The first four stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle are when services and processes of an IT service provider are designed, tested, implemented, and then deployed into a production environment to be used by customers or businesses. These services may not meet the ITIL Service Operation service levels. Or, even if they do, there will always be room for improvement and better service delivery. If an IT service provider doesn’t aim to produce better results incrementally, the delivered services will be outperformed by the competition over time. This will make it impossible for IT service providers to sustain their business. The Continual Service Improvement stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle (ITIL CSI), works in conjunction with the other four stages and finds improvement areas. Next, creates a service improvement plan to ensure better service delivery to customers.
Even in free ITIL courses we learn that measurements are a cornerstone of ITILCSI. Let’s take a look at how the ITIL CSI stage uses measurement as a baseline to improve service.
Measurements as a baseline
A baseline is the recorded state of an element at a particular time. It serves as a reference value. The baseline is used in the ITIL CSI stage as a starting point for future comparisons. The ITIL CSI stage’s main objective is to improve service delivery. A baseline is used to compare the results of improvement plans. The baseline is used to measure the progress of the IT service provider’s services and processes.
Benchmarks for service or process improvements are established during the ITIL CSI stage. The ITIL CSI stage establishes benchmarks that define the expected results of the improvement plans. Let’s say that a service has a 98% availability level. After a few steps, you can expect it to reach or surpass 99% availability levels. The benchmark is the expected 99% availability level.
Baselines should be documented, understood, and accepted. Over the baseline IT services and processes, later actions, improvements, plans, and plans will be created.
Baselines can be used to achieve strategic, tactical, and operative goals. The baselines can be used to assess the current IT services and processes, but not just for their measurement. Baselines for tactical, strategic and operative objectives are also measured to allow future comparisons of these objectives with the baseline.
If there are no benchmarks, the first measurement results will serve as baselines. Sometimes, the exact picture of the first results might not be available. This should not stop you from improving service delivery. These first measurements can be used to establish baseline values. Based on these baseline values, service improvement steps can be taken and plans for the ITIL CSI stage created.
We now have a better understanding of how the ITIL CSI process uses measurements to establish a baseline. It is time to revisit the scope and objectives of the ITIL CSI stage.
The ITIL CSI stage’s objectives and scope
ITIL CSI covers the four remaining stages of the service lifecycle: Strategy, Design, Transition, and Operation. ITIL CSI’s main purpose is to improve service delivery to customers, increase customer value perception, and increase customer satisfaction.
ITIL CSI provides guidance to enable and conserve added value. The CSI stage uses current resources and capabilities to maximize output and provide maximum value for customers. Once improvement areas have been identified, actions are taken to improve the service experience for the custodian.