The Fifth ITIL Book: What Is CSI?


Running a service and keeping up with growing expectations on both quality and efficiency is not an easy task. Beyond all external factors that might impact your business and might force your hand to change the operational processes, you should permanently invest time in CSI to identify opportunities for improvement and manage improvement initiatives to be implemented and controlled.

At GMS Global Media Services GmbH, I am greatly involved in CSI myself and while I understand it is one of the hardest disciplines to follow through I want to tell you this:

Every thought, conversation and every bit of time invested into Continual Service Improvement is well invested. It wields a great potential not only in service improvement but beyond that you empower staff to shine and actually change something.

On the 10th and 11th of September BrightTALK hosts one of their great ITSM webinar summits. For these two days the industry experts will share their thoughts, practices and innovations around CSI with the world. The BrightTALK webinars can be watched live as they happen or when you happen to have a full schedule on that day, you can watch them freely on demand whenever you have time without any costs. Please check out details on all presentations and speakers here:

What is CSI?

CSI means Continual Service Improvements and is one of the five ITIL books about IT Service Management (ITSM). As the title suggests there is no real end to CSI but there is a lifecycle to it.

You could perhaps consider CSI to be the opposite of operational fire-fighting: Fire prevention. A CSI initiative could possibly have a positive impact on user / customer satisfaction, cost-savings, time-savings, enhanced flexibility or even ecological matters. There is no limit to its applicability as long it adds some kind of value back to any of the stakeholders.

CSI as per ITIL V3 2011 Edition consists of four processes that need to be managed in order to follow good practices of ITIL.

  • Service Review: The service performance is reviewed on a regular base. Identified gaps in the service can be captured, classified and staged into a CSI initiative.
  • Process Evaluation: Processes are evaluated on a regular base. Unlike the service review there are often no hard KPIs in the process evaluation to be measured against.
  • Definition of CSI Initiatives: An initiative could be understood as a type of a project. Once improvement opportunities have been formally identified in review and evaluation, the goals and the required steps to get there are captured.
  • Monitoring of CSI Initiatives: The initiatives should be checked regularly to review progress and measure against planned timeline and milestones. If there are issues identified, corrective measures should be started to ensure the initiatives remain “on track”. For managing large, lengthy and / or complex initiatives it is beneficial to have project management experiences.

Types of Initiatives

  • Proactive Initiatives: If you and your team has a good sense for innovation and if a suboptimal state is not acceptable for the long run you might have a good flow of ideas from which many could grow into serious value-add to the business. Usually you would be able to run these proactively raised initiatives as innovation and methodologies such as Design Thinking or Stage Gate outside the ITIL books might help further.
  • Retroactive Initiatives: If initiatives are triggered by events or by customer demand, you are acting retroactively on that event to prevent from similar issues to recur. Such initiatives often have a strict timeline and a vital target for completion (e. g. if gaps were identified by audits of clients or even governments) and therefore need a more senior manager to steer them in comparison to the proactive initiatives.

If I have your attention now and you would like to find out more about CSI, I strongly recommend you to check out the BrightTALK CSI webinars, that I have mentioned at the beginning. There will be great speakers presenting such as:

  • Ian Macdonald, Senior IT Professional, The Co-operative Group
  • John Noctor, Director, Customer Success
  • Daniel Breston, IT Coach, Qriosity Limited
  • Dave van Herpen, Management Consultant, Sogeti Netherlands
  • Paul Gleeson, Global Vice President; Laura Osburnsen, VP Marketing, Edge Service Management by Unisys
  • Brendan Crowe – Moderator; Rod Fontecilla, VP Application Modernization; Darren McGrath, Global Director-Mobility Solutions
  • Anthony Orr, Director, Service Management for CTO Office
  • Nimish Shelat, HP Software
  • Dave Jones, Principal Consultant, Pink Elephant EMEA Ltd
  • Robert S. Falkowitz, Founder and General Manager of Concentric Circle Consulting
  • Elisabeth Cullivan, Director, EasyVista
  • Vesna Soraic, HP Software
  • Peter Zeinoun, Director, LogMeIn
  • John Purcell, Sr. Director, Products; Ted Roller, VP, Channel Development; LogMeIn
  • George Spalding, Pink Elephant and Chuck Darst, HP Software
  • Robby Dick, Lead Technical Consultant, BMC Software
  • Luke Grimstrup, Product Manager, Citrix; Gaston Perez, Manager of Information Technology, CaseBank
  • Darius Wallace, Engineering Solution Architect; Mati Pitkanen, Director, Solutions Marketing for Performance & Availability

Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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