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13 November 2009 | Aidan Mills Blog
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The Problem With Processes
ITP is pleased to welcome Aidan Mills; an experienced senior IT manager currently working for a Global IT services company. Aidan will be bringing to you his thoughts and insights every fortnight and would welcome any feedback to his new ITP blog...

  Aidan Mills B.Sc, MBCS, PMP

In this my first ITP blog I aim to be informative and hope to generate interest in my topics which will range from process-related comments to observations of the IT industry generally.

Too many organisations view standard processes such as ITIL as magic wands, golden elixirs which will, in of themselves, improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency. Those of us with practical experience in the adoption of standard processes know this is not the case.  The secret of success with any new set of processes is to understand their applicability and how best to adopt them within your organisation.  ITIL is not alone in the process world in being non-prescriptive.

In terms of applicability, there are many different views regarding for example ITIL. The most commonly held view is that maximum benefit cannot be achieved unless the full set of processes is adopted, and that supporting toolsets are required to operate many of those processes. The less commonly held view, the one incidentally shared by me, is that an organisation can benefit from point application of ITIL processes. Take for example a small to medium sized organisation which has, under normal circumstances, a fairly stable IT environment but which experiences serious IT outages whenever any change is applied to that environment.  Would not a judicious use of Change Management process with possibly a Forward Schedule of Change enable improvements to be made?

Usually of course, MAXIMUM benefit will arise from implementation of the full set of ITIL processes with supporting tools.  But that takes time and money, the latter of which is often in short supply especially in these lean times. The best ITIL practitioners will work with their respective business and IT organisations to understand which are the priority IT Service Management processes to adopt and will tailor the organisation’s ITIL SIP around that prioritized list.

In fact, the advances in ITIL, started during the life of ITIL Version 2 and cemented further in ITIL Version 3, make such point adoption easier from a resourcing and knowledge perspective.  It is easier now than ever before to become knowledgeable and certified in specific ITIL processes.  But for organisations which wish to adopt the full set of ITIL processes, this ability to specialise is not conducive to the strategic process adoption planning stage, and external experts with broad yet deep knowledge in ITIL will become worth their weight in gold for such work.  I suspect there will be less and less of these people around due to the process-specific specialisation routes available within ITIL. Apart from ITIL Version 3 being relatively new, perhaps this is one reason why the recent audit into adoption of ITIL V3 showed poor take-up of new areas within the standards.

Take a look at this report and work on expanding your knowledge of ITIL across all process areas.  Good strategic planning of ITIL adoptions now and in the future depends on having at least a few people in each organisation or organisational sector who are knowledgeable across all process areas within ITIL.

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!!


13th November 2009

Hi Aidan

A warm welcome from me to a fellow blogger!

Best wishes,
Alim Ozcan


17th November 2009

Hi Alim,

Thanks, I appreciate your welcome message - it's good to be in touch with you again through ITPReport :-))

Kind regards,



16th November 2009  

Hi Aidan,  

Nice article! I must say to you I review myself in your words regarding my experience with processes in organisations and in my own life... 

ITIL is the guideline and the framework that provides knowledge, orientation and wisdom.  Your examples are simple yet powerful. Would not a judicious use of Change Management process with possibly a Forward Schedule of Change enable improvements to be made? ITIL SIP around that prioritised list of improvements. The perspective gives us the way. 

The strategically approach is the key. Finding the drivers is the beginning. So we can list in a pragmatically and concrete way of doing in the following way : 

1. Strategically Drivers using SWOT and PEST e.g.

2. Benefit Dependence Network and structuring benefits - developing the business case

3. Stakeholders management and analysis, Benefit Plan, Proposals for implementation  

I'm doing a master on Project Management, and this excellent approach is being given by PhD Mário Romão on INDEG/ISCTE Lisbon Portugal. Besides being my teacher we worked together on Logica on projects and processes. Projects exists to improve processes. 

We have the knowledge thought ITIL,we are the knowledge (our own way, corporation way), we do it (implementing processes). The Problem (root cause) it is not on processes but in people. That's why finding the correct drivers is fundamental...But I think that's a question that Problem Management can endorse very well! 

Kind regards,
Alexandra Castelo Branco


17th November 2009

Hello Alexandra,

I'm pleased that you found my first blog interesting and I look forward to your thoughts on my subsequent articles.

Kind regards,



17th November 2009

Hi Aidan

I couldn't agree more.
Organisations I have worked in have adopted the approach of whole scale ITIL "implementation" and failed largely due to budget but also due to quickly waining interest. This waining interest seemed to be caused by a lack of understanding of process implementation, that this is even more an organisational change project .
Organisations looking to implement ITIL out of the books and quickly reap the benefits will be very disappointed.
From experience I know that taking the approach of implementing the processes causing the most pain or that will provide the greatest benefit first is a sure quick win in securing more funds to go further. I hate the term "quick wins" mainly because it usually means quick and dirty, however in this instance the term seems to fit, depending on your definition of "quick".
Thanks for your blog. I look forward to the next.

Kind Regards / Meilleures Salutations / Freundliche Grüsse

Keith Muckett MBA
Ashrei GmbH


17th November 2009

Hi Aidan,
This is the kind of info on ITIL I like to read. Easy and concise. Touching on the broad spectrum of ITIL and what it means. If most organizations adopt this attitude, they stand to be strong leaders in an otherwise leaderless process world. I may not have a lot of agreement on this, but I stand by my comments.
Thanks for sharing!

Derrick Ashman


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