Archives || Search || About Us || Advertise || Feedback || Subscribe-
-
Issue of December 2005 
-

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

  -  
 
 Home > Vendor Voice
 Print Friendly Page ||  Email this story

Leveraging best practices

Companies must have a framework to adopt best practices. It gives them a competitive edge and helps them to retain customers, says Prakash Sharma

Organisations in the software services domain in India have demonstrated leadership in software process maturity. This has resulted in the creation of the maximum number of CMMI level 5 companies in India. Process capability has helped Indian companies maintain competitive advantage. We are at a point where it is imperative for Indian IT infrastructure services and BPO firms to replicate this success story.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) adoption has taken off in the country in the last two years, thanks to IT and BPO organisations. Adherence to best practices and BS15000 certification is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage among offshore vendors, and has started reflecting in global outsourcing deals.

Critical reliance on human capital and IT infrastructure for delivering value to the end-customer is common to BPO and IT organisations, and this makes ITIL an indispensable framework for them. While there are innumerable benefits in general, listed below are specific benefits for Indian IT and BPO organisations:

  • IT infrastructure availability, even at the desktop level, is critical in meeting end-customer SLAs.
  • Best practice adoption helps to comply with international regulations such as SOX (Sarbanes Oxley Act) and achieve certifications such as SAS 70 (Statement on Auditing Standards 70).
  • Efficient IT service and higher uptimes improve employee productivity—the finished product of any services business.
  • A professional IT service desk goes a long way in improving employee morale.

Mid- and large-sized service organisations having more than 1,000 employees cannot do without the lifeline of an effective IT service desk where the ITIL framework provides the guiding principles.

Where To Start

Typically, someone within the IT organisation has to first sell the ITIL philosophy to the management, and hence you must start with identifying for yourself the need for ITIL.

Most often, one of two scenarios will indicate the need for ITIL. The first is when a company repeatedly experiences IT issues in a certain area, whether it’s frequent outages or just a high level of end-user dissatisfaction. The second scenario is a company that is rapidly growing and needs to expand the services it offers, while perhaps consolidating at the same time through mergers and acquisitions.

The need for ITIL also arises when companies are forced to maintain or improve service levels with a flat or declining budget. In order to deliver a high quality of service at the right cost to the business, you need repeatable, well-defined processes

The need for ITIL also arises when companies are forced to maintain or improve service levels with a flat or declining budget. In order to deliver a high quality of service at the right cost to the business, you need repeatable,well-defined processes.

In either case, the process models described in ITIL, a set of documentation that describes best practices for IT service management, can help the company gain control of the situation.

Third-Party Perspective

IT organisations constantly struggle to ensure that their IT services are value-added and meet the needs of the business in a cost-effective manner. One of the best opportunities for an IT organisation to evaluate whether it is meeting business goals and requirements is by getting an objective and third-party perspective regarding IT service management. Organisations also need to invest in ITIL training for its IT service resources; the training is available at three levels.

The first level is the foundation course, which should be attended by most of the service delivery staff. Higher levels at practitioner and service manager level are for staff specialising in specific areas such as service desk or wishing to achieve the highest certification in IT services management. Investing in service management tools also makes sense as it automates workflows and minimises the chances of error.

Another handy tip is to discuss ITIL best practices with your peers in the public and private sector, or join a forum that provides access to a network of experts, information sources and events.

After Implementation

Having laid the foundation with ITIL-based processes, emphasis must be laid on continuous improvement.
Six Sigma is a useful tool that can be employed at this stage for improving the processes and matrices by reducing the defects rate

Having gone through the grind of laying the foundation, new challenges emerge after the implementation project. The organisation faces the challenge of sustaining the momentum after the initial euphoria vanishes and the people who were drawn for the initiative are no longer available.

Organisations must focus on putting metrics in place and reviewing them on a regular basis. Success must be widely announced to maintain the feel-good factor and motivation levels. Having laid down the foundation with ITIL-based processes, emphasis must then be laid on continuous improvement. Six Sigma is a useful tool that can be employed at this stage for improving the processes and matrices by reducing the defect rate. Six Sigma helps in systematically enhancing the capability of service delivery processes to better meet and exceed customer specifications, resulting in tangible business gain. Once the benefits are there for everyone to see in tangible form, it becomes easier to sustain the organisational momentum.

The Road Ahead

ITIL has a growing user community in the IT and BPO industry. While ITIL is a best-practice framework which any organisation can claim adherence to, BS15000 is an audit standard based on the same best practices which is awarded after a third-party compliance audit. This brings an obvious credibility and confidence from the customer for demonstrated IT service delivery excellence.

After BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance), BPO has the greatest exposure to regulations, and the road to some of those regulations passes through ITIL and BS15000. While the IT industry is leading from the front in getting the best practice adoption endorsed by BS15000 certification, the BPO industry needs to catch up on that count.

The author is Senior Consultant,
IT Service Management,
QAI India

 
     
- <Back to Top>-  
Untitled Document
 
Indian Express - Business Publications Division

Copyright 2001: Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Limited (Mumbai, India). All rights reserved throughout the world. This entire site is compiled in Mumbai by the Business Publications Division (BPD) of the Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Limited. Site managed by BPD.