TIPA Process Assessments: A Means to Improve Business Value of IT Services

TIPA Process Assessments: A Means to Improve Business Value of IT Services

Stéphane Cortina (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg, Luxembourg), Alain Renault (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg, Luxembourg) and Michel Picard (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor, Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
DOI: 10.4018/ijsita.2013100101
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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to present how the Tudor's IT Process Assessment (TIPA®) framework can be used to assess and improve the maturity of IT Service Management (ITSM) processes, and how its usage can increase the business value of IT services. This paper starts with a presentation of the current and of the future process assessment standards. Then, it explains how the authors of this paper have applied the ISO/IEC 15504 standard to the field of IT Service Management to create the TIPA framework. The paper also presents how assessing and improving the maturity of ITSM processes can, under certain conditions, impact the quality of the services provided by an IT organization and consequently the value these IT services bring to the business. Finally, the paper finishes by depicting the current situation as well as the future of the TIPA framework.
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1. Introduction

IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks lay a series of recommendations, good practices, or guidelines to be followed by IT organizations in order to improve the quality of their services and consequently the value these IT service bring to the business. Moreover, these frameworks rely on quality management principles (like the ISO 9000 principles supporting quality management systems) and on the formalization of the processes used for managing the IT infrastructure and services (i.e. processes described in the ISO/IEC 20000 standard). However, when trying to apply an IT service management framework, IT managers and consultants are often challenged with the fact that they have a list of goals or requirements to be achieved but do not know how to achieve them. In other words, they know the ‘what to do’ but not the “how to do”. It is true that such means may change from organization to organization according to the business context. However for the consultant or manager trying to set up a service improvement project, it is important to have a methodological and systematic approach to reach the goals previously mentioned.

Three phases can be roughly identified when trying to apply an IT service management framework to an organization:

  • 1.

    Knowing where the organization is with regards to the selected framework;

  • 2.

    Setting up of the project to implement the changes that will bring the organization to work according to the selected framework, taking account the business context;

  • 3.

    Implementing the previously mentioned project to achieve the targeted improvements.

Each phase mentioned above is dependent on the previous one. Thus, in order to succeed in the improvement project, the project has to be correctly defined, and in order to get the project correctly defined, we need to know accurately what processes need to be improved (i.e. what their current levels of maturity, and what the targets are). This paper addresses phase 1 and the first steps of phase 2.

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how assessing ITIL processes with the TIPA framework can improve the quality of IT services and improve their business value.

This paper assumes that the best way to assure that ITSM assessments are impartial and repeatable is to perform them in accordance to international standards. In 2003, the ISO/IEC 15504 standard was revised and became a generic process assessment standard addressing effectively this issue. Today, this process assessment standard is again under revision and will become the new ISO/IEC 33000 series expected to be published by the end of 2014, as explained in section 3.

During the AIDA research project1 the Public Research Center Henri Tudor2 has been using the ISO/IEC 15504 process assessment standard to build compliant process assessment models based on the ITSM best practices. Initially based on ITIL v2, AIDA broadened its scope a first time in 2009 to support ITSM process assessments based on the ISO/IEC 20000 standard, and then in 2012 to support ITIL 2011. Along the way, the results of AIDA were packaged into the Tudor's IT Process Assessment (TIPA®) framework, which is presented in section 4.

Measuring and improving service quality can have a different meaning and various associated practices, as listed in Lepmets, Cater-Steel, Gacenga, and Ras (2012). Section 5 discusses how the improvement cycle set up from process assessment results impacts the assessed organization regarding quality of service and business value. It presents the impacts of such improvement cycle on the processes and on the metrics. Additionally it is discussed how to estimate the Return on Investment of such a project, which is always useful to justify when selling the idea and the results to the management of the organization. Finally, the section 6 will describe the current situation of the TIPA framework and will give an insight on its latest and future developments.

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