Every business could benefit greatly from using technology in one way or another. A survey conducted by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, found that smartphones alone save business owners 1.24 Billion hours a year, while mobile technologies save small businesses more than USD 65 Billion a year.
From taking online orders, accepting mobile payments, managing feedback and making customers lives easier, technology is a must for businesses in the tech-savvy world we live in.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework, is designed to standardize the planning, selection, support and delivery of IT services to a business. ITIL can help startups; identify services that they should offer, design those services, transition them, support and deliver the services and also importantly continuously improve it all.
In essence, ITIL is not just an operations and technology approach, but rather a whole way of thinking and behaving because it provides an all-rounded approach to running any business that utilizes technology to deliver services. This is what makes ITIL perfect for startups and this is why ITIL will change how you think about your startup.
In as much as, your startup will not probably utilize every process or best practice outlined in ITIL, you will gain structure and guidance in the following ways:
How the ITIL framework can help your startup?
This component details an approach to;
- understand and know your customers,
- the services your customers need,
- what services you can provide to them and
- the requirements for successful execution of the necessary services.
This component will help you understand what problems or process you intend to solve and therefore why your business is important in the first place. This will therefore help you tap into the optimal value you can provide to your customers. Understanding ITIL related concepts can help a great deal in implementing a strategy. There are a lot of online resources and books for ITIL from which you can not only learn but also clear certification exams.
This ITIL component ensures that any; new, auxiliary or altered service meets customer expectations, cost effectively. It ensures that the most effective and efficient; design, technology, process and service management system are taken into consideration when supporting a business process or solving a business problem.
This lifecycle phase, provides a framework that will allow your startup to; approve, build, test and deploy to your customer, in a repeatable, controlled, efficient and standardized manner.
At this phase, the business owner or administrators can make any necessary changes, control assets, validate services, and assign personnel for deployment.
This component in ITIL advocates for proactive support, which will prevent a firefighting approach that many startups have an affinity for.
Through this component;
- service delivery is regularized and monitored for failure or success,
- trends of recurring issues are tracked and their causes sought after,
- systems with issues are restored and
- end-user or customer routine requests are handled.
5. Continual Service Improvement
This component details an approach to identify and implement improvements by;
- continuously measuring and improving quality
- ensuring that technology is up to date and
- Ensuring that services are generally well managed
All this done with the view to consistently and continuously deliver value to end-users or customers.
How ITIL will impact your startup
Apart from increased efficiency, consistency and general improvements that ITIL can provide to a startup business, other benefits include:
- Proper utilization of employee skills and experience
- Increased productivity
- Reduced costs
- Improved delivery of 3rd party services and
- Improved customer satisfaction
All these benefits are due to the fact that ITIL provides a set framework through which customer expectations can be met more predictably. Additionally, better relationships with all stakeholders including; employees and 3rd party service providers, can be easily fostered and negotiated, since ITIL allows for high standards to be set from the get-go.
Putting into practice ITIL for your startup
The first step in implementing ITIL for your startup is in assessing the process and best practices that your specific business has that will benefit the most from ITIL. This will allow you and your staff to forecast and envisage how ITIL could affect your startup.
Therefore, putting into action ITIL you will need to:
- Document your set business goals and objectives,
- Document what plans you currently have in place to achieve those goals
- Shortlist the relevant plans that you need to improve upon by identifying the gaps between your current services and goals for improvement
- Choose processes and best practices
- Use project management tools and techniques to put your new plans into action and
- Measure and monitor the changes that you have made to ensure that you are meeting goals and that you are making adjustments to improve when you are not meeting your goals.
In order to make your startup a success, a great idea is not enough. You need to additionally have business skills and/or the experience that having a background in bringing products to market, provides you with.
If you have any story on how you achieved success using ITIL, do share in the comments below.
Mohammad Farooq works as an Analyst.
When not doing anything related to Analytics, he goes backpacking around India.
He regularly blogs about Travel, Movies, Political Issues and a lot of other things on his blog: Revering Thoughts