The Shortcut Guide to Improving IT Service Support through ITIL

by Rebecca Herold


The Shortcut Guide to Improving IT Service Support through ITIL, authored by IT compliance and regulations expert Rebecca Herold, describes the techniques, best practices, administration/management tools and example scenarios for successful implementation of IT service support using ITIL. This new guide offers helpful examples of problems faced by IT departments today, the benefits provided by ITIL, and the business value of ITIL. The Shortcut Guide to Improving IT Service Support through ITIL goes on to describe in more detail how to make change management, incident management and problem management more effective through ITIL, along with outlining how ITIL helps support compliance. The last chapter provides a roadmap for successful ITIL implementation.


Chapter 1: Challenges with ITIL Implementation

Most organizations are dependent upon IT to meet their business goals and to fulfill business processes. This increased dependency has led to more diverse systems and applications within the enterprise, with many of the components highly decentralized and/or highly specialized. This diversity has created a complex business-processing environment. IT complexity makes ensuring business applications and systems availability very challenging.

IT complexity, complicated with frequently changing technologies and always emerging threats, creates many IT service support challenges and problems. Table 1.1 demonstrates the types of situations that often occur within business and the resulting challenges and problems that must be addressed.

Chapter 2: Effective Change Management through ITIL

Change happens every day and in every way within every business. Information technology (IT) changes historically did not often occur back when all processing was done within a central mainframe that used dumb terminals for business inputs. However, technology continues to change increasingly more often, resulting in more frequent changes to business processes to improve services, reduce the number of incidents, lessen costs, and generally improve business.

Complex networks and systems coupled with numerous necessary changes are a recipe for disaster if not successfully managed. Implementing the ITIL Change Management processes can help not only to demonstrate that IT is a necessary cost to your business but also to actually show how IT can add value to your business.

There are generally three types of modifications made within Change Management.

  • Changes—Planned changes to the IT infrastructure to keep the processing going, these changes can range from installing a workstation on the network to relocating a server or a mainframe. These types of changes can introduce new errors into the IT environment and may not be recognized for a long time unless a good change management process is in place.
  • Corrective measures—Put simply, these are fixing the errors that exist.
  • Improvements and innovations—These are implementing new services, technical capabilities, components, or technologies into the IT architecture. These often result in unexpected consequences and long-term errors.

Chapter 3: Effective Incident and Problem Management Through ITIL

Before embarking on a discussion of Incident Management and Problem Management, it is good to do some level setting. Three process terms often used within Incident and Problem Management are incidents, problems, and errors. How are these different from each other? Let’s take a look at each one separately and establish parameters for each.


The ITIL Service Support book ( defines an Incident as “Any event which is not part of the standard operation of a service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in the quality of that service.

Examples of incidents are:

  • A user encounters an error when trying to access an application on the network
  • Part of the WAN becomes unavailable, resulting in some users being unable to log onto the network
  • Users do not get their expected messages because the email server rejects all incoming messages

Chapter 4: Supporting Compliance Through ITIL

Organizations have faced legal and regulatory requirements for literally decades. Perhaps the first, most painfully apparent compliance requirements were experienced by U.S. businesses in 1970. At that time, there was huge concern about the increasingly large numbers of deaths and injuries that occurred at work sites. A new oversight agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was created in 1970 and tasked to create regulations to ensure worker safety. Businesses hated these directives. Many business leaders predicted that following the new safety regulations would cost businesses huge amount of money not only because of lost productivity but also because of how much just getting into compliance would cost. Many of the requirements seemed unnecessary based solely upon the cost and timed involved for their implementation. However, history has shown that, as a result of OSHA requirements and compliance by organizations, there have been measurably fewer injuries and deaths and significantly less lost work. In addition, there have been fewer workers’ compensation losses.

Chapter 5: Roadmap for Successful ITIL Service Support Implementation

Once you have decided to implement ITIL service support processes—namely Change Management, Incident Management, and Problem Management—what do you do? For the best results, start with a small scope and build upon each success—begin with the areas that have the most urgent need for improvement and then go from there.

t often helps to examine how another company has had success with implementing processes. Let’s explore the challenges faced by a large multinational organization that are common across many organizations. First consider the following background information about the company that I’ll call Generic Manufacturing Company...