Supporting the Module Sequencing Decision in ITIL Solution Implementation: An Application of the Fuzzy TOPSIS Approach

Supporting the Module Sequencing Decision in ITIL Solution Implementation: An Application of the Fuzzy TOPSIS Approach

Ahad Zare Ravasan, Taha Mansouri, Mohammad Mehrabioun Mohammadi, Saeed Rouhani
DOI: 10.4018/ijitsa.2014070103
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Nowadays a growing interest in Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) proves the trends and needs of their implementation in organizations. In order to successfully implement an ITSM project in an organization, it is essential to implement a suitable ITSM solution to support the related processes. The ITSM solution implementation can be conducted either in a big bang or phased manner by module. The present paper intends to offer the analytical means to support decision-making in the implementation sequence of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) solution modules. Since the decision problem of the module sequence involves a myriad of organizational and technical issues, which are vague in essence, we propose the Balanced ScoreCard (BSC) based evaluation criteria for supporting module sequencing decision along with fuzzy Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (FTOPSIS) method to be applied. The proposed approach has been applied to a local Iranian company in the field of IT services to implement the acquired ITSM solution; the provided numerical example illustrates the applicability of the approach for the purpose. The priorities for the implementation sequence of the modules are determined in the case study.
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Today, information technology (IT) has become the backbone of businesses to the point where it would be impossible for them to survive and compete in the market without employing IT facilities. Due to the increasing role of IT in enterprises, its function has shifted from a technology provider and supporter to a strategic partner (Salle & Rosenthal, 2005). The traditional function of IT management (i.e. hardware and software installation, network management, applications management, etc.) now includes business-oriented service support, in which IT services are planned and managed according to their contributions to the required business processes (McNaughton, Ray, & Lewis, 2010).

IT service management (ITSM) -as a concept to support this radical transformation- is a strategy whereby information systems (ISs) are offered under contract to customers and performance is managed as a service (Pollard & Cater-Steel, 2009). ITSM provides a framework to structure IT operations that enable organizations to deliver quality IT services to meet business needs and adhere to service level agreements (SLAs) (Mesquida, Mas, Amengual, & Calvo-Manzano, 2011). Various ITSM frameworks have been developed to provide guidelines and best practices to help managers improve IT operations. However, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become more popular due to the drivers such as: the pressure to reduce cost or do more for less cost, the push for end-to-end service management, introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for measuring user experience, and requirement of IT to comply with legislations (McNaughton, et al., 2010; Pollard & Cater-Steel, 2009). Also, according to the results of an online survey conducted by Forrester, Inc. on 92 global IT decision-makers, the ITIL v3 was the most applied methodology for organizational setup or reorganization efforts (as asserted by 38% of respondents) following by Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and ITIL V2 (34% and 33% respectively) (Hubbert, 2010).

There is evidence of the growing global interest to ITIL. For example, in a recent global study, Axios Systems (2008) surveyed 255 IT professionals from global organizations at a series of service management events (conferences, seminars and workshops) across the UK, Australia and America. The results revealed that 64% of IT professionals believe following ITIL is a key to improve IT reputation. The study also depicted that 87% of the organizations followed ITIL guidelines. Further, it can be inferred from the statistics of the study done by Axios-Systems(2008) 33% of organizations intended to adopt ITIL within a year, and 36% were considering its adoption.

The key benefits expected from implementing an ITSM framework such as ITIL are: alignment of IT services with current and probable future business needs, more customer-focused and improved quality of IT services, better internal communication and communication with suppliers and customers, increased IT predictability and efficiency, and a reduction in the long-term costs of service provision (Addy, 2007; McNaughton, et al., 2010; Peak, Guynes, & Kroon, 2005; Pollard & Cater-Steel, 2009; Van Bon et al., 2007; Yamakawa, Noriega, Linares, & Ramírez, 2012). As an example, service desk at JPMorgan Chase was able to achieve 75 percent first-call resolution and 93 percent customer satisfaction ratings. 80 percent of the calls coming into the service desk were answered within 20 seconds. The net result of improvement from ITIL implementation was the elimination of 500,000 calls to the service desk by tracking common problems and providing fixes at the root of the problem (Kumbakara, 2008). In another case, the IT providers at Caterpillar reduced response time to resolve web incidents after the firm implemented ITIL procedures. Proctor & Gamble saved $125 million by implementing ITIL-based service management processes (Galup, Dattero, Quan, & Conger, 2009). It is noticeable that although many organizations worldwide are successfully taking up ITSM, not all are experiencing positive outcomes and many of them are confused about how to implement ITIL successfully. This is consistent with findings reported by Cater-Steel and Tan (2006) that only 56% of 108 Australian companies surveyed felt that ITIL implementations had met or exceeded their expectations.

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