The main thing is to know why you’re doing it
‘Too often, ITIL is a goal in itself, instead of helping us achieve our goals,’ cautioned one of ITIL’s co-authors, Paul Wilkinson, in an interview. I think this is one of the reasons why people sometimes don’t like ITIL. Many of them first encountered it in that kind of situation. ITIL presents itself as a panacea without anyone thinking hard about exactly what they expects from implementing ITIL. Yet ITIL itself encourages us to take from it only what is meaningful to us and adapt it to our conditions. Before we start implementing, we need to know why we are doing this and what problems we want to solve.
Rudolf Slaba has had years of ITIL implementation and training experience in all its versions, including the last one. As part of his work, he surveyed why companies need ITIL. He found the following three situations the most often: 1) The IT department is in a situation where it can no longer keep up with customer requests; 2) The parent company uses ITIL, the subsidiary needs to follow suit; 3) The company is undergoing restructuring and the existing department suddenly has to serve many more customers. We can see that the impulse for implementation can come from different directions. Sometimes the change is initiated directly by the IT department, aware of the unsustainability of the current situation, at other times the change comes from the outside and is promoted mainly by the company’s management. In order for the implementation to have a chance of success, the IT and management functions of the company have to act in harmony.
‘The implementation of ITIL is a strategic decision. It can’t be done by IT alone. There has to be conformance with the business,’ Rudolf Slaba assures. Consultants know from experience that an implementation project always reveals who initiated the implementation. If the main initiator is the management of the company, then there’s often resistance to ITIL in the IT department. In that kind of situation, IT and management must find common ground. It helps when IT people realize that implementation offers them a number of opportunities and brings them undeniable benefits. After all, ITIL was created as a set of practice-tested procedures, built on common sense. Thanks to it, IT can better structure their workload and as a result gain better leverage for negotiation with management.
On the other hand, a lax attitude by the management can also be detrimental to implementation. The core of ITIL is the delivery of value to the end-customer of the service. It’s hard to provide them with best value if they do not communicate with you and are not interested in working together more closely. If you are considering implementing ITIL, you must get management support.
Certification and the new ITIL
The fourth edition is a great opportunity to get to know ITIL more closely. The new publications are very well written. The content is logically structured and the books are interwoven with a number of practical examples. As for the materials available, I don’t think there was ever a better time to start studying. If you’ve read the basic books of the previous version, you’ve found a lot of valuable information and recommendations there. However, the publications had been more academic, with less emphasis on practical implementation.
This trend began to change with the ITIL Practitioner publication, which shows how to implement ITIL in practice. Then came the first book of ITIL 4: ITIL Foundation. In it you will find information on ITIL fundamentals clearly, and together. This publication is followed up by other books, which Axelos is progressively publishing. With these the student can go deeper.
Associated with it all is the certification scheme that ITIL offers. By mastering further modules, you can go on to attain higher-level certifications. However, the basic certification (ITIL Foundation) is a good way to learn key ITIL concepts, no matter whether you are a senior executive or programmer. Thanks to the Foundation level publication, preparation for exams has never been easier.
To sum up
In past issues in our ITIL series we’ve tried to bring you closer to this set of good practices and changes in its latest edition. ITIL 4 responds to current IT management trends and delivers a set of recommendations for the digital age. With an emphasis on truly realized added value, it shows a customer-oriented view, without which any IT department is doomed to fail. At the same time, ITIL 4 corrects the excesses of the previous edition and is able to better describe and explain the concepts discussed.