“Opinion: ITIL and Agile (SAFe) as Essentials of Digital Transformation”

(Aleks Yenin, medium.com, 1 November 2018)

“(…) each executive knows (or at least desires) what aspects should be transformed in his company, but it often looks like a long journey where a starting point is not very clear defined, so it’s a question how to do this”.

Digital transformation (DT) is hard to perform due to the absence of a unique cohesive methodology or guidelines. DT’s key elements are Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Agile. ITIL deals with organization and maintenance of the internal and external business processes and services. Agile deals with project management and human initiatives. Agile is applicable only within a team. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is “an interactive body of knowledge on how to adapt Agile practices at the whole enterprise and manage global business initiatives”. According to Dean Leffingwell, Scaled Agile, Inc., “SAFe promotes the core values of empowerment and decentralization of control, but not the decentralization of everything”. Leffingwell reckons that SAFe increases business productivity and quality by 30-50% and reduces time to market by 2-3 times. John Deere’s CEOs adopted SAFE to increase their speed to market within the same budget and resources. According to Steve Harty, in John Deere, as a result, the delivery time was reduced from 12-18 months to 2-4 weeks. The NHS Blood and Transplant improved its donor communication by utilizing SAFe trainings and implementing ITIL methodologies. In 4 month, NHS had a complete DT framework and could use it freely. According to Gary Dawson, Assistant Director at NHS, “SAFe has set in motion the skill development and mindset for successful organizational change even as we scale to new programs, release trains, and people.”  SAFe and ITIL make DT easier and quicker, however, they need time to be adapted. Before starting DT, prepare your company, train the staff, and study use cases.

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