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Author  David Barrow

ITSM consultant

October 29, 2021 |

 3 min read

  • Blog
  • Service management
  • Value
  • ITIL

ITIL® used to be about the IT department – or, at least, that was the perception.

In my view ITIL was, and is, enterprise focused. This point is important to C-suite executives, as they need to have people who are enabled to deliver the best outcomes from ITIL certification. And that means across an enterprise – including HR, finance, sales, etc – where having an integrated technology strategy will allow everyone to contribute to success.

Historically, non-IT people’s exposure to ITIL was as a governance or control mechanism, or major incident management. Today, ITIL 4 – and particularly the guiding principles – are re-setting the perception of this best practice. It’s more about valuable governance and that every product is a service that should have inherent value to a customer.

For senior executives, this translates to a slicker, more value-focused organization building both profit and reputation.

But how, in practice, do you get the C-suite to care about ITIL?

Communities of practice

With ITIL 4 shifting its emphasis from processes to practices, it’s been possible to create communities of practice containing multiple levels in organizations.

I’ve seen this work as the best way to engage C-level professional in companies. First, they start to objectively agree on the goals needed to enable them to achieve the organizational vision. Consequently, the community creates the shared objectives to achieve that vision and aligns them with ITIL principles.

In one global organization, the CIO – a member of an enterprise-wide practice community – set up an accompanying C-level community to ensure objectives were shared with peers.

The point of the community is not necessarily solving a burning issue; it’s rather about looking at an issue holistically and thinking what could be done better to resolve it – generating creative thinking and removing boundaries.

ITIL 4 and language

The guiding principles in ITIL 4 are a great way to re-set everyone’s thinking and make C-suite executives comfortable that their time is well spent in engaging with ITIL practice communities.

Allied to that is ITIL 4’s service value system: focused on governance, practices and continual improvement, its more managerial language acts like a series of mission statements. The key to all of it is value, which the C-suite can’t argue with.

Once the leadership team has set the vision and aligned business strategy with digital/technology strategy, it’s then supported by enterprise-wide service management.

Learning and certification

Teams need empowering to enable what they’ve learned on training courses.

Allowing people to progress through the ITIL certifications from Foundation to Managing Professional and Strategic Leader levels will change their approach to work, but they need space to explore the techniques.

It’s one thing to offer employees training via a company learning platform, but if they never put the training into practice the momentum and value is lost. Instead, having communities of practice gets people thinking and debating outside of their normal, day-to-day business as usual issues and what they need to resolve at that moment. This is about making ITIL theory a reality in organizations.

For example, the key elements in ITIL 4 Leader Digital and IT Strategy forces professionals to question whether their organization will always look the same or even be in the same marketplace. The principles in ITIL encourage teams to focus on these topics.

Ultimately, what the C-suite needs to see is that ITIL is not just about IT. And they need to give their people with ITIL knowledge the empowerment to use what they’ve learned.