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Adoption and culture change: transforming organizations

Blog posted by: Adam McCullough – ITSM expert, 28 October 2019.

IT service manager standing before an illuminated board of interconnected icons with a circle of light at her pointed index fingertip

One of the most dangerous things for people in organizations to say is: “We’ve always done it this way.”

While employees often don’t question or challenge the status quo, enterprises today are having to transition from the way they might have been doing things for decades.

For example, most IT organizations have a standard operating procedure (SOP) that employees are expected to follow. And while the cultural norm is to not challenge it, it’s vital to revisit SOPs by empowering employees to question whether it’s still relevant.

This can happen, for example, when people return from an ITIL® course with new ideas. And with the introduction of ITIL 4 alongside the growing use of DevOps practices in organizations, it’s probably time to revisit the SOP!

The digital imperative to change

Today’s reality of digital disruption and lightning speed IT revolution means that if organizations don’t embrace change, they will be left behind.

Without advancing in your methods for managing IT as a service you will ingrain a stagnant culture with people working as if they are on an assembly line. It’s no secret that companies that don’t update will, over time, perish.

Ultimately, they need to ask themselves: “How can I support my customers better and how can I empower my employees to provide the best service to our customers?”

Adoption and culture change

Change can take a while to achieve, especially after working in a particular way for a long time.

And change is dependent on human beings, who tend to find even small changes difficult to accept. Therefore, there’s a whole process to take people through change, from the “early adopters” at one end to the “laggards” at the other end.

So, to give change the best chance of success:

  • the organization needs to buy in to the concept of cultural change
  • there needs to be an appropriate and constant level of training
  • you need to work through the DevOps/Agile mindset which means having check points of improvement through the process of change and an approach of constant iteration.

ITIL – supporting change and improvement

Being in a mode of continuous improvement is at the core of ITIL. When it comes to improvement, you are never done. This makes it a major tool in your toolbox.

However, there is a range of frameworks and methods that all play a different role across teams and disciplines. That means people need to recognize the importance of cross-functional working and thinking, which involves breaking down barriers and ensuring that everyone knows what is meant by ITIL, DevOps, Lean, Agile, etc.

The concepts in ITIL 4 strike at the heart of the challenges organizations face in seeing change and responding to it. The requirement to learn, unlearn and re-learn.


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