This is an excerpt, you will find more detailed descriptions in the book.
Most IT organizations have a culture of continually improving their IT environment and their working method. The problem is that too many changes take place simultaneously and that they take place independently of each other. They are often initiated at operational level, which means that the activities can take place without knowledge at tactical level or coordination. There is thus a major risk of duplicating work or, in the worst case, parallel activities which directly counteract with each other.
Continual Service Improvement consists of a method which should be used by the IT organization when making improvements, and also a process to coordinate and prioritize which activities are the most important to implement.
The purpose of Continual Service Improvement is to constantly improve the quality and efficiency in production of IT services so that they can meet the business’s needs. This entails both achieving and exceeding the objectives that are set (quality) and also achieving these objectives at the lowest possible cost (efficiency). The IT organization can increase quality through, for example, reducing the number of errors in a process. A process can be made more efficient through eliminating unnecessary activities or alternatively by automating manual operations.
Activities to achieve the aim of Continual Service Improvement are:
- Measuring and analyzing service levels through comparing them with the requirements in the agreements (SLA)
- Coordinating and performing activities that will increase the quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction of IT services
- Coordinating and controlling methods for improvement measures and quality control within the IT organization as a whole
Continuous Service Improvement comprises the entire IT organization, including all functions, services, processes and procedures. The objective is to have control over all improvement proposals in order to subsequently be able to prioritize and implement improvements where the IT organization can achieve the best effect with a reasonable input at the time.
Continual Service Improvement approach
The aim of the approach is to divide overall objectives into manageable and defined steps. If each step then is guided towards the overall objective, it will ultimately be achieved. For the approach to function it requires that the IT Steering Group define the overall objectives at strategic level. If these are not in place, it is impossible to indicate the direction for each step at a tactical and operational level.
If the purpose of an improvement is not understood, it only has a limited value. The IT organization is then putting resources into an activity which runs the risk of not achieving full effect, or in the worst case, counteracting the overall planning.