ITIL : practice and theory – an empirical study
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- Master Thesis 
Through this thesis we attempt to acquire general knowledge about how to make the best use of ITIL and how to implement it sensibly in real-life situations. This aim is achieved by studying relevant literature, conducting qualitative and quantitative research, upon which we eventually make our analysis and conclusions. ITIL is a framework for best-practice IT Service Management (ITSM) based on consensus recommendations from IT practitioners from all over the world. We give a short presentation of the field of IT Service Management and the related field of process management whereupon we try to give a brief, but to-the-point presentation of the core ITIL literature. We continue with a literature study on organizations and communication to understand the backdrop against which any IT project will take place. Thereafter we narrow down our focus when going through characteristics of projects, project management and the pertaining PSO (abbr. for People, System, Organization) perspective, as well as change management. An ITIL implementation is typically carried out through the means of a project implying changes not only to the Systems at work in the IT department, but also to the People and the Organization. Our empirical data are based on an ITSM status survey conducted in the Nordic countries as well as interviews with three experienced Norwegian practitioners. This gave us data on ITIL progress and viewpoints among Nordic companies in addition to in-depth, partly tacit information from well-respected ITIL practitioners. We compared our theoretical understanding to how it corresponded to the experiences of our interviewees and the results from the survey. Based upon what we learned from this process we have launched six propositions (see Chapter 5.1). The purpose of the propositions is to keep our analysis discussion structured and goal-oriented. In addition we now propose our two general research questions, with which we try to formulate the main problem of our thesis. We will also cover more specificities and related features in our analysis and discussion of our propositions in Chapters 5 and 6. Research Question 1: How can ITIL be useful to organizations and IT departments, and how could it be introduced optimally to different organizations? In other words: Is there a universal introduction recipe? We find reasons and benefits for why both small and large IT departments should implement ITIL, although ITIL needs adaptation and a pragmatic approach for it to work purposefully in a specific situation. The reasons for choosing ITIL vary, but they all rest on the fundament that ITIL, when used sensibly, gives more efficient IT Service Management. We conclude that there is no universal introduction recipe. However, the implementation may be aided positively by the help of an external consultant that is unaffected of internal power structures and able to see the organization from an out-of-the-box perspective. To internalize process thinking among IT employees is typically a time-consuming process. Research Question 2: How can one deal with the change process that ITIL initiates? We conclude that one must be vigilant when dealing with the soft aspects of change – implementing a technical system supporting ITIL processes can be done quick and easy. However, internalizing ITSM and process thinking among employees and an organization that have not before worked in such a manner is more challenging. To be aware of developing the people and the organization parallel with the development of ITIL-supporting systems can be a key to reducing resistance to the change an ITIL project may bring about. Applying such a parallel focus, called PSO, may even create understanding for the necessary changes so that people begin supporting the ITIL initiative and start engaging in its success. Another specific recommendation for making the IT employees understand the benefit of using ITIL and be positive towards the upcoming change may be to first introduce some of the ITIL‟s operative processes, thus achieving so-called quick-wins, i.e. showing with immediate effect how ITIL can enhance the efficiency of the IT department by its structured way of working.