Value - two ITIL® questions to ask yourself

What's clear in ITIL® is that value is not always related to money - it's not always about providing the cheapest service.

When compiling a new IT service, always ask yourself 'What are we trying to achieve?' Think about the outcome you're trying to get to rather than the means by which it should be done.  A great example is 'we need a website so that we can sell online' is the wrong way to think about it. This declaration is focusing on the means and not the outcome.

It's always best to think about the role of the customer in this: 'We would like an online selling platform that's accessible to customers' is more focussed on the outcome. This opens up the means to be a website, a third party platform (such as eBay), or even an app.

The introduction of a service should allow the business to do something better or new or remove a constraint. 'Has the app made us more accessible to customers online?' could be a question to gauge the success. If the answer is 'yes', we can call it 'fit for purpose'.

The second aspect of value in ITIL speak is that of 'warranty' - don't think of washing machines here… it's not a guarantee like you'd get on the high street. The service must be 'fit for use'.

Consider that we've produced an app to make ourselves more accessible to customers online. There are four elements we much consider in its upkeep for it to be of any value to the business:

Availability - if it's down every weekend for five hours, we'll be missing out on sales, it needs to be available 24/7

Capacity - we're looking to increase our product range by 200 items, will the app's capacity grow as we grow?

Security - does it encrypt the credit card details of our customers? We don't want a security breach as that will adversely affect future business.

Continuity - if the app goes down, is it easy to get it back again? How often is the information backed up?

These two aspects to consider: 'is it fit for purpose?' and 'is it fit for use?' are the questions that determine whether a new service will be of value to the customer. Without these precautions in place, why should the business buy into it?

Find out more about ITIL at Quanta.