With a growing demand for IT departments to not just 'do work' but to be able to demonstrate that they have a solid plan for self-governance for their own decision making process, and to deliver 'on demand' service and support in a timely manner, it is no wonder that IT departments are wondering 'how will we do it all, and do it all right?'.
Many IT organizations are turning to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Service Management framework. Developed by the United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce, ITIL is a public framework that describes best practices in IT Service Management. ITIL provides guidelines and architectures to ensure that IT processes are closely aligned to business process and that IT delivers the correct and appropriate business solutions. Over the years it has been refined, and updated to the current V3 version. The five key volumes are:
I attended the week long, ITIL conference in Las Vegas in February and got my first taste of which organizations are turning to ITIL to provide guidance on how to do the best job possible. From WestJet to the University of Miami, from Liberty Mutual to Johnson & Johnson, big and small companies were in attendance not only to share what they have learned so far, but to learn from each other as well.
It was a very well attended conference, but according to the organizer Pink Elephant, down from last year, yet another indicator of the tough economic times in the US. It sure felt like there were a lot of Canucks in attendance!
Tracks ranged from beginner ' The Early Years of Implementing ITIL, intermediate ' Continual Service Improvement, advanced ' Moving Beyond the Early Years of ITIL, and to mix it up, some 'softer' topics like How to be a Top 5 Employer in the IT Industry and Computerworld's Guide to Attracting and Retaining the Industry's Best. Really, there was something here for everyone, no matter how much, or in my case, how little, you knew about ITIL. Presentation format also varied from speakers with PowerPoint slides in rooms for 50 to panel discussions to key note speakers who presented to several thousand eager participants. All in all, a great variety of topics and presentation formats.
Key note speaker Nicholas Carr was particularly interesting, with his topic 'The Big Switch' which was described in the brochure as 'a sweeping, and some say, often a disturbing look at how a new computer revolution is reshaping business, society and culture'.
Once I was back to Saskatoon, I took the ITIL Foundation Certification course and exam. For those that who want more in depth information the intermediate level courses can provide training on specific topics such as service strategy, design, or operational support and analysis. In order to achieve the ITIL Intermediate Certification, a minimum of 22 credits need to be obtained. You receive 2 credits for completing the Foundation Certification, and depending on the Intermediate course taken either 3 or 4 credits for each. Each intermediate course has either a 21 or 30 classroom hours requirement before the exam can be taken.
I found that much of the information and 'best practices' taught in the Foundation course were things that I was already doing, I just didn't use the ITIL terminology to describe the processes. In addition, the process around continual service improvement reminds me that no matter how much we know, or how good we are doing now, there is always room for improvement.
So, if you have found yourself thinking 'there has got to be a better way to do this' you are not alone, ITIL might be what you were looking for all along, perhaps you just didn't know its name!
Good luck, and happy continual improvement!
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