Real World ITIL + ISO20000 + COBIT

In 2010 News International embarked on a major re-structuring of IT services. This was to be supported by a new service desk and, more of a challenge, a new service culture. The feedback has been very positive:

 “IT have become innovators rather than inhibitors.”

News International (recently re-branded News UK) is both the leading UK newspaper publisher, and a leader in the development of online services. The overhaul of IT services was designed to support:
– A major office re-location
– A move to Cloud and Amazon Web Services
– A shift to use of mobile devices
– Co-location of data services

The need for strong service management was clear from the start. At the APMG Showcase in June, Paul O’Connell and Gareth Wright explained how they drew on their experience of ITIL to develop a service management approach which went way beyond the new Service Desk which was the initial target. They were supported in this initiative by Connect Sphere – one of Focus’ accredited delivery partners. 

From the start, there was a pragmatic approach drawing on the strengths of several best practice approaches. A COBIT maturity assessment was used early on to generate a detailed Gap Analysis – and a benchmark that could be re-visited each year. All service desk staff were required to achieve ITIL Foundation.

The initial ITIL processes targeted were:
– Incident
– Change
– Problem Management.

Once these were under control the push was to “standardise and improve”. Year 2 targets included:
– Service Request
– Release & Transition
– Customer Satisfaction
– SLA reporting
– Service Continuity

By Year 3 there was successful delivery against SLAs and measurement had moved to a real time Service Dashboard. The annual COBIT assessment demonstrated significant progress. ISO 20000 had not been an initial objective but by this stage the team was largely in conformance.  It still took 6 months to achieve certification, though a relatively easy step given the progress achieved in the 2 years prior. Importantly for News International ISO 20000 brings with it an ongoing internal audit process and it concentrates on “what you do”, not “what you say you do”.

There were several motives for ISO20000 certification:
– It offered external recognition of the team’s competency
– It helps ensure that standards are maintained
– It supports corporate compliance with regulations such as SOX

This dry summary does not do justice to the real enthusiasm of Paul and Gareth who led this project. For them, and their team, the journey has clearly been transformational – and underpins the future growth and development of their organisation.

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