What is ITIL Certification? A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2

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NOTE: This is Part 2 of a two-part story – to read Part 1, please click HERE.

  • ITIL Category #3 – Service Transition
  • ITIL Category #4 – Service Operation
  • ITIL Category #5 – Continual Service Improvement
  • Remembering the Fundamentals
  • Getting Certified
  • Healthy Skepticism
  • Multiple Certifications = Checks & Balances

ITIL Category #3 – Service Transition

No matter how much you strategize and design your service approach, business is fundamentally about adaptation. Transitioning from one service to another has become even more common during the age of cloud self-service provisioning. New systems can be implemented almost instantly, which raises the possibility that processes can be potentially thrown into disarray. Systems must be set up properly so that tasks can be conducted as planned, without interruption.

Service transition involves a range of complexity, though – it could mean including an additional column within a PDF report or adoption of different enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Remember again that ITIL centers IT specialists on the services that they are providing rather than the technology itself. “The focus of the conversation with the customer is not on the ‘ERP System,’ but instead on the new capabilities and the timing of the switchover,” says Heusser. “That’s a major change for many IT departments.”

Under the main heading of service transition are the following components: support and preparation, management of the transition, management of assets and setups, implementation management, insight management, and verification/checks.

ITIL Category #4 – Service Operation

Sure, you need to know how to transition to a new system, but you also need to know how to run it on a daily basis – the focus of this section. A more obvious component of operations is something like batch processing. A less obvious component is maintenance that allows ongoing operations, such as dealing with network or hardware faults. Components of this section include management of events and incidents, request handling, resolution management, and qualification/validation management.

ITIL Category #5 – Continual Service Improvement

In order to keep pace with the evolving organizational landscape, ITIL argues that IT services must be fluid and constantly getting stronger. “That means identifying opportunities for improvement, deciding which improvements have the most value, determining a priority for improvements, and, of course, actually making the improvements happen,” Heusser explains.

In other words, service should not be set in stone but be an area of perpetual testing and refinement.

The PDSA or PDCA cycle (Plan / Do / Study or Check / Act / [repeat]), created by American engineer W. Edwards Deming, is the management model suggested by ITIL to carefully and systematically facilitate continual improvement.

Remembering the Fundamentals

Again, ITIL forces an IT organization to consider its perspective on service, so that it is better aligning itself with the needs of the customer and delivering services in a user-centric way. Now of course, in order to meet customer needs, technical expertise is necessary, but everything is delivered through intuitive interfaces.

Getting Certified

While ITIL may be of greatest importance to an organization, it is centered on each of your employees. When a member of your staff get certified, that means that they are familiar (to varying degrees) with each of the five categories discussed above.

There are three types of certifications a person can get: foundation, intermediate, and master. As you might guess, you can’t just stroll into a master class. You can start out by learning the material through an online course or in-person class (two or three days). If you have two years of in-the-field IT service under your belt, you can target any one of the nine sections of the intermediate level, choosing whatever path you want.

As you move up the ladder, certification becomes significantly more challenging. In order to get expert status, you have to earn 17 credits at the foundation and intermediate levels, following which you must complete the “Managing Across the Lifecycle” and expert exams. To qualify as a master, you must have logged five years as an IT leader as a prerequisite.

Again, keep in mind the individuality of certification. “Because ITIL is a guidance, not a rule, there is no concept of ‘compliance,’” says Heusser, “so you cannot get a department, team, or company ‘ITIL Certified’; only the people that work in that organization.” Obviously, though, an organization can have a staff that is 100% certified.

Healthy Skepticism

Now, be aware that no system of “best practices” is really absolute. There is always subjectivity. There are always gray areas. ITIL, like other third-party certifications, certainly does help to let you know that an organization is examining its people and its practices using globally respected standards. However, it’s the 21st century, and you don’t have to trust everything pumped out by Her Majesty’s Cabinet.

As Heusser puts it, “ITIL is one way to look at managing IT among many.”

Multiple Certifications = Checks & Balances

At Superb Internet, we know that none of the certification and compliance mechanisms out there are 100% airtight. There are always things that are overlooked or underemphasized. That’s why we back up our own strict performance and security standards with numerous certification, compliance, and benchmarking mechanisms.

By Kent Roberts

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