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Essex reports KPI boost from ITIL implementation



The county council has credited the best practice framework for helping to lift its IT performance

Essex County Council has lifted its key performance indicators (KPIs) for IT management after adopting the ITIL best practice management framework.

The council's chief information officer, David Wilde, has flagged up the results in a case study published by Axelos, which manages ITIL as a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita.

He says the information services department has had a 30% rise in its KPI scores since the adoption of ITIL, with the best improvement for delivering standard service requests within target, which increased from 32% to 86%. There has also been a 25% reduction in major incidents.

He also claims improved results for audit assurance over the past three years, the most notable being within the service transition category, especially for service asset and configuration management. The latter moved from 'no assurance' to 'substantial assurance'.

Wilde took part in the early design of ITIL when he worked for the Cabinet Office from 1998-2001, and introduced the framework to Essex after he joined the council in 2011.

Red KPIs

"When I joined the council the customer base had little or no faith in the IT department and there was a service report full of red KPIs," he said. "We had silos of knowledge without adequate tools to enable sharing and out of date documentation.

"We needed to standardise our estate, meet our service level agreement (SLA), gain control of the service, get our underpinning contracts into line and capitalise on sensible outsourcing opportunities, such as our networking."

The council created a new service management team and used consultants to document the application of ITIL in its operations. It initially had one team member for each of the seven ITIL processes, but soon moved to a structure in which team members were responsible for a lifecycle stage.

It then began to train the whole department - everyone to foundation level and the ITIL process owners to intermediate level - and to align its processes with ITIL.

The council acknowledges there was some resistance, saying it was due to a lack of understanding and fear of extra work. The main challenge was to get employees to look freshly at what they did, and get the service management team to digest the consultants' documents, understand ITIL theory and whip up enthusiasm among their colleagues.

It says it overcame these through having a team whose sole focus was on the ITIL alignment, and getting the right balance between the external consultants and the service management team.

Right blend

"Ensuring everyone is trained to foundation level has really helped to gain momentum and increase awareness and understanding," Wilde says. "ITIL provides the right blend of service management, infrastructure management and customer focus."

The result has been that all the information services KPIs are now rated as green, and the council says the continuous service improvement approach is now deeply embedded in its operations, with ITIL regarded as a key element.

It adds that there is still plenty of room for improvement and that, while it believes it is mature in its service operations and transition, it is now aiming at bring its service strategy and service design up to the same level. It also has an ambition to gain Service Desk Institute accreditation, and in the longer term ISO 20000 accreditation for IT service management.

Kaimar Karu, head of IT service management at Axelos, says: "The Essex County Council case study highlights how empowering stakeholders in every level of the organisation is one of the main factors in the successful adoption of ITIL. David's experience shows that ITIL plays an important role in successful delivery of services and can help public sector organisations improve service management, even during times of austerity."

Axelos recently announced a new Practitioner qualification to the ITIL framework. It is currently open to feedback from IT practitioners and is due to become available towards the end of the year.

The full case study can be found at:

Picture from Axelos

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