9 ITIL Implementation Challenges

ITIL implementation is no cakewalk. ITIL impacts your entire organization — your business, your IT department and your in-flight projects. The most common implementation challenges include:

1. Management Commitment

The biggest problem ITIL implementations face is when executive management approve the ITIL program but then fail to follow through with strong sponsorship support.

2. Resistance to ITIL

ITIL represents a broad organizational change that is always resisted. Departments, teams and individuals tend to defend the status quo.

3. Project Culture

ITIL isn’t a project with a completion date. It’s a set of processes that must be continually improved. There are plenty of organizations who “do” ITIL and then move on to something else. This approach always fails.

4. ITIL for the sake of ITIL

Organizations that seek a rubber stamp from ITIL (e.g. ISO 20000 certification). Such organizations see little business value in ITIL and seek to minimize implementation costs at the expense of true ITIL success.

5. Business Acceptance

ITIL isn’t transparent to the business. For example, it may change the way that business submits change requests or opens support tickets.

It’s important that business be a strong supporter of ITIL from the start (program initiation). Otherwise, ITIL may be viewed as bureaucratic nonsense. ITIL implementations are rarely successful without business buy-in.

6. Big Bang

ITIL has numerous processes. Each ITIL process has a large organizational footprint. Full implementation of ITIL is best done in phases. A big bang ITIL implementation has the potential to disrupt IT and business operations.

7. Naive Implementation

Throwing ITIL over the wall and hoping it takes hold.

8. Tools

ITIL isn’t a technology. However, it’s nearly impossible to implement ITIL processes without technology. Technology implementation is often amongst the greatest ITIL challenges.

9. The Moving Target

Many organizations that were in the middle of ITIL V2 implementation were thrown off track by the considerable changes in ITIL V3.

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