Built on ITIL: ITIL – the tool that just keeps giving

woman's head resting on hand as she reflects on her IT service management career progression

My first three days in a new job with a training company just before the Millennium comprised the ITIL® Foundation course. Those three days changed my career.

After the course I realized ITIL was what I’d been seeking during my 15 years working in IT. The course made such a big impression on me – and not least because the trainer (Steve Mann) delivered it with such passion and belief; something that has always remained with me.

And what I learned helped me to build a team of service management trainers and consultants whose own careers have progressed to ever-bigger and better things. So, you could say I was sold on ITIL and ITSM from the very beginning.

Training people in ITIL

ITIL Foundation courses bring – for the trainees – a mixture of responses: not knowing much about it, they can question whether it’s applicable to them. However, each one has a “button” that just needs pressing to turn them on to ITIL.

Once they get to know the tools available and what they all do, people start to see the relevance. By day two of the training, they start using ITIL one-liners and jokes: when people are making jokes about ITIL and ITSM, I know they’re getting it!

But perhaps more than that is understanding one of ITIL’s mantras: adopt and adapt – recognizing the right tool to use in the right place and in the right way. You don’t have to “do it by the book”; it’s about what works for you and your customer based on best practice.

The fact that ITIL is a framework gives you the ability to adapt it to many situations. Therefore, ITIL is applicable equally to a historical, on-premise mainframe system as it is to a server-less cloud environment today. It’s the same framework, but used differently. There are certain underlying principles that remain the same: for example, ITIL v1 (pre-2000) said it was a good idea to test a change before putting it live. In 2018, it’s still a good idea – though now it happens in an automated tool chain and you might be calling it DevOps!

Likewise basing your IT decisions on business priorities and the value to be delivered: these things never go away and neither will their place in ITIL.

Building success stories with ITIL

I’ve worked with both individuals and companies that have used ITIL to inspire successful outcomes. What it’s done is give people the confidence and the “spark” to go further in service management.

One person I trained in ITIL moved from working in a university IT department to an academic faculty and is now lecturing in ITSM at higher education level.

Others have made the reverse journey and gone from service management lecturing back into industry and been a roaring success, working for international companies including Disney and Barclays.

The common thread is people being successful in the way they deliver service management to customers and developing a passion for it.

The ITIL training and certification journey

IT professionals will find an ITIL Foundation class answers certain questions. But after six months back in the workplace, the extra knowledge they have creates double the number of questions they had originally.

This is where they get a thirst for best practice knowledge and ongoing training and certification in ITIL. Knowing more and more of the theory enables them to go back and disrupt existing approaches for the good of the customer. It has long been a principle of mine that you can only disrupt that which you understand. Adapting things which you don’t understand is guessing!

My own ITIL journey has led me to other ‘best’ practices including DevOps, SIAM and Agile and I’ve become a great advocate of knitting best practices together. However, service management remains firmly at the core and I still believe that, used correctly, ITIL best practice works.

Having a service mindset is vital as organizations start to automate their processes. They are still serving a customer in one way or another while the available technology underpins this. And technology still needs to be managed, with artificial intelligence having to learn from somewhere.

ITIL continues to be a tool in service management toolkit, doing as much for you now as it did 20 years ago.

Read more Blog Posts in the Built on ITIL series

Built on ITIL: putting a rocket under your career

Built on ITIL: quality and consistency in service delivery

Built on ITIL: a service management foundation for the future

Built on ITIL: digital transformation is an organizational challenge

Built on ITIL: taking ITSM to the next level

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The future is Built on ITIL

Built on ITIL

From an empowering IT career leap to a seamless, value-driving business transformation, it's all founded on ITIL.

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