Understanding Key to ITIL Success

Understanding Key to ITIL Success

The Victorian Department of Human Services, Victoria's largest government agency, is adopting ITIL under a 2005 mandate from Victoria's office of the CIO

As the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) prepares to enter the second phase of its major IT service management overhaul, IS Director Bob Reynolds concedes all has not been smooth sailing to date.

Reynolds says while there are thousands of books and a surfeit of advice about how to manage change initiatives, achieving meaningful change is still a major struggle.

Victoria's largest government agency, employing 11,000 people directly and thousands more indirectly, DHS is adopting ITIL under a 2005 mandate from Victoria's office of the CIO

"The actual work is hard going," Reynolds says, "and getting the understanding of all parties is critical to the project's success."

That understanding — while extremely challenging to attain — extends as much to the vendor as it does to staff and managers, he says.

"Firstly on the vendor front, it's very important that the long-term continuity understanding of what the total project is about is understood by the vendor you are partnering with.

"It is also very important that the vision of what you are building is understood by the staff and the managers. It's not well understood traditionally. That's because it cuts to the very core of the old way of doing things."

Victoria's largest government agency, employing 11,000 people directly and thousands more indirectly through agencies providing public services, DHS is adopting ITIL under a 2005 mandate from Victoria's office of the Chief Information Officer extending to all government agencies. It chose a number of CA solutions to address its complex requirements.

When completed DHS expects the system overhaul to improve the customer experience and allow proactive detection and resolution of IT issues with minimal disruption to the end-user.

And it believes the consolidation of IT operations and standardization on ITIL will achieve a transformation and reorganization of DHS' support area as it move to improve the structure of its operations.

It expects removal of manual processes to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of managing users and to allow predictive capacity planning. When completed DHS expects to end up a system with an effective service level management in place, and which will comply with regulatory compliance.

The first stage, the technical tools implementation stage, which involved putting in place the service desk, robots and technical software, was in its final stages as Reynolds spoke. The second phase, about to begin, will involve formalization of the implementation of the processes associated with the technologies, such as incident problem change and release management processes.

Reynolds says preparing staff for the transformation has been extremely challenging. To help them cope with the transition he has been running formal communication sessions with staff every three months. There are also numerous working groups which discuss progress and the development of processes.

"We have team-based approaches to these and we have, if you like, a full transition plan where we organize the support structures within the infrastructure support group, which has about 100 people in total.

"Re-organizing that whole thing into an aligned service delivery model--that's the hard thing," he says.

He says skilling staff in business language and a business approach, rather than the siloed approach to skills they have traditionally taken, is tough.

"It's about flipping their mind over into that service delivery model, which is very difficult to achieve," he says.

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