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ITIL Intermediate – Service Operation: more effective today and even better tomorrow

ITSM practitioner sat at service desk with headset and surrounded by screens displaying service and global data

When I got my start in IT, I found myself in a service operation role without even knowing what it was!

I was part of an initiative in which Service Operation (SO) and ITIL® were at the heart: consolidating IT operations management and incident ticketing for a radiology centre. What SO did was put processes in place that elevated the service beyond just functioning.

And the experience I gained from this has helped me many years later with other ticketing systems.

SO within the ITIL lifecycle

Above all, SO is critical to sustain what has been put in place through the ITIL lifecycle to that point – and keeping things running.

By using processes for events, incidents and problem management, for example, the goal is to understand the impact of these various issues and how to prevent them from happening again while improving services and enabling people to do their jobs.

Unfortunately, many IT organizations don’t excel in SO. When asking them to explain their top issues – such as incidents and problems – more often than not they can’t do it, and that’s a relatively simple request. Sometimes, they’ve tried to adopt SO but are distracted by “putting out fires”; otherwise, it might be poorly implemented by not investing in the right tools or training.

Training and certifying in ITIL Intermediate SO helps you instantly recognize the gaps in your organization, provide the right terminology (so everyone knows exactly what’s being discussed) and enables you to baseline current performance and move forward.

In the end, we are trying to ensure people can do their jobs effectively today and even better tomorrow.

Applying SO today

With more organizations moving into digital transformation mode today, key learnings in SO are still highly relevant. In fact, I felt it was important enough to return to studying and taking the exam, even after reaching the level of ITIL Expert.

Following that, I taught the SO course at the organization where I was working and, among the candidates, saw a lot of “lightbulbs” going on and people connecting the dots to progress their own careers.

Many of the processes I know in ITIL v3 have now translated to the Practices in ITIL 4, focusing on customer experience, value streams and digital transformation.

Therefore, I think SO is still very much applicable to any organization as it goes through a transition.

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 – Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)

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.


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.

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Service Offerings and Agreements ITIL 2011 Intermediate Capability Handbook book cover

Read the Service Operation core guidance to learn more about the content of this ITIL Intermediate module.

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