I’ve got ITIL 4 Foundation – what next?

A person studying for ITIL 4 certification

What should service management practitioners do after certifying in ITIL® 4 Foundation?

This is one of the questions I hear most often, especially from people starting on their ITIL journey.

And it’s important today for people who have previously certified in ITIL v3 Foundation to understand that ITIL 4 Foundation takes a different direction: what used to be the standard focus for many organizations – incident/change with a bit of request/problem management plus a few processes – is now about holistic, end-to-end services underpinned by practices.

Using a simple analogy, ITIL 4 is an entire house you’re building. When you’ve laid a solid foundation, this will support the next levels you need to add.

So, when you have certified in ITIL 4 Foundation, what’s next? There are different routes depending on who you are and what you want to do.

Applying ITIL 4 in a real-life project

If you are a newly-certified practitioner without management responsibility, speak to your sponsor, manager or CIO and let them know what you’ve learned from ITIL 4 and how it can be applied to your organization.

If you don’t have sponsorship, start getting buy in from your peers to see how this is applicable your group and encourage others to read about it and even certify themselves.

However, maybe the most critical thing is to identify a pain point and suggest a project where ITIL 4 could be used to relieve the pain and, for example, improve a service. Ask for the opportunity to run the project in your spare time and show how it works from input to value. Perhaps involve your peers to form an innovation group that will do the project alongside its regular work.

From there, you can start managing your mini project by applying ITIL’s guiding principles, developing value streams and co-creating value.

This is probably the most valuable advice I can give when an organization has little time or capacity for continual education.

Sponsoring ITIL 4 education for enterprise service management

For the CIO-level community, I think your opportunity is to sponsor ITIL 4 throughout your organization; training mid-level managers and other ambitious practitioners to be ambassadors for the guidance and certification.

This is about beginning to look at ITIL 4 as an enterprise service management approach, not just something for the IT organization.

By building peer support across the C-suite and among vice presidents you can start to bridge departmental/functional silos and gain value from enterprise service management. With ITIL 4 Foundation learning, you can enable small groups to run projects that will bring enterprise services together for HR, marketing, sales, manufacturing, etc.

However, this shouldn’t stop with ITIL 4. When the organization is ready for the next phase there are complementary certifications to consider such as PRINCE2 for project management, COBIT for governance and others such as Lean IT and Scrum.

Laying the foundation for service and value

Everyone in an organization is (or should be) contributing to a service and value at some point. So, learning ITIL 4, applying what you’ve learned even at a small scale and creating value makes it more likely your organization will sponsor the next project, spread it out through the enterprise and support a continual education programme. This is vital when budgets are tight and if organizations struggle to see education as value-adding.

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