Don’t Be ITIL Book Smart
Well into my computer science degree program, I asked myself when I was going to actually learn how to do the job I was hoping to gain from my education. Thankfully in my last semester, I finally started learning….as a corporate intern. I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that “book smarts” don’t always translate into “street smarts.”
I’m a big fan of Steven Covey’s principle of “starting with end in mind.” In looking at ITIL certification, it’s important to consider why we would pursue it in the first place. Two questions come to mind:
- What is our company trying to accomplish (goals)?
- Will ITIL help achieve those goals?
What Are We Trying To Attain?
ITIL is for “IT-enabled companies.” What is an “IT-enabled company?” Anybody out there using IT services to enable their products (think email, point of sale, websites, etc.), so…EVERYONE. At the end of the day, ITIL wants to make IT services the heart of how business happens in your company and believes that it is in your best interest. 20 years ago, having IT off to the side and siloed wasn’t uncommon. However, in today’s modern companies, there are very rarely project meetings that shouldn’t have some representation of IT present. This is a core concept in ITIL. It helps IT groups understand that their job is not just to improve IT services, but because they are interwoven into the fabric of the entire organization, it is their job to improve the company. Taking hold of this culture can be transformative in the agility and velocity that is required for growth.
Will ITIL Help Achieve Those Goals?
I’ve been through quite a few certifications/licenses in my career. Most involve a lot of cramming and practices test. And if left at that, they are very similar to my school experience mentioned above. The thing is, most of the practices in the ITIL certification won’t be a completely new concepts to mature IT groups. Companies that utilize our class often have their own existing ideas of change management, service desk, problem management, etc. However, the best practices are set up to not only establish a common language but also to challenge us to identify our gaps and understand what elements should be implemented to take our teams to the next level.
The certification process is a fairly simple one. You must learn the material and take the test. However, taking steps to transfuse ITIL blood into your organization is a crucial process that is missed if we only focus on the piece of paper gained. This is the reason our 2.5-day class spends the entire 2nd-day performing gap analysis on your own company’s processes. It’s a great way to solidify the concepts, but more importantly, it breaks ground in the road to actually implement them. Like reading a great business book, getting an ITIL certification is only the first step. Taking the measures to change things within your daily work is what will progress you up the staircase of reaping true benefits.
So, Should I Get Certified?
If you just want to improve your resume, get ITIL certified. If you want to improve your resume AND your organization, get ITIL certified, and make a plan to implement what you learned immediately. I say it at the start of every ITIL class, getting people to pass the test is easy; my goal is to get students to fully understand and use the concepts within.
Help Others Out
What has your ITIL experience been? Any advice you would give for being “street smart”? If you are looking for a way to instill a culture of excellence, partnership, and continual improvement in your IT group, ITIL is an excellent avenue for doing that!
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