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Exploring the Impact of IT Service Management Process Improvement Initiatives: A Case Study Approach Marko Jäntti1,3 , Terry Rout2 , Lian Wen1 , Sanna Heikkinen3 , and Aileen Cater-Steel4 1 Griffith University, Nathan, School of Information and Communication Technology 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia l.wen@griffith.edu.au 2 Griffith University, Nathan, Institute of Integrated and Intelligent Systems t.rout@griffith.edu.au 3 University of Eastern Finland, School of
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  Exploring the Impact of IT Service ManagementProcess Improvement Initiatives: A Case StudyApproach Marko Jäntti 1 , 3 , Terry Rout 2 , Lian Wen 1 , Sanna Heikkinen 3 , and AileenCater-Steel 4 1 Griffith University, Nathan, School of Information and Communication Technology170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia l.wen@griffith.edu.au 2 Griffith University, Nathan, Institute of Integrated and Intelligent Systems t.rout@griffith.edu.au 3 University of Eastern Finland, School of ComputingP.O Box 1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland {marko.jantti,sanna.heikkinen}@uef.fi 4 School of Information SystemsUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoomba, QLD 4350 Australia caterst@usq.edu.au Abstract.  IT companies worldwide have started to improve their ser-vice management processes based on best practice frameworks, such asIT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). However, many of these companies facedifficulties in demonstrating the positive outcomes of IT service manage-ment (ITSM) process improvement. This has led us to investigate theresearch problem: What positive impacts have resulted from IT servicemanagement process improvement? The main contributions of this pa-per are 1) to identify the ITSM process improvement outcomes in twoIT service provider organizations and 2) provide advice as lessons learnt. Keywords:  IT service management, service, IT Infrastructure Library,process improvement, process 1 Introduction Thousands of IT organizations worldwide have started to improve their servicemanagement processes based on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) that is themost widely used best practice framework for IT service management (ITSM). Amajor challenge is how people responsible for process improvement can demon-strate the benefits that process improvement initiatives provide. We propose thatITSM standards (15504-8 [1] and ISO/IEC 20000 [2]) provide an opportunity tobenchmark current processes and discern improvement.Evidence on positive impacts of ITSM process improvement motivates em-ployees to participate in the process improvement sessions and training in future,  2 enables process improvement specialists to see that their work is meaningful andprovide managers with the cost justification regarding the process improvement.IT service management can be broadly defined as “implementation and manage-ment of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business” [3]. Examplesof IT services are, for example, application and server services.Currently, there are three different versions of the ITIL framework that or-ganizations use: ITIL V2 2002, V3 2007 and V3 2011 edition. Many IT organi-zations started the ITSM process improvement by using ITIL v2. The core of ITIL v2 comprised two parts: 1) Service Delivery [4] and 2) Service Support [5].The ITIL V3 framework was released in 2007 with a completely new struc-ture. The goal of restructuring was to emphasize the service lifecycle with fivecore lifecycle books. The V3 2011 edition did not provide major amendmentsbut clarified unclear issues in V3 processes. The V3 2011 edition consists of fivebooks: Service Strategy [6], Service Design [7], Service Transition [8], ServiceOperation [9] and Continual Service Improvement [10].Because ITIL is a best practice framework, not a standard, IT organiza-tions need an international standard to audit their ITSM processes. The mostpopular IT service management standard is the ISO 20000 standard family, espe-cially ISO/IEC 20000-1:2010 Part 1: Service management system requirements[2] and ISO/IEC 20000-2:2011 Part 2: Guidance on the application of servicemanagement systems [11]. The service management process reference model canbe found in the Part 4 [12]. ISO/IEC TS 15504-8:2012 process assessment model[1] expands the PRM process definitions and defines Generic Practices, GenericResources and Generic Input/Outputs for evaluating the service managementprocess capability. Additionally, it uses Base Practices and Input/Output In-formation Items as process performance indicators and introduces a ProcessMaturity Framework (PMF). This standard will be renumbered to fit in theISO/IEC 33001 family. Figure 1 shows the contribution of ITSM frameworksand standards. Fig.1.  IT service management process frameworks and standards  3 Key Performance Indicators can be used to evaluate whether improvementshave resulted in positive outcomes. In the IT service management frameworkITIL, the measurement is divided into three elements [3]: Critical Success Fac-tors (CSFs) that represent business objectives for IT service management, KeyPerformance Indicators that indicate the direction of performance, and metricsthat enable measurements in practice.Previous studies on ITSM implementations have dealt with measurementsof ITIL implementation projects [13], the success factors of ITSM projects [14],failures of ITIL implementation [15], maturity models of ITIL implementation[16] and integration of ITIL and CMMi [17]. CMMi for Services [18] can be usedto assess the maturity of a service provider organization. Additionally, a recentstudy in Australia presented a model to select processes for ITSM improvement[19].Surprisingly few studies have investigated realization of the benefits. Mar-rone and Kolbe [20] have identified six most important benefits from ITSMimplementation: improvement in customer satisfaction, improvement in internalprocesses, standardization of processes, improvement in service quality, increasein efficiency, and improvement in return on investment (ROI). Lepmets et al.[21] have described the IT service quality attributes that could be measured toimprove IT service quality. Barafort et al. [22] have explored the benefits fromthe use of ISO/IEC 15504 and ITIL. Additionally, McNaughton et al. [23] usea holistic evaluation framework for ITSM with four perspectives: management,technology, IT user, IT employee. There are also studies that have dealt withbenefits from improving software development processes. The DACS report [24]presents the following measures for software process improvements: productivity,quality, rework, project cost, improvement cost, cycle time, schedule variance.Similarly, SEI [25] has used cost, schedule, productivity, quality, customer satis-faction, and ROI to measure CMMI-based process improvement.The  main contribution  of this paper is to– explore the impacts of IT service management process initiatives in two ITservice provider organizations,– provide lessons learnt from two cases and– discuss how to demonstrate ITSM process improvement impacts.Our research results might be useful for CSI managers, quality managers andprocess managers responsible for improving service management processes.The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, the researchmethods are described. In Section 3, we explore the IT service managementprocess improvement impacts. In Section 4 lessons learnt are derived from theanalysis of two cases. The conclusions are given in Section 5. 2 Research Methods In this paper, the research problem is: What positive impacts have resulted fromIT service management process improvement? We used a case study research  4 method to explore the research problem. This exploratory study was carried outwith two organizations. In order to maintain the anonymity of research, theyare called Alpha and Beta in this paper. Both organizations were representativecases with ITIL-based process improvement experience. For the IT service man-agement research, a case study method suits especially well because it allowsrich data collection on service management processes, people, services, tools andtechnologies. Eisenhardt has defined a case study as “a research strategy whichfocuses on understanding the dynamics present with single settings” [26]. The re-search problem was addressed by the following research questions that provideda roadmap for the case study:1. What was the scope of process improvement (ITSM processes/ services)?2. Which quality frameworks/standards or metrics were used to support ITSMprocess improvement?3. What effects / benefits / improvements were identified from ITSM processimprovement?4. What effects resulted from IT service management training?5. What challenges arise in ITSM process improvement?The training-related question was added to the study because researchersconsidered ITSM training as an important source of improvement ideas. 2.1 The Case Organizations and Data Collection Methods Our first case organization Alpha offers IT, product development and consult-ing services in Northern Europe. The company has around 18,000 employeesoperating in 30 countries. This case study was carried out in the business unitthat provides solutions and services for Scandinavian energy companies. Thefollowing data sources were used:– Interview on ITSM impacts: Release and testing manager– Documentation: SLA, SLM process description, SLA module user guide– Archives and records: Excel sheets on incident resolution times– Participative observation: SLA/SLM process improvement meetings (Novem-ber 2011-January 2012), SLA workshop– Physical artifacts: Access to intranet and the SLA module (ITSM tool).Our second case organization Beta provides IT services (e.g. desktop services,service desk) to a government agency. The agency had 5,300 fulltime employeesin 2011. The following sources of evidence were used in data collection:– Interview on ITSM impacts: Service director– Documentation: Process descriptions, user support metrics, service desk sys-tem user manual, service descriptions, service area catalogue– Archives and records: Incident service request and problem records– Participative observation: Discussions in weekly meetings– ITSM training for user support staff: 70 persons (September 2011)– Physical artifacts: Intranet and a service desk system.
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