Understanding ITIL Mistakes: Top 5 Issues that Impact IT Service Desk

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is an ITSM framework that standardizes ITSM processes and aligns service delivery with business goals throughout the lifecycle of an IT service. In practice, many organizations struggle to realize efficient ITIL workflows that can be truly standardized and replicated across business functions, IT service segments and different IT environments.


This is evident considering the variety and flavors of ITIL adopted by business organizations to address their own unique IT service delivery opportunities and challenges. While this appears to be an objective of the ITIL framework, which is only intended as a set of guiding principles for various ITSM functions, it also presents its own challenges within an ever-evolving and dynamic enterprise IT environment.


The idea of ITIL is to facilitate segmentation of ITSM processes at the task level – thanks to advanced hyperautomation intelligence technologies, these tasks can be automated not only in isolation, but as collective units of the larger ITSM organization optimized to achieve business and technology goals.


In this article, we will review some of the most pressing ITIL challenges specifically focused on the IT Service Desk and understand the solutions presented by hyperautomation intelligence:

Trends & Research

1. ITIL Sets the Minimum Requirements

ITIL guidelines define the lower bound for your IT service delivery expectations. As a framework, ITIL describes how various ITSM functions can achieve a minimum viable delivery through the least amount of effort. The idea of ITIL is to establish bare minimum standards as a baseline and scale improvements across all aspects of ITSM performance: operational efficiency, user experience and customer satisfaction, governance and compliance, service dependability, security and risk mitigation.


For the IT Service Desk, this requires careful analysis of ticketing requests, network log data, service performance, IT incidents and service requests before the organization can understand how well it complies with their ITIL guidelines, and identify ITIL functions that can present most valuable opportunities for improvement.

2. Information Silos and Inadequate Knowledge Management

When organizations define roles and responsibilities in compliance with the ITIL framework, they tend to concentrate knowledge in silos. This is primarily due to a lacking mechanism of automated knowledge management. ITIL provides guidance on managing change, incidents and problems, but the expertise tends to be limited among siloed departments and resolution teams. Instead of improving the collective knowledge base, the IT Service Desk treats various incident and service categories in isolation. As a result, service requests are transferred between different resolution teams repeatedly until a problem root cause is identified, which requires collective knowledge and collaboration between those teams. In such cases, the IT Service Desk may have the resources and expertise necessary to follow the ITIL guidelines on incident management for instance, but the practical limitations such as information silos and inadequate knowledge management may prevent them from realizing the goals promised by ITIL.

3. Task Oversimplification vs Task Automation

ITIL encourages organizations to simplify and automate repetitive tasks to reduce the burden on the overwhelmed IT Service Desk staff. These tasks are often conducted in isolation in favor of simplicity and the operational workflows are not optimized for overlapping functions of the IT Service Desk. When the organization adopts an automation mechanism to replace manual efforts corresponding to simple but repetitive tasks, the entire process turns into a convoluted mix of automated but complex operational workflows. Instead of maintaining a complicated automation process, these organizations then avoid automation in favor of simplicity, at the expense of spending more resources on manual tasks. Ultimately, this impacts their ability to handle the growing volumes of ticket requests as their ITSM workflows are not streamlined for automation.

4. Dynamic Nature of your IT Environment

Modern enterprise IT environments consist of large, distributed and complex infrastructure resources and application components. Monolithic tools no longer suffice in managing systems as configuration changes, resource provisioning, integration and performance monitoring becomes an evolving process. An important task for the ITSM organization is to synchronize these processes and manage service delivery effectively within the dynamic IT environment. 


In this context, ITIL provides workflows that can meet specific business objectives at a process level, across a variety of Service Desk functions. These workflows are static, provide limited opportunity for evolving to meet the changing dynamics of ITSM functions that are treated in isolation, with limited knowledge sharing and no mechanism to draw intelligence from multiple and siloed network segments.

5. Request Categories without Correlation

ITIL encourages the IT Service Desk to categorize essential activities and functions for incident and problem management. The idea is to identify similar trends within each category and iteratively improve issue resolution capabilities. This is especially important for repetitive issues that converge to the specific problem root cause, and resolution teams can help resolve them by creating a simplified solution for repetitive problems.


The challenge facing the IT Service desk in this context is that the IT incidents in the modern enterprise are rarely isolated and attributed to individual categories. Categories are not always identified accurately by the end-user and without an intelligent solution to correctly categorize requests, they hop between multiple categories and resolution teams before an accurate resolution is identified.


The common solution to these limitations require the following data-driven capabilities, which can constitute as key elements of your hyperautomation intelligence strategy:

  • Automated and simplified knowledge management
  • Exhaustive analysis of historical ticketing archives
  • Intelligent ticket clustering that accounts for multiple issue categories
  • Advanced NLP technologies that can identify patterns from past data archives and apply the learnings to new requests with minimal input from end-users
  • Shift-Left or service resolution by improving knowledge management and information-driven collaboration between teams.


These are some of the key attributes of a hyperautomation intelligence solution that builds on existing IT Service Desk and ITSM technologies, complementing them to make the most out of your ITIL implementations.

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