ITIL Intermediate: a pathway to ITIL 4 – Continual Service Improvement

Graphic image of IT service manager sat at desk facing large screens displaying data on graphs and pie charts and files above him on the wall in front

What is the importance of Continual Service Improvement among ITIL Intermediate’s lifecycle modules?

Adam McCullough explains how the module empowered him in his role as an ITSM professional.

Continual service improvement (CSI) is something every business has to do, or you won’t survive.

I think it’s one of the most relevant skills an ITSM professional can have: giving you a broad view of all the lifecycles and instilling a continual improvement mindset.

After certifying I started using the seven-step improvement process which enabled me to ask people: “How do you know you’re doing OK? – Show me!”

It might be uncomfortable at first but this approach changes everything and embeds the idea that ITSM is really there to help the organization. Having an industry framework like CSI and an ITIL certification in this subject meant I was 100% empowered to say “I know what I’m talking about”. And, over the years, I’ve gathered examples of my own best practice to quote from.

CSI – an ongoing benefit

Of all the certifications to help you make an immediate impact, CSI is one of the best.

It gets to the root of providing IT as a service and covers everything from service desk through to operations and transition. You can focus on something – incident management, for example – and make a huge improvement before moving on to something else.

It also means you can make improvements that power a “leap” over interim solutions to reach an even better answer to the current challenge. This is about staying on top of the competition.

In the context of today’s world, CSI goes back to what is at the crux of any organization: the quest for improvement. For example, the CSI model helped my work on a $5bn programme with a regulatory compliance requirement.

This involved helping an organization whose work with the US Department of Defense meant that employees needed specific certifications to demonstrate competency. These were mission-critical jobs and the organization had to achieve 100% compliance.

I needed to identify who, by role, required certification and then assess how many of them were compliant or not. Among a workforce of 1,500,800 people still needed certification! This fuelled a plan to get everyone certified within six months, including a programme of training, certification, collecting and verifying the evidence. And after we achieved 100% compliance, we needed CSI to avoid any future certification backlog by deploying a mechanism to alert the company when people’s accreditation was due to expire. I relied heavily on CSI concepts for this programme and running through the process was critical to success.

CSI at the core of business

Every company CEO or president has to think of improvements to create value. Whether it’s automation, improving processes or increasing efficiency in delivery, continual service improvement has been relevant since the days of Henry Ford. Today, companies like SpaceX continue that tradition with the concept of having re-usable rockets. This is just one example of how a company disrupting its industry and having a continual improvement mind-set delivers benefits, in this case huge cost savings.

For any organization of any size, continual improvement remains at the centre of the business. If you’re looking hard enough and asking the right questions, there’s always something you can do better.

The content of ITIL v3 Intermediate modules is key for professionals working in ITSM today due to the essential knowledge they contain, creating increased understanding and the ability to handle immediate work challenges more effectively.

Also, ITIL-certified practitioners wanting to gain accreditation in the new ITIL 4 guidance can get a helping hand from the existing v3 credit system. By obtaining 17 credits from any combination of the ITIL Intermediate modules or ITIL Practitioner you can take the new Transition Module to achieve ITIL 4 Managing Professional. More information about ITIL 4 Managing Professional will be released throughout the second half of 2019.

Read more Blog Posts in our series covering the ITIL Intermediate modules

ITIL Intermediate v3 Service Operation – keeping the lights on

ITIL Intermediate v3: Service Design – enabling value creation

ITIL Intermediate – Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)

ITIL Intermediate: Release, control, validation – many happy releases

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