While working for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with responsibility for global service level agreements, certifying in ITIL®’s Intermediate Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA) module was essential.
I really recognized the power of ITIL and service management while working as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan: each of the commands (military bases) there – which might have included a few tents on a hilltop with a laptop – was running its service desk independently.
By getting all 36 commands in the country to connect to a single toolset supported by ITIL meant the forces were able to differentiate between an IT incident and a Taliban attack.
On returning from Afghanistan, my new role was about transitioning generally-funded IT support in NATO to becoming customer-funded. This move meant having to explain better how IT was spending money, what a service was and why customers were paying for it.
This needed a re-examination of the whole organization, a centralization of IT operations and how to roll-out services to customers (i.e. the various commands, such as NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).
The value of ITIL’s SOA
For me, working in NATO, ITIL’s SOA acted as an “anchor”.
The commands want to be assured IT is following a business standard they can reference, which tells them you’re providing services correctly and can justify what you’re doing. For example, explaining the different elements that go into providing email, who is going to manage the service and why funding is required.
Having the certification is a step up and is recognized widely by other people in NATO, as even officers have studied ITIL Foundation.
Skills for the practitioner
Studying and certifying in SOA provides ITIL practitioners with a good understanding of the complexity in negotiating services and knowing whether you can deliver them or not.
For example, take service design. Someone might have an idea for a service, but they need to understand how they will support it, integrate it, select the right processes, monitor and report results.
Equally, with the growth of cloud services and the potential difficulties with how services will interact across an organization, SOA is the perfect certification to help you think about cloud infrastructure, negotiating the underpinning agreements, understanding security implications and what you will get under a service level agreement.
Having this knowledge is critical to have a fair chance of putting together a reliable, dependable, secure, outsourced IT infrastructure in the cloud.
Achieving ITIL’s SOA module makes you more valuable to your employer and able to represent your organization when negotiating cloud or SaaS technologies – you’re simply more aware of the questions you need to ask before signing on the dotted line.
Read more Blog Posts in our series covering the ITIL Intermediate modules
ITIL Intermediate – Operational Support and Analysis (OSA): Combating chaos
ITIL Intermediate: Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO)
ITIL Intermediate Service Transition – making IT change less painful
ITIL Intermediate: Service Strategy – towards better business and customer outcomes
ITIL Intermediate v3 Service Operation – keeping the lights on
ITIL Intermediate v3: Service Design – enabling value creation
ITIL Intermediate: Release, control, validation – many happy releases
ITIL Intermediate: a pathway to ITIL 4 – Continual Service Improvement
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.