on binging ROI and value over repeatedly reacting to the same broken processes.

I am genuinely interested in hearing from anyone on a similar journey with CSI and want to hear about the challenges and obstacles you may have faced or the lessons you have learned along the way.

Please post in the comments below or contact me directly with your CSI Experiences.

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