Implementing IT Service Management: Lessons Learned from a University IT Department

Implementing IT Service Management: Lessons Learned from a University IT Department

Jon Iden (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-008-0.ch019
OnDemand PDF Download:


This chapter presents and analyzes a real life ITIL project, and it is based on a longitudinal case study. The purpose is to illustrate how the ITIL process reference model for some processes may be used almost as a blueprint, while ITIL for other processes may be profoundly adapted to suit the context and the needs of the implementer. Furthermore, the success factors and the impediments for successful implementation are discussed. As this case shows, although processes are being well defined and the ITIL project is being regarded by management as a success, employees may after all decide not to follow the adapted processes. The study finds that ITIL implementation will not be effective unless the organizational and cultural aspects of process change are being taken care of. This chapter will especially inform practitioners about how ITIL may be utilized and how an implementation project might be organized.
Chapter Preview


The IT service management perspective is becoming more and more popular in the IT community. IT Service Management is an approach to operations that emphasizes IT services, customers, service levels agreements (SLAs) and best practice processes for handling the day-to-day activities in the IT department (OGC, 2005; Palmer, 2005). Several frameworks exist, such as Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), IBM SMSL, HP ITSM, and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Among them, ITIL seems to be especially well accepted. ITIL is primarily a collection of best practices implemented in the industry, and is administrated by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC). It gives a detailed description of how to organize and handle central IT operations tasks such as incidents, problems, changes, configuration, availability, capacity and so on. ITIL is a process reference model, and views operations as a collection of processes. Process orientation means focusing on the cross-functional, organization-wide sets of activities that transform an input into an output that represents value for the customer, and does so by utilising a variety of organizational resources. Implementing ITIL means process change.

As a process reference model, ITIL seeks to capture characteristics common to many companies within the IT sector. A reference model may be defined as “an abstracted depiction of reality that serves as a standardized or suggestive conceptual basis for the design of enterprisSe specific models, usually within a like domain” (Taylor & Sedera, 2003, p.1). Misic and Zhao (2000) describe reference models as being “standard decomposition of a known problem domain” (p.484). Brocke and Thomas (2006) discuss the use of reference models and argue that a user will acknowledge a reference model when the effort needed for the construction of his own specific model is considerable reduced using the reference model. In addition, they argue, “the more specific a reference model is, the fewer the enterprises are for which it can be applied” (p. 681).

Although IT departments all over the world are improving their operations and processes based on the ITIL process reference model, there is, to date, little academic literature examining the characteristics of ITIL, how ITIL is implemented in industry, and the effects and the consequences of following such a process reference model. A notable exception is Aileen Cater-Steel and colleagues (Cater-Steel & Tan, 2005; Cater-Steel, Tan & Toleman, 2006a; Cater-Steel, Toleman & Tan, 2006b). Cater-Steel and Tan (2005) report from a survey about the uptake of ITIL in the Australian IT community, that ITIL’s service support processes Service Desk and Incident Management were at the most advanced stage of implementation. Further, survey respondents perceived “commitment from senior management,” “champion to advocate and promote ITIL,” and the “ability of staff to adopt to change” as the top three ranked factors for success. Noteworthy, 56% of respondents reported that ITIL had met or exceeded their expectations.

The purpose of this chapter is to present and analyze a real life ITIL project, through the lens of a case study approach, in order to provide insight into the nature, challenges and benefits of ITIL implementation. The chapter will especially focus on methodological- and project-related factors. In addition, exploring how a real-life industry implementation utilize the reference processes presented in the ITIL is a main goal.

Among the issues addressed in this research are:

  • How are ITIL reference processes being adopted by the IT department?

  • What are the success factors and the impediments for successful implementation?

  • How is information technology being used to enable ITIL-processes?

  • Does ITIL implementation affect organizational culture?

The research presented here has been organized as a longitudinal research project combining different research methods such as action research, interviews, surveys, and document studies.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Wim Van Grembergen
Aileen Cater-Steel
Aileen Cater-Steel
Chapter 1
Sherrena Buckby, Peter Best, Jenny Stewart
This chapter introduces current and prior IT governance literature across five key focus areas being strategic alignment of business and IT systems... Sample PDF
The Current State of Information Technology Governance Literature
Chapter 2
Junghoon Lee, Changjin Lee
Domestic and global companies are increasingly using information and communication technologies as a means of delivering their strategic visions and... Sample PDF
IT Governance-Based IT Strategy and Management: Literature Review and Future Research Directions
Chapter 3
David Musson
This chapter reviews the IT governance literature. It proposes that there are three different concepts that are grouped together as IT governance.... Sample PDF
IT Governance: A Critical Review of the Literature
Chapter 4
Jyotirmoyee Bhattacharjya, Vanessa Chang
This chapter introduces key IT governance concepts and industry standards and explores their adoption and implementation in the higher education... Sample PDF
Adoption and Implementation of IT Governance: Cases from Australian Higher Education
Chapter 5
Lynne Gerke, Gail Ridley
This chapter examines the potential to use an audit program based on the Control Objectives for Information and related Technologies (CobiT)... Sample PDF
Tailoring CobiT for Public Sector IT Audit: An Australian Case Study
Chapter 6
Tony C. Shan, Winnie W. Hua
This chapter defines a methodical approach, named Comprehensive Architecture Rationalization and Engineering (CARE), to effectively manage the... Sample PDF
Comprehensive Architecture Rationalization and Engineering
Chapter 7
Junghoon Lee, Jungwoo Lee, Ja Young Lee
Research has recently begun to place greater emphasis on the strategic application of IT in seeking to integrate firms’ IT infrastructures and... Sample PDF
A Comparative Case Study of Three Korean Firms: Applying an IT Governance Framework
Chapter 8
Breanna O’Donohue, Graeme Pye, Matthew J. Warren
This chapter focuses upon the Australian Standard for the Corporate Governance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) AS8015 (Standards... Sample PDF
The Impact of ICT Governance within Australian Companies
Chapter 9
Mark Toleman, Aileen Cater-Steel, Brian Kissell, Rob Chown, Michael Thompson
Acting upon the recommendations of a review of information and communications technology (ICT) governance and services at USQ, a major restructure... Sample PDF
Improving ICT Governance: A Radical Restructure Using CobiT and ITIL
Chapter 10
Brian Cusack
Security is a subprocess that affects all processes within an organization structure. The control frameworks of CobiT and ITIL provide a mapping of... Sample PDF
Managing IT Security Relationships within Enterprise Control Frameworks
Chapter 11
Michael A. Borth, Randy V. Bradley
This chapter discusses the overall importance of both corporate and IT governance, and demonstrates that IT governance is a very important... Sample PDF
Unexplored Linkages between Corporate Governance and IT Governance: An Evaluation and Call to Research
Chapter 12
Alea Fairchild, Martin Smits, Piet Ribbers, Erik van Geel, Geert Snijder
This document summarizes the initial findings of the I-Fit research project that started in August 2006 as a joint activity of a regional ICT... Sample PDF
I-Fit: Optimizing the Fit between Business and IT
Chapter 13
Tobias Kollmann, Matthias Häsel
This chapter articulates the knowledge and skills required by IT professionals in young Internet-based firms. Building on the general IT governance... Sample PDF
Competence of Information Technology Professionals in Internet-Based Ventures
Chapter 14
G. Philip Rogers
This chapter assesses what role maturity models can play in enterprise IT governance. Frameworks that are well known in the IT industry, such as the... Sample PDF
The Role of Maturity Models in IT Governance: A Comparison of the Major Models and Their Potential Benefits to the Enterprise
Chapter 15
Yael Dubinsky, Avi Yaeli, Yishai Feldman, Emmanuel Zarpas, Gil Nechushtai
Governance is the exercise of control and direction over a subject such as a society, an organization, processes, or artifacts, by using laws and... Sample PDF
Governance of Software Development: The Transition to Agile Scenario
Chapter 16
Anne C. Rouse
This chapter considers the governance issues raised by the increasing use of external parties to supply IT resources (including packaged enterprise... Sample PDF
The Governance Implications When it is Outsourced
Chapter 17
Muralidharan Ramakrishnan
This chapter is intended primarily for managers who are preparing to implement portfolio management concepts in an organization and students of IT... Sample PDF
IT Portfolio Management: A Pragmatic Approach to Implement IT Governance
Chapter 18
Andrew Dowse, Edward Lewis
With the cost, complexity and risk associated with IT systems, the approach to IT governance and service management in many organizations is to... Sample PDF
Applying Organizational Theories to Realize Adaptive IT Governance and Service Management
Chapter 19
Jon Iden
This chapter presents and analyzes a real life ITIL project, and it is based on a longitudinal case study. The purpose is to illustrate how the ITIL... Sample PDF
Implementing IT Service Management: Lessons Learned from a University IT Department
Chapter 20
Neil McBride
This chapter describes a suggested model for developing a service strategy within IT services. It considers the context, the organization of IT... Sample PDF
A Model for IT Service Strategy
Chapter 21
Manuel Mora, Ovsei Gelman, Rory O’Connor, Francisco Alvarez, Jorge Macías-Luévano
This chapter develops a descriptive-conceptual overview of the main models and standards of processes formulated in the systems engineering (SE)... Sample PDF
An Overview of Models and Standards of Processes in the SE, SwE, and IS Disciplines
Chapter 22
Claus-Peter Praeg, Dieter Spath
This chapter introduces an IT-Service management framework for the use of quality management concepts in the context of the life cycle phases of... Sample PDF
Perspectives of IT-Service Quality Management: A Concept for Life Cycle Based Quality Management of IT-Services
Chapter 23
Chee Ing Tiong, Aileen Cater-Steel, Wui-Gee Tan
This study reviews literature related to financial metrics that organizations could use in measuring the return on investment from their adoption of... Sample PDF
Measuring Return on Investment from Implementing ITIL: A Review of the Literature
Chapter 24
Dirk Malzahn
This chapter describes how models for software development and service delivery can be integrated into a common approach to reach an integrated... Sample PDF
Integrated Product Life Cycle Management for Software: CMMI1, SPICE, and ISO/IEC 20000
About the Contributors