Challenges and Critical Success Factors in Implementing ITIL Service Operation Processes: The Case of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia

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Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the most popular framework for IT Service Management (ITSM) in the world. This framework is also in the process of being adopted by Ethiopian IT organizations. ITIL comprises of five service lifecycle stages. Each lifecycle stage includes guidance on service management of 26 processes. Service Operation (SO) lifecycle stage is a critical stage of the service lifecycle responsible for the ongoing management of the technology that is used to deliver and support services. Available literature on ITIL discusses the importance of ITIL SO processes and its benefits. Lack of academic researches published on standard approach on its implementation in developing countries like Ethiopia generally, and the banking sector in particular, has contributed to the decision to carry out this study. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore Critical success factors (CSFs), identify challenges and discover the possible ways by which the IT support organizations can overcome the identified challenges of ITIL SO implementation in the context of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. For this purpose, an exploratory case study approach was applied. Primary and secondary data were collected via semi-structured interview, document collection, and direct observation. For the reason that involving knowledgeable individuals on the subject of the study was crucial, a purposive sampling technique was used in the research. Respondents were screened by their exposure and certification level of ITIL framework. Data was analyzed and interpreted using qualitative content analysis method. The extracted challenges and CSFs from the literature and semi-structured interview were analyzed. As a result, findings which were unique to this study identified and a SO processes implementation strategy to overcome the identified challenges proposed. Thus, this paper identified 19 challenges in five categories. On the other hand, the critical factors that are unique to this study are: Project budget, Top Management involvement, Stakeholder management, Prioritization of Process implementation, ITIL Implementation experience, Organizational structure, Organizational culture, IT Governance, Measurement of stakeholder capabilities, Project management skill, activity demarcated among support levels, Process integration, maturity of other processes.


A Thesis Submitted to College of Business and Economics of Addis Ababa University in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the Master of Art in Business Administration (MBA)


Challenges, Implementation, Critical Success Factors, Service Operation