Aligning Six Sigma and ITIL to improve IT Service Management

Aligning Six Sigma and ITIL to improve IT Service Management

Peter C. Chan, Shauntell R. Durant, Verna Mae Gall, Mahesh S. Raisinghani
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-607-7.ch016
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The framework in our exploratory research has been built upon a deductive study which has been developed through a literature review and synthesis and an exploratory inductive research which has been developed using a qualitative case study. It makes the case for leveraging ITIL and Six Sigma with ITSM in practice and opportunities for future research.
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Overview Of Information Technology Service Management (Itsm)

The rise of services oriented architecture, client server computing, virtualization and distributed applications have created a plethora of moving targets in the information technology (IT) organization. IT organizations have had to deal with a business that have historically been siloed by function or department and have been separated from the business. However as organizations have adopted an enterprise approach running their businesses, IT managers can no longer run an IT organization as a technology-based organization. They must be able to migrate to being a value-based service provider and contributor to the enterprise strategy instead of an overhead cost. IT Service Management (ITSM) is a process-based practice intended to align the delivery of IT services with needs of the enterprise, emphasizing benefits to customers. ITSM involves a paradigm shift from managing IT as stacks of individual components to focusing on the delivery of end-to-end services using best practice process models (, 2008). Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a globally recognized collection of best practices for information technology (IT) service management.

ITSM audits are based on analysis of four key performance indicators in specific ways:

  • Growth and value, which involves tracking revenue growth against investment and utilization.

  • Budget adherence, which involves optimizing the use of available funds and avoiding unnecessary expenditures.

  • Risk impact, which involves identifying and evaluating the consequences of risks taken or avoided.

  • Communication effectiveness.

IT managers need to adopt a service management approach consisting of well-defined IT processes and a continuous improvement program in order to meet their customer’s expectations and contribute to the enterprise’s goals.

ITSM Evolves IT to Achieve Higher Result with Business Focus

To meet the challenge, IT managers in USA are adopting ITSM, a practice that has been used by their European counterparts for over 24 years. According to Salle (2004), the evolution of IT organizations typically mature through three stages: technology provider, service provider and strategic partner.

Figure 1.

Evolution of the IT Function within organizations (Salle, 2004, p. 1)


Continual maturity occurs as the IT organization moves through each stage. In the initial stage the IT organization operates as a technology provider and it is using IT infrastructure management (ITIM). In this stage, the focus is to manage and provide a solid infrastructure to the enterprise by maximizing the return on technical assets and controlling the infrastructure including its hardware and data. As an organization moves to becoming a service provider it will use ITSM which leverages ITIL to identify the “services its customers need and focusing on planning and delivering those services to meet availability, performance, and security requirements. In addition, IT is managing service-level agreements, both internally and externally, to meet agreed-upon quality and cost targets. Ultimately, when IT organizations evolve to IT business value management (IT Governance), they are transformed into true business partners enabling new business opportunities. In that stage, IT processes are fully integrated with the complete lifecycle of business processes improving service quality and business agility” (Salle, 2004, p. 1). Alternatively the Capability Maturity Model Integrative (CMMI) model from the Software Engineering Institute can also be used as the organization evolves in the maturity level of its processes.

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