Many followers of these seemingly mutually exclusive approaches exhibit a nearly religious zeal in defending their way as being the only way to go. Rather than being opposing approaches, however, Six Sigma and ITIL are complementary.
ITIL defines a framework for IT Service Management. It consists of a set of guidelines that specify what an IT organization should do based on industry best practices. It does not, however, define how to do it. For example, ITIL specifies that IT should allocate a priority for each incident that comes into the service desk, but it does not specify how to allocate those priorities. With ITIL, it’s up to the IT staff to flesh out the details of process flow and create detailed work instructions, all in away that makes sense for their organization.
Six Sigma, on the other hand, defines a process improvement approach that is based on statistical measurement, drives quality improvement, and reduces operational costs. It helps in developing detailed work instructions, and it defines a methodology for continually mapping, measuring, and improving the quality process. Six Sigma tells how, but it doesn’t tell what to do nor does it specify any best practices specifically for ITSM.
ITIL defines the “what” of service management and Six Sigma defines the “how” of quality improvement.Together, they make a great combination for improving the quality of IT service delivery and support. This paper presents a description of ITIL and Six Sigma, and discusses how they can be used together to improve IT service through best practices.The paper illustrates the power of the combination of ITIL and Six Sigma, with a real-world example of an ITSM improvement program implemented at General Electric.
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