ITIL Implementation in a Major Arabian Gulf Company: Approach and Challenges

ITIL Implementation in a Major Arabian Gulf Company: Approach and Challenges

Mohamed Elhefnawi (UDEAL, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2220-3.ch013
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The experience of many organizations that have automated their business capabilities using enterprise information systems indicates that the realization of the sought business gains and promised returns on investment are conditional to having in place an effective strategy to support and maintain such systems technically and functionally during the post-implementation phase. It is argued that the proper implementation of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) represents an ideal forum for providing effective support tools that include service/help desk and incident reporting functions for end-users to report problems and issues or request enhancements, change management and configuration management functions to manage and document changes to the applications and functionalities, as well as IT infrastructure inventory and tracking applications. ITIL framework is widely used as a best-practice framework for IT services management. It outlines a set of integrated processes and procedures that will structure and re-engineer IT services activities, shifting IT function to be enterprise-wide business-focused while making the best use of the deployed technology. The case described in this chapter reflects the approach adopted by the IT function of an Arabian Gulf Company (AGC) used for ITIL implementation, highlighting the main challenges that have been encountered in this project.
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ITIL is used as a framework of IT services best practices that define a set of integrated processes and procedures that will structure and re-engineer IT services activities. ITIL redefines the scope and role IT function from a limited discrete function to an enterprise-wide, business-focused function that links effective technology adoption to business strategy and vision.

The main benefits associated with ITIL solution include the following:

  • Greater alignment of IT services, processes and goals with business requirements, expectations, and goals.

  • Improvement of availability, reliability, and security of mission-critical IT services.

  • Higher quality of IT services.

  • Increased IT productivity.

  • Permanently lowered Total Cost of IT Ownership (TCO) including services costs.

  • Minimizing risk due to IT infrastructure changes.

  • Provision of demonstrable IT performance indicators.

The case is concerned with the issues and challenges encountered by AGC as ITIL was being implemented and is concluded with lessons learned from this experience.

The implementation has followed a phased approach. The first phase established the core services support processes: Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Configuration Management, and Release Management. The second phase had focused on the implementation of additional ITIL processes (Service Level Management, Financial Management, Capacity Management, Availability Management, and IT Service Continuity Management). A post-implementation review was conducted after two months from completing the two project phases to ensure stabilization of introduced ITIL activities prior to assessing improvements in the delivered IT services.



Business has become strongly dependent on IT solutions to enable it to deliver its products and services. In fact, IT has become pivotal for any Company to accomplish its business goals and objectives. ITD is continuously aiming to improve their services and streamline their operations through adopting international standards and best-practices. ITIL has emerged as the industry de-facto standard and best-practices for IT services management that is widely used nowadays. ITIL provides a comprehensive framework for IT services support and delivery processes that align people, technology and processes to achieve performance excellence and meet stakeholders’ expectations as depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

ITIL: aligning people, technology, and process for continuous improvement


ITIL has undergone various version upgrades. The first ITIL version was introduced in the 1980s. The second version was released in the late 1990s, with a strong emphasis on operational process maturity Current ITIL V3 focuses on the entire IT service life cycle, taking the ultimate consumer of the services—the business—into consideration. Thus, ITIL V3 paves the way for making IT a business partner by providing technology and components to support the business and enables ITD to shift its focus from producing IT capabilities to delivering business technology services and from the management of IT silos to holistic governance of IT services. The ITIL V3 life cycle phases are:

Service Strategy: This phase primarily focuses on the planning aspects of a service strategy and the inclusion of key organizations inside and outside IT to provide true service delivery. The key activities of the service strategy phase are:

  • Defining the various customers that will consume IT services

  • Understanding customers’ expectations and needs

  • Building a funding mechanism to support customer needs

  • Determining methods for managing customer demand

  • Developing an IT service portfolio

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