When Do You Know Your ITIL Implementation is Successful ?
An Exploratory Study on Critical Success Factors
M. Banu Yoba&
Istanbul Technical University,
Faculty of Management Macka 34367-
Increasing number of organizations are implementing the Information Technology
Infrastructure Library (ITIL1) framework in order to improve their IT service management
process. However, not all ITIL implementations are successful. Some implementations
resulted in disappointment with the outcomes. There are many companies confused about
how to implement ITIL successfully, hence there is a need to identify the factors that
influence successful ITIL adoption worldwide. This exploratory research provides an
overview of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) concepts such as ITIL,
organizational maturity, critical success factors, ways to measure benefits for integrated IT
management and presents the results of a survey conducted with eight organizations
operating in insurance, automotive, telecom, finance and technology sectors in Turkey.
Critical success factors (CFSs) suggested in literature and other research is compared
against the survey findings.
Keywords IT Infrastructure Library, ITIL, critical success factors, best practices
Today IT is one of the strategic assets of any company for two reasons, firstly IT has the
greatest potential for innovation, secondly it plays a significant role in supporting business.
However IT is not generally managed as the other strategic functions or processes a
All the abbreviations used throughout the paper are available in Appendix A
There are several studies showing intensive use of IT, especially if aligned with business
strategy, can provide several opportunities and benefits to companies of all activities and
sizes (Ward and Peppard, 2002).
The successful organizations understand, manage and intermittently measure the quality of
IT performance by IT Governance and IT Audit activities. Such companies manage IT better
than their competitors. They understand the fact that IT is not the subject but the object of
their business strategy (Spremic, et al. 2008).
IT governance represents the organizational capacity exercised by the Board, executive
management and IT management to control the formulation and implementation of IT
strategy. IT Governance and IT Audit frameworks are guidelines developed to assist
managing and measuring the performance of IT initiatives (Spremic, et al. 2008).
Information system audit (IT audit) examines the IT processes systematically, throughly
and carefully. This examination is carried out to measure the IT performance and to warn
about possible omissions and risks. It is the quality of the company’s information system
that’s being examined. There are several studies on auditing Hunton et al. (2004), Spremic
(2005) and Spremic (2007) are only a few.
In today’s economic conditions companies particularly IT departments are expected to
reduce costs without decreasing quality. The global competitive landscape continues to
stiffen and the risk of losing the competition mandates many businesses demand IT to
improve quality while decreasing costs. Shrinking budgets due to downward economic
pressures are becoming very familiar scenarios. It is not uncommon for a CFO to inform the
CIO of the need to reduce the company's IT operating budget by 5% and the capital budget
by 25% for the coming fiscal year. On the other hand there is a known relation with quality
and cost as Porter (1996) suggested in his well-known “Efficient Frontier” model; the best-
practice organizations can choose to improve quality or lower cost, but not both at the same
time. In these circumstances how can a CIO improve quality and lower cost at the same
time? According to Bittinger (2004), organizations that are performing below best-practice
standards can improve quality and reduce cost by moving toward best-practice goals. One
very effective way of doing so is improving processes by copying best-practice processes.
Figure 1. Michael Porter’s “Productivity Frontier”
This explains why, the standards like ITIL has only gained momentum recently, although
ITIL has a 30-year history.
In recent years there are a number of world-wide used standards and best practices in IT
process management area such as CobiT and ITIL, which helps management to measure
the IT performances. CobiT's bottom line is to ensure IT funds are spent on business
outcomes and it has a tendency to expose flaws in investment and execution. ITIL, on the
other hand, looks at whether technology delivers the business-grade services that it
promises and deals in easily understood concepts, such as uptime and response times.
As Hochstein et al. (2005a) describes “The ITIL framework has been enhanced continuously
and has become a de facto standard under the influence of the internationally active IT
service management forum. ITIL is not a process model but a description of activities,
documents, roles, success factors, key performance indicators et cetera, which should be
taken into account for an ideal IT management.”
ITIL has gained widespread adoption. According to Bittinger (2004) the reason is closely
related to ITIL serving as an “open platform” for implementing IT Service Management
processes. Serving as an “open platform” enables many IT shops to benefit from using a
variety of IT Service Management (ITSM) process methodologies in conjunction with the IT
Infrastructure Library (ITIL). By using the ITIL framework with other methods, such as Six
Sigma, project and portfolio management (PPM) and ISO 20000, companies are getting
additional benefits including improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity and the
ability to provide more value to the business, in a shorter period of time. According to a
survey, another reason is the recognition of the value it brings to the business and launch of
ITIL v3. (Axio Systems, 2008). The consensus is that ITIL V3 meets the needs of today and
tomorrow better than previous adaptations have done and is more aligned to the business.
Yet recent survey results from BT show that ITIL adoption isn’t on the rise. From April 15,
2009 through May 11, 2009, BT in North America conducted a Web-based survey on ITIL,
which was completed by 225 IT professionals around the globe. About 44% of those
surveyed in 2009 employ ITIL best practices, compared to 51% of 300-plus IT pros polled
by BT in 2007 that reported they use ITIL to improve on IT service management processes.
And 28% of organizations not currently using ITIL plan to do so within 18 months. But more
than 50% currently have no plans. These may be due to the difficulties in measuring the
benefits (Dubie, 2006).
This exploratory study explores what the critical success factors in successful ITIL
implementations are and compare them with the experiences and expectations of seven
private and one public organization in Turkey who already implemented or are planning to
In the next sections IT Service Management concepts are explained, previous research on
the benefits of implementing ITIL, how it can be measured and the critical success factors in
ITIL implementations are presented then the findings of a survey conducted with 8
companies are reported. Finally, the critical success factors are compared to previous
literature and some suggestions are provided.
This paper could be of major interest for researchers as well as for practitioners and
IT no longer just fixes problems, IT needs to think strategically. The "State of the Data
Center" study, which was conducted in April 2007 by Symantec, surveyed 500 IT
professionals from enterprise-class companies in North America, Europe and the Asia
Pacific. Well over 50 percent of time in most IT organizations is spent in break fix and
repair activities, while only a small part of their energy is spent creating new solutions to
business problems. Now they are working to flip that ratio. In an effort to reduce complexity
through standardizing processes, virtually all of those surveyed are implementing ITIL/ITSM
frameworks to manage IT services.
Successful implementation of ITIL provide significant benefits such as more rigorous control
of testing and system changes, more predictable infrastructure, improved consultation with
IT groups within the organization, reduced server faults, seamless end-to-end service,
documented and consistent IT service management processes across the organization, and
consistent logging of incidents (Cater-Steel, Toleman and Tan, 2006).
ITIL creates a common understanding between IT staff, suppliers, contractors and users
within the business by creating a common approach and language towards IT services. The
framework can deliver huge cost savings for an organization by promoting the optimum use
of people, process and technology, while reducing overall costs. All these benefits and more
provided by successful ITIL implementations can be summarized with figure 2.
Figure 2 Why are ITIL and IT Service Management Excellence so critical today?
ITIL is a series of books representing a repository of best practices in IT service
management and related processes. ITIL version 1 was used mainly by governmental
agencies. From 1999 to 2001, ITIL version 2 became the cornerstone for Service
Management by introducing the Service Support and Service Delivery disciplines. ITIL itself
is not a “standard”, the only standard in IT service management today is ISO 20000. ITIL
version 3 was launched on 30th May 2007 to provide an integrated service lifecycle
approach to IT Service Management.
In order to understand the critical success factors of an ITIL implementation, the processes
in version 2 and services in version 3 of ITIL is summarized first.
ITIL v2 is process oriented. ITIL v2 identified the key processes of its time. Brief
explanations for those key processes are given in the following section.
Source: (Clark, 2007)
Service Support focuses on the processes required to keep operations running on a
day-to-day basis. It explains how the Service Desk owns and supports Incident
Management and provides a foundation for supporting user issues and requests.
Problem Management reduces the impact of service outages for the user. Effective
root cause analysis are carried out in problem management.
Change Management considers both business and technical criteria in order to reduce
risks significantly and minimise the impact of change.
Release Management is a framework to coordinate, control and physical introduction of
a change into the development and production environments from both technical and
Configuration Management provides the foundation to all the Service Suppport and
Service Delivery focuses on meeting the current and future needs of the business by
ensuring the services are maintained and provisioned properly. Service Level
Management explains the relationship with customers so that business needs are
understood and delivered. SLM reports on SLA’s and manages internal and external
Availability Management is concerned with how reliable components of the service are
and putting alternatives in place should a component fail.
Capacity Management ensures that there is sufficient resource, infrastructure and
overall service capacity to meet the current and future business requirements.
Financial Management for IT is about costs, effective budgeting and accounting of the
whole IT.It also explains how one can introduce charging into the organization.
IT Service Continuity explains how to asses business risk and the importance of
aligning IT service continuity to the business continuity requirements.
ITIL v3 is The Service Lifecycle bridging the four key stages of a service; Strategy,
Design, Transition and Operations. ITIL v3 focus is much more on recognizing service as a
commodity, an entity in its own right providing value and benefit.
“An IT service [according to ITIL v3] is a service provided to one or more customers
by an IT service provider. An IT service is based on the use of IT and supports the
customer‘s business processes. An IT service is made up from a combination of
people, processes and technology and should be defined in a Service Level
Agreement.“ (Iqbal et al, 2007).
In ITIL v3 context, the processes can be grouped into two; namely essentials and optionals.
ITIL PRIMARIES are those processes that every IT organization must have regardless
of ITIL guidance include them or not.
ITIL MODIFIERS are those processes that the primary processes. In a sense these are
complementary to primaries, modifiers are the rules which modify the behaviour required
by a primary.
ITIL BLENDERS are those processes that ensure all other processes will work together.
ITIL FIXATIVES are Financial Management activities which cover the IT infrastructure
and organization together. Fixatives help to meet the business needs providing the best
possible facilities regardless of the budget and governance.
Source : Fry, 2008
There are many studies and research showing the growing awareness of ITIL worldwide.
Axio Systems conducted a survey with 255 IT professionals from global organisations at a
series of service management events across the UK, Australia and America including ITSMF
in the UK and ITIM 2007 in America reported 64% of IT professionals believe following ITIL
is key to improving IT reputations (Axio Systems, 2008). Despite the fact that ITIL
supports improving IT quality Evergreen surveyed 100 attendees at a conference, about
two-thirds of who work for Fortune 1000 companies. This survey revealed that some 70
percent of those implementing ITIL initiatives don’t have a baseline to measure performance
Although there are research and studies carried out both by the academic and private
research organizations, academic research is scarce and to date ITSM scientific research in
general focused on mostly on definitions and reporting descriptive statistics (Conger, et al.
2008). It is clear that more academic research is needed to understand and answer the
questions such as, what the expectations of organizations implementing ITIL are in doing
so, what the factors influencing success in ITIL projects are, how the outcomes can be
measured (Hochstein, Zarnekow and Brenner, 2005a). Limited academic research is
available on reporting outcomes and benefits of ITIL implementations. ITIL implementation
in six German firms was analysed by Hochstein, Tammand Brenner (2005) and benefits are
reported. Hochstein’s research is replicated by Cater-Steel, Toleman, and Tan, in 2006 with
12 organizations in Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand. A case study with a
government organization and benefits experienced are reported by Potgieter, Botha and
Critical success factors suggested in the literature are; executive management support,
interdepartmental communication and collaboration, use of consultants, training and careful
software selection. According to a recent exploratory study conducted by Pollard and Cater-
Steel in 2009, three new critical success factors are identified: creating an ITIL-friendly
culture, process as a priority and customer-focused metrics.
Spremic, et al. (2008) investigated ITIL implementation for performace management in
finance service industry. Results they presented are based on the data collected in three
months time after ITIL implementaton.
According to a recent case study in Insurance & Technology Magazine, ICW’s incident
management resolution times were improved by approximately 90% and reducing the help
desk personnel costs by 25% (O’Connor, 2009).
100 senior IT managers and directors were surveyed in large UK Enterprises (minimum of
1000 employees in the UK) by independent technology market research specialists Bourne
in September 2009. The companies were operating in the following sectors; financial
services, manufacturing, retail, distribution & transport, business & professional services.
The key findings of the 2009 survey on ITIL reported as;
• 51 % of senior UK IT managers and directors believed that having staff qualified in
ITIL would give their organisation or business a competitive edge
• 31 % of IT departments felt that the benefits of ITIL were not fully understood by
• 49 % of senior IT managers and directors claimed that budget constraints was the
key barrier to the uptake of ITIL Version 3
Questions like where implementing ITIL will yield a return and whether and to what extent
ITIL processes have resulted in performance improvements requires some activities to be
performed prior to ITIL implementation (Spremic, et al. 2008).
Studies on self-assessment of ITIL practices and benchmarking with best practices revealed
a number of checklists (Nolan and McFarlan, 2005). These metrics enable companies to
assess the maturity of IT service processes using a 1-5 scale for each IT process or activity.
The ITIL indicates that assessing maturity is the key to success. The ITIL includes a Process
Maturity Framework (PMF), model, and instructions for assessing organizational maturity
Organizational maturity refers to an organizations ability to perform. Most maturity models
define five evolutionary levels an organization passes through as it becomes more
competent. At each maturity level organizational competence increases. In a mature
organization repeatable practices becomes the norm, and there are fewer and fewer
“individual acts of heroism.” The higher the organizational maturity the more efficient,
effective and economical are its operations. (Marquis, 2006)
Assessing organizational maturity becomes a preliminary step required before ITIL
implementation begins. As the implementation progresses, continued maturity assessment
shows the improvement of the organization and shows when to implement new processes or
There are many maturity models from which to choose. The ITIL offers CMM, COBIT
(Governance Maturity model or GMM) and ISO 15504 as examples. The ITIL also includes
its own maturity model PMF. The ITIL PMF is a 5-layer model like GMM, CMM, or CMMI.
The PMF assumes that a Quality Management System (QMS) is in place and there is a goal
to improve one or more aspects of the processes effectiveness, efficiency, economy, or
equity. The ITIL offers Deming, Juran, Baldridge, Crosby, and others as QMS models.
The ITIL PMF has 5 levels as shown in table 1.
Table 1 The ITIL PMF
Level PMF Focus Comments
1 Initial Technology Technology excellence/experts
2 Repeatable Product/Service Operational processes (e.g., Service Support)
3 Defined Customer Proper service level management
4 Managed Business Focus Business and IT aligned
5 Optimized Value Chain Seamless integration of IT into the business and
The ITIL PMF defines several dimensions that comprise each level. A given level of maturity
is a result of the following factors:
Vision and Strategy – “the overall direction as it relates to the role and position of
IT within the business”
Steering – “the objectives and goals of IT in relation to realizing the strategy”
Processes – “the procedures needed to achieve the goals and objectives”
People – “the skills and abilities needed to perform the processes”
Technology – “the supporting infrastructure to enable the processes to be carried
Culture – “the behavior and attitude required in relation to the role of IT within the
Once the organization maturity level is defined on the maturity scale, then the best
approach for implementation can be determined. The ITIL offers three broad categories of
1. Single process approach
2. Multi process approach
3. All processes approach
The ITIL indicates that at lower maturity levels a company should proceed along the single
process approach. As maturity increases, company will need to move more toward the
multi process approach due to the interactions and dependencies of processes. In fact,
level four or higher requires the all process approach for this very reason. Highest levels of
maturity only occur through small steps in all processes over time.
The ITIL offers specific details on how to begin as shown in table 2.
Table 2 ITIL Implementation approaches and starting points
Approach Technique Comments
Single Problem Management Identify and solve most “painful” issues
Service Desk & Incident Improve customer service and perception as well as
Management setting the stage for future enhancements
Change Management Focus on establishing control of changes, thus
improving service quality
Multi CSIP Overall goal to improve more than one area; tied
Process directly to stakeholders and business requirements
Customer Use customer dissatisfaction to identify starting
Satisfaction/Business point/using business impact analysis to identify
Impact starting point
SWOT analysis Perform Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and
Threats (SWOT) analysis and use the results to
identify starting point
Benchmark Assess organization and compare to internal or
external organizations to identify starting point
Service target Involve customers, establish targets for
improvement to services, implement as required to
All Business/IT strategy Incremental improvement driven from business
Processes and Vision
CSIP Incremental improvement driven from CSIP
Benchmark Incremental improvement driven from
Maturity in all its forms is how the implementation and ongoing operations of the ITIL is
The IT Process Institute, in its research on Identifying Key Performance Drivers, gives seven
sets of control practices that predict top levels of performance. Most of these control
practices map to five of the ITIL essentials (Fry, 2008). Ordered by the impact from highest
to lowest they are;
1. Release scheduling and rollback (Release & Deployment Management)
2. Process culture
3. Pre-release testing (Change Management)
4. Process exception management (Incident Management and Problem Management)
5. Standardized configuration strategy (Service Asset & Configuration Management)
6. Change linkage (Change Management)
7. Controlled production access
As an alternative Fry (2008) suggests first implementing the essential elements for a given
maturity level. The second step is then comparing the essentials versus current practices
and determine one by one how far the current from the v3 guidelines. Then the third step is
following the service-oriented methodology v3 defines to close the gap.
Critical Success Factors
The concept of CSFs was first proposed by D. Ronald Daniel (1961). It had already been 20
years when it was refined and popularized by John F. Rockart of MIT’s Sloan School of
management. Rockart (1979) defined critical success factors as “few key areas that must go
right for the business to flourish.” If these factors are not performed well, it is unlikely that
the mission, objectives or goals of a business or a project will be achieved.
An affective strategy is to look for quick wins initially. Many companies start ITIL with
incident, problem and change management. They produce the quickest wins and most
visible results. (Pollard and Cater-Steel, 2009; Guglielmo, 2009b) Another key factor is
effective engagement of personnel affected coupled with support from senior management
and communication of results, early and often. The right people must be assigned into the
right roles, responsiblities must be cleraly defined and documented, schedules maintained,
monitored and controlled, and results measured and reported with a strong customer focus
(Pollard and Cater-Steel, 2009).
There are only three studies revealing evidence on critical success factors in ITIL
implementations: Hochstein, Tamm & Brenner’s case study (2005). A single case study in
Australia reported by Tan et.al (2007). Another case study with four firms (two in US and
two in Austria) by Pollard and Cater-Steel (2009).
ILX Group's most recent survey, conducted by independent research firm Vanson Bourne,
shows the majority (72 per cent) of companies have less than 25 per cent of their IT staff
ITIL Version 3 qualified. While in November 2007 the biggest reason for not having plans in
place for a migration to ITIL Version 3 was time constraints. In 2009 respondents now cited
budget constraints and the benefits of ITIL not fully understood by management as the
primary barriers to uptake (Bourne, 2009).
It is important to establish an ITIL service management training program to examine the
roles people in the organization will play and the skills (from a process and technology
perspective) that they will need to fulfill the specific responsibilities. This is very similar in
concept to the ITIL V3 Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed model for things
like change management. Once these matrices are set up, very accurate, targeted levels of
learning can be delivered.
According to ILX Group plc, the blended training services company, just over half of IT
departments (51 per cent) believe that having staff qualified in ITIL would give their
organization or business a competitive edge. Despite this, less than a quarter of IT staff was
found to be trained in ITIL v2 or ITIL v3 (Bourne, 2009)
There are a few tools and techniques that organizations can use to address the people part
of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and enhance the training process.
Neither the user not the customer base is static; therefore an ongoing program must be
considered to have all the training material updated when new releases or enhancements
Project failure due to internal or controllable factors can be significantly reduced if staff are
trained to properly manage projects and are provided with the right framework and best
practices to avoid common mistakes. It is found that the cost of failure exceeds the cost of
training. Market conditions for many businesses still remain tough, but getting basic
processes wrong can be an incredibly costly exercise if people do not have the right skills
(IXL Group, 2009).
A survey was conducted with eight companies. Survey respondents were selected from
among different sectors. There is one public organization, all the rest are from private
sector. The respondents were all IT professionals (e.g., CIOs, senior executives, directors,
managers). The questionnaire was sent by mail to either CIO, or the highest responsible
person in charge of ITIL implementation project regardless of their title. Organizations
selected that are known to be among the best in their sectors namely automotive, finance,
telecommunications, pharmacology and insurance. While selecting these companies
company size is taken into account. In many studies it is shown that companies with sizes
1,000 and more are more likely to implement ITIL and experience better outcomes from
Survey questions are provided in Appendix B.
FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
In this study there are two companies who haven’t implemented ITIL yet. One of them is a
public financial company and the other is an automotive company. Both of the companies
plan to implement in 12 months time and both of them stated that they are planning to
work with an SI. Financial company also stated that, the SI they will be working with will be
one of the well-known 5 companies in ITIL implementations (aka. Big 5).
All respondents but one implemented ITIL with a Service Integrator. All of those worked
with an SI used the project methodology proposed by the SI they have worked with.
Throughout the paper the companies are referred to according to the naming given in table
3. Table 3 also provides the size of each company and the respondent’s title.
Table 3 Company Coding
SECTOR COMPANY COMPANY SURVEY RESPONDER’S
Automotive A 1,000-10,000 CIO
Finance B 100-1,000 Systems Specialist, Systems &
Finance C 100-1,000 Manager
Database Management Directorate
Finance D 100-1,000 Asst. Manager
IT security and Audit Department
Finance E 100-1,000 Expert, Systems &Operations
Telecommunications F 1,000-10,000 Manager
CRM & Sales Operation
Pharmacology G More than ACRM Delivery Service
10,000 Management Team Lead
Insurance H 1,000-10,000 Manager
Operational Services & Security
The respondents are from different departments within IT.
The team sizes differ between a min. 2 and max. 24. Project Staff Distribution of those
companies that implemented ITIL is shown in Table 4.
The contribution of business during project implementation is very low. Only in two cases
business is taking place during the project lifetime. One of them is the financial company
that implemented ITIL without any SI and the other one is the insurance company. In both
cases at projects in which business is involved it is interesting that either IT or SI was not a
part of the project. There is a case when the project team is 100% IT oriented that’s the
project team included neither business people nor an SI in the project team.
Table 4 ITIL Project Staff Distribution
Company Business IT SI TOTAL
Code Staff Project
(%) (%) Staff
B - 50 50 2
C 20 80 - 10
E - 50 50 6
F - 55 45 23
G - 100 - 14
H 5 5 90 24
Planning to Implement
A - 75 25
D 20 50 30
The Biggest Problem You Faced
The question was the biggest problem faced during the implementation of ITIL project. For
those who are planning to implement, the question was the single biggest problem they
expect to face in terms of getting the project justified and its budget approved.
According to a recent research the top three reasons for project failure were poor
communications to key stakeholders (34 per cent); missed deadlines (22 per cent); and
exceeding agreed budgets (17 per cent) (Bourne, 2009).
Company A is planning to implement ITIL. When asked the biggest problem they expect in
terms of getting the project justified and its budget approved CIO shares his concerns for
being able to show the benefits of ITIL implementation to business. This is the biggest
problem area many companies throughout the world face. Company A has already foreseen
it. This is also consistent with results namely communications to key stakeholders reported
by Bourne (2009). A similar concern is also shared by Company D as will be seen in their
answer to the tip they would give for success.
As for Company B the biggest problem was the resources, especially the insufficient project
team, consisting only one IT specialist. Other problems they encountered were preparing
the workflows and the coordination with the SI. They emphasize that the ITIL
implementation project team shall be dedicated.
Company C responds the biggest problem they have faced during implementation as “To
fulfill requirements, a huge change on IT and Business rule sets have been made which
caused a change on the way people do their job. The new methodologies were slowly
accepted and questioned thoroughly.”
Company D is planning to implement ITIL. When asked about the biggest problem they
expect they responded they had concerns about timing and assigning responsibilities. This is
consistent with results namely missed deadlines reported by Bourne (2009)
Company E expressed that they haven’t encountered any big problems during the
Telecommunications Company F answered discovery item definitions was the most difficult
part in their implementation, namely the UCMDB Discovery Phase.
In Company G the ACRM Delivery Service Management Team Lead says “Awareness on
ITIL, Service Management concepts. They are quite new and different to the traditional
support concept. The biggest challenge is behavior and mind set change of the people.”
These are exactly the problem points many companies are complaining about. It was no
surprise to hear her listing the major problematic areas in ITIL implementations since she
has been working in ITIL implementations, particularly global service management in
multinational companies for more than 10 years now. She also shares her experiences in
other companies and emphasizes that “Awareness, convincing business with the tangible
and un-tangible benefits they will get by SM implementation” is the biggest problem many
companies face in terms of getting the project justified and its budget approved.
Insurance company H found the transition required by ITIL standards during the
implementation was the hardest part.
The Tip You Would Give For ITIL Project Success
Company B suggests the dedication of the project team and coordination with SI is crucial
for the success of the implementation. This is no surprise since they have the smallest
project team with only 2 people.
The tip for success of ITIL project company D gives is to have the support of upper
management. According to manager, the sponsor of the project shall be CEO but this alone
is not enough. The project should be implemented as a company-wide project, otherwise
when the ITIL implementation is seen as another “IT project” there is a high possibility that
the biggest resistance will be shown.
This is also supported by the fact that in order to increase the availability of IT
infrastructure it is often the IT engineers rather than the business process owners, who
suggest investments. But often IT is not aware if there could be a return to such
investments in the next period, or if these investments are agreed with the customers. In
such cases, it is obvious that the business strategy and information strategy are not
aligned. The business objectives shall be driving the information strategy, but in such cases
the technology strategy drives the strategy of IT department (Spremic, et al. 2008).
Company E advises to include a person with a strong theoretical ITIL information in the
project team be it from SI or from within the IT. This will help the implementation directed
to the right path in difficult times.
Telecommunications company F replied as clearly defined and documented process flows
would help the implementation.
The experienced Project lead of Company G highlights the importance of well organized and
implemented project plan. She adds that Service Management delivery is a project delivery
so it should be done according to PD principles.
Company H suggests the continuity of the processes and people independent approach was
the most important factor for the project success.
When questions 6, 7 & 14 commented together findings are supporting the study of Sharifi
et.al. (2008). The list of implementation failure reasons (Sharifi et al,. 2008) is shown in
table 5 together with the companies comments.
Table 5 Failure reasons and surveyed companies endorsement
Failure reasons A B C D E F G H
Lack of management commitment
Spending too much time on
complicated process diagrams
Not creating work instructions
Not assigning process owners
Concentrating too much on
Being too ambitious
Failing to maintain momentum
Allowing departmental demarcation
: Endoresed by the company
The survey reveals additional points which may cause failure if not taken into account as;
• Coordination with SI,
• Providing sufficient resources,
• Being prepared to behavior and mindset challenge,
• Sound theoretical knowledge of ITIL coupled with experience in ITIL
Successful ITIL implementations’ reveal the importance of people and training as two key
points by many studies (Spremic, et al. 2008) and the survey results are consistent with
How happy are you with your ITIL?
Two of the companies operating in financial sector are satisfied with their ITIL
implementations. Three companies very satisfied with their ITIL implementations are from
finance, telecom and insurance sectors. There is only one company delighted with their ITIL
implementation. Results are shown in table 6.
Company / How Business Post Implementation
Happy Case Created review
A – Automotive N/A PLANNED N/A
B – Finance NO DON’T KNOW
C – Finance NO NO
D - Finance N/A N/A YES
E – Finance YES YES
F – Telecom DON’T KNOW DON’T KNOW
G – Pharma YES YES
H – Insurance YES DON’T KNOW
: Satisfied : very satisfied : delighted
The survey findings reveal that only 50% created business cases and reviewed the
implementation. This is no surprise and even consistent with other research because
according to a survey two-thirds of some 80 companies that have deployed an IT
Infrastructure Library say they feel the process changes are delivering IT performance
improvements, but most don’t have effective tools in place to measure the return on their
investment (Dubie, 2006).
Main benefits you experienced as a result of your ITIL project
ITIL provides a systematic and professional approach to the management of IT service
provision. Adopting its guidance offers users a huge range of benefits that include:
• reduced costs;
• improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes;
• improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service
• standards and guidance;
• improved productivity;
• improved use of skills and experience; and
• improved delivery of third party services through the specification of ITIL or ISO
20000 as the standard for service delivery in services procurements.
Company B most benefitted from configuration management. They also benefit from
In Company C, ITIL is implemented without an SI, the project length is 36 months already
but it is not completed yet so right now they can’t fully experience the benefits. Still they
value the outcomes especially to realize the contact points between IT and Business Units
and importance of accountability.
For company E implementing the change management module provided the biggest
benefits, because they didn’t have change management at all. The service desk was already
implemented with another tool so there were no new benefits introduced by the
implementation; it was actually only a replacement.
Although their project is still ongoing company F expects change and asset management to
provide the main benefits to them.
The Project Lead in Company G summarizes the benefits they have experienced as “Able to
control, monitor and improve the operations which helps you to improve customer
satisfaction and provide better level of services with less cost.” These benefits are
important in the sense of how IT is valued by other departments. According to a Forrester
Research report, 62% of more than 500 IT decision-makers polled said improved
consistency and quality of IT processes were among the key changes to contributing to a
more positive view of IT by the business (Hubbert and O’Donnell, 2008).
Company H valued the benefits of automatic and proactive approach in workflow escalation
in case of problems.
LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH
Due to the limited number of organizations the conclusions drawn may be specific to the
particular organizations studied and may have limited generalization. A comprehensive
analysis on the ITIL implementations of companies promises valuable insight into critical
success factors of ITIL implementations.
The survey findings reveal that only 50% created business cases and reviewed the
implementation. The reasons why the other 50% didn’t conducted such reviews shall be
Following the ITIL processes of incident, change, problem, configuration and service
portfolio management has saved the company approximately $20 million through improved
processes and efficiencies, according to Paul Ruppel, production systems consultant lead at
Wachovia as reported in Guglielmo (2009a). Similar research with Turkish companies will be
very valuable to guide Turkish organizations to measure the benefits in monetary terms.
There is an increasing demand in the organizations for improving quality while lowering
costs. In order to do so, having a clear understanding of where the business is going and
how it is planning to achieve its objectives is very important.
As more companies cut IT budgets, one might think that adoption of best practice
frameworks such as ITIL would be on the rise. However not all implementations are
ITIL is a framework, not a set of instructions to be followed by rote. ITIL framework shall be
adapted in a way that makes sense for the business. Understanding the ‘why’ is critical to
getting engagement. According to Fry (2008), ITIL is about people, process and ITIL
provides starting points which are to be interpreted.
ITIL experiences differ over the results, often influenced by the implementation approach.
As a consequence, identifying critical success factors of ITIL implementations are becoming
more and more important.
Organizational maturity indicates how much of ITIL to implement, and where to start. Thus,
assessing organization maturity is critical to ITIL implementation.
When well-executed, ITIL can shift an IT organization's culture and focus from the
technology in other words how things work, to the business strategy, how the services IT
provides affect business performance. But culture change is probably the hardest type of
change to manage, and ITIL's processes are only as effective as the degree to which staff
Senior management doesn’t need an in-depth understanding of ITIL, but it must provide
support in resources and authority to enforce new policies.
Best practice frameworks including ITIL can overlook the importance of the human aspect of
technology programmes, a common cause of project failure. Companies shall be aware of
these shortcomings of the framework they implement.
The survey findings value experience and people. It is no surprise that the only company
delighted with the ITIL implementation has a project leader with more than 10 years
experience. Moreover she coupled strong theoretical information together with IT reality.
There are two companies satisfied and the other three are very satisfied. This is consistent
with the study of Doherty (2009). He suggests, putting some effort into communications
and learning, great improvements in the motivation and engagement of people will be seen.
This effort will result in improvements in process and technology.
This paper presented results from eight Turkish organizations six of them already
implemented ITIL and two are planning to. All these organizations have transformed or
planning to transform their IT service management to provide significant benefits to their
organizations, such as more rigorous control of testing and system changes, more
predictable infrastructure, improved consultation with IT groups within the organization,
reduced server faults, seamless end-to-end service, documented and consistent IT service
management processes across the organization, and consistent logging of incidents. The
key success factors for ITIL implementation found in the survey is consistent with previous
studies, including effective engagement of the personnel affected, support from senior
management and communication of results (Cater-Steel, Toleman and Tan, 2006). Survey
revealed four new factors; coordination with SI, providing sufficient resources, being
prepared to behavior and mindset challenge and sound theoretical knowledge of ITIL
coupled with experience in ITIL implementations.
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Offered by ITIL”, Retrieved 2 January 2010 from
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management – the ITIL impact”, paper presented at the 17th Australiasian Conference on
Information Systems retrieved 20 January 2010 from
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words!”, Best Management Practice for IT Service Management, White Paper, October 2007
retrieved 5 January 2010 from www.best-management-practice.com.
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Operations”, Proceedings of the Fourth Americas Conference on Information Systems,
Toronto, ON, Canada, 14-17 August, Association of Information Systems.
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DUBIE D. 2006, “Survey: ITIL's ROI hard to measure” , Network World , November 2006
retrieved 18 January 2010 from http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/111706-itil-
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Newsletter, Februray 2009.
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Associates, www.ca.com, June.
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studies of ITIL version3.
CCTA Central Computer and Telcommunication Agency
CFO Chief Financial Officer
CFS Critical success factors
CIO Chief Information Officer
CMM Capability Maturity Model
CMMI Capability Maturity Model Integration
GMM Governance Maturity Model
OGC British Office of Government Commerce
IS Information Systems
ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library
ITSM Information Technology Service Management
PMF Process Maturity Framework
QMS Quality Management System
SI Service Integrator
SLM Service Level Management
Which one is used/planned to be used in your organization ITIL or COBIT?
You can mark the multiple-choice questions by any way you find easy, for example; coloring, making bold or italic
or by replacing ’X’ to the choice you select.
1. Have you already implemented or are you implementing ITIL in your organization?
o Yes, together with a SI
o Yes, but we are not using an SI
o No, but we plan to implement ITIL using an SI
o No, but we plan to implement ITIL not using an SI
o We currently have no plans to implement ITIL
o Don’t know
SI : System integrator
If your answer is no please continue from question 12.
Already implementing ITIL
2. Did you use a project methodology specific to ITIL projects from the SI, or your own standard
o We used the methodology proposed by the SI
o We used our own methodology
o We didn’t use a methodology
o Don’t Know
o Other (please specify)
3. What is the size of the overall project team that you have employed on your ITIL project?
The average size of the project team was [ ] people.
4. What proportion of the project is business staff/ your own IT staff / Systems integrator staff?
[ ] Percentage of staff from business
[ ] Percentage of staff from your own IT department
[ ] Percentage of staff from your systems integrator
5. What is the length of an ITIL project that you have been involved with?
The approximate length is [ ] months.
6. What is the single biggest problem you faced on your ITIL project?
7. Which one tip would you give for ITIL project success?
8. How happy were you with your ITIL?
o Very unhappy
o Very Satisfied
9. What main benefits have you experienced as a result of your ITIL project?
10. Did you produce a business case for your project, with quantified return on investment e.g. net
o Don’t know
11. Have you conducted a post implementation review of your ITIL project?
o We plan to do so
o Don’t know
Planning to implement
12. Do you plan to use a project methodology specific to ITIL projects from the SI, or your own
standard project methodology?
o We will use the methodology proposed by the SI
o We will use our own methodology
o We don’t use a methodology
o Don’t Know
o Other (please specify)
13. What proportion of the project is business staff/ your own IT staff / Systems integrator staff?
[ ] Percentage of staff from business
[ ] Percentage of staff from your own IT department
[ ] Percentage of staff from your systems integrator
14. What is the single biggest problem you expect to face in terms of getting the project justified
and its budget approved?
15. Do you intend to conduct a post implementation review of your ITIL project?
o Not decided at this stage
o Don’t know
16. What is your company size in number of employees?
o Less than 50
o More than 10000
17. What is the main industry in which your company operates?
18. Your title or role in your company?
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