I recently polled my Twitter community on whether or not they are interested in receiving their ITIL4 Foundation certification. I was surprised to learn that the majority either did not have immediate plans or did not plan on ITIL4 Foundation certification at all.
I can understand the hesitancy of rushing into getting a certification. Some IT pros believe that certifications do not bring any benefits to an organization or to an individual and that they simply are a waste of resources. And since ITIL 4 is relatively untested, who can say whether or not it will have an impact on the way we work?
So, I wanted to address what one can immediately do after earning their ITIL 4 Foundation certification. I also wanted to discuss what CIOs and IT leaders can do to maximize the return on their investment on certification and guarantee that they’ll see results from their team after ITIL 4 certification.
If you are one of the excited early adopters of ITIL 4, congratulations! Passing your foundation certification is a huge accomplishment! But before you shove your ITIL4 Foundation book into a drawer, let’s discuss what you can do once you return to your organization newly certified.
The first action you will want to take is having a de-brief with key stakeholders on what you’ve learned in your certification and how it applies to your business. ITIL4 provides a holistic approach to applying practices and processes across the business. In order to properly do that, you must achieve buy-in from every stakeholder.
Luckily, ITIL 4 will offer you insights on how you can speak the “business language” and obtain buy-in from everyone else in the organization. Applying the ITIL 4 Service Value System concept will help align the organization’s capabilities with business needs is one of your first steps for successfully utilizing your new-found knowledge.
After you’ve communicated how ITIL 4 can work to strengthen the business and the bottom line, it’s time to start applying ITIL 4’s practices to elevate the delivery of products and services. One of the biggest benefits of ITIL 4 is that it emphasizes value co-creation by leveraging systems thinking. How can systems thinking be applied within your organization? How can you drive value co-creation by leveraging systems thinking? You don’t have to wait to start leveraging this kind of thinking.
ITIL 4 also emphasizes what is known as “guiding principles”, a collection of overarching guidance that can apply to any situation within any organization. One of the guiding principles of ITIL 4 is to start where you are. Use this opportunity to evaluate where you can deliver value in current products and services and how you can streamline existing processes for speedier delivery.
You will be able to adjust as you go, continually improving as you experiment, and optimize what works within your organization. But in order to make the most of your certification, it’s best to start adopting these guiding principles immediately.
For CIOs and IT Leaders
Many of you reading this may not pursue your certification but you want to learn how to protect your investment and ensure your team is elevated by their ITIL 4 Foundation certifications.
One of the first steps you should take as an IT leader is to consider your long-term goals because ITIL 4 is the perfect way to future proof your ITSM practices. I know that many CIOs don’t have the luxury of being able to look too far into the future as they would like. But imagine where you’d like the IT organization to be in 6 months, 1 year or 3 years.
Where do you want your IT organization to be in these timeframes? What capabilities do you need to develop in order to reach those goals? The application of ITIL 4 guiding principles, the Service Value System, and practices can reduce development times, ensure higher-quality products, streamline processes, increase collaboration and improve value co-creation.
Present these long-term goals with your team now while ITIL 4 learnings are still fresh in their minds. Ask them how their learnings can be implemented so that you can achieve these goals. Remember that ITIL 4 is a holistic approach that can be used to break down silo mentality. Engaging your team at this level will empower them to practice that holistic approach to solving problems and delivering solutions. If they see an open playing field where everyone is encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills, they will be encouraged to do the same inside and outside of IT.
The second action you can take to ensure a return on your training investment is to engage your peers in the C-Suite and across the business in your team’s new learnings and practices.
ITIL 4 prepares your team to understand how IT can contribute to business value co-creation. As the IT leader, you must be the champion of this within other areas of the organization. You can work with other departments to break down silos and incorporate ITIL 4 learnings across the organization. This will demonstrate to the C-suite and other leaders what your team has learned and the value of the training investment. It will also show how ITIL 4 can benefit them and the role you need them to play in the process. Remember, you want to include them in this work, not direct them in this work. Make it an inclusive, holistic approach in which everyone can be involved.
As an added benefit, you will be giving your team an opportunity to take on leadership roles within the company. Since they are the ITIL 4 “experts” in your organization, they’ll be well positioned to champion these changes with you. This will not only benefit the entire organization, but it is an excellent way to help grow your team members as leaders and practitioners.
In another blog, I’ve touched on how ITIL 4 can open the door for Enterprise Service Management. Since your team has the proper training, you will be able to effectively expand service management concepts beyond IT and into the rest of the organization in a way that works for you.
How can Tedder Consulting Help?
At Tedder Consulting, our ITIL 4 Foundation class provides our students with an additional day of training on the practical applications of ITIL 4, providing a stronger foundation for them to take their learnings and apply it to your organization. We offer private classes where your entire team can receive their ITIL 4 Foundation certificate and we can begin to identify how these practices will improve your organization.
Last month, ITIL 4 Foundation was officially rolled out. This is the first phase of ITIL 4 and as its title hints, this sets the foundation for ITIL 4. Tedder Consulting’s principal consultant, Doug Tedder, was one of 360 ITIL instructors invited to the “Train the Trainer” beta testing of the new ITIL 4 Foundation exam.
Now newly ITIL 4 Foundation-certified, Doug Tedder has been able to provide a glimpse at what to expect from ITIL 4.
A New Focus On Value Co-creation
One of the most important updates in ITIL 4 is the emphasis on how value is co-created between the provider and the customer. This represents a significant change of thinking from previous versions of ITIL that placed the responsibility for value creation primarily on the service provider.
ITIL 4 recognizes that value is co-created only through active collaboration between providers and consumers. Other organizations, such as suppliers, are also part of the delivery and support of services and contribute to value co-creation. The key message is that providers should not work in isolation, but collaborate with all stakeholders to define what might be of value.
The Service Value System
To help practitioners understand how to co-create value, ITIL 4 introduces the ITIL service value system (SVS). This system illustrates how all parts of an organization work together to create value through IT-enabled services.
At the core of the SVS is the service value chain. The service value chain provides a flexible operating model for the development, delivery, and improvement of products and services. There are six key activities within the service value chain:
- Plan: This creates a structure to ensure a shared understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve.
- Improve: This helps to ensure the continual improvement of services and practices.
- Engage: This activity provides engagement with stakeholders. This takes requirements and transforms them into design requirements.
- Design and transition: This takes requirements from “Engage” and provides specifications for “Obtain/Build.” It also delivers new services that meet stakeholder expectations.
- Obtain/build: This creates service components that meet all specifications and ensures that are available when and where they are needed.
- Deliver and support: This activity makes sure that the services are delivered and supported throughout its lifecycle.
Each of these activities utilizes ITIL practices to transform inputs into outputs. These activities and practices can then be used to define value streams to perform certain tasks or respond to specific scenarios.
The flexibility of the service value system allows for integrating other approaches to service delivery, including DevOps. This is especially important in today’s digital world as the service value chain is adaptable to shifting requirements.
Four Dimensions of Service Management
One of ITIL 4’s goal is to ensure an organization takes a holistic approach to service management. ITIL 4 introduces the four dimensions of service management to help make this happen. The four dimensions are:
- Organization and people – The culture, structure, and capacity of an organization, as well as people’s skills and competencies.
- Information and technology – The information and knowledge necessary for the management of services and the technologies needed.
- Partners and suppliers – Includes the organization’s relationships with other organizations involved in the delivery, support, and improvement of services.
- Value streams and processes – How the parts of the organization work in an integrated and coordinated way to enable value creation through products and services.
You can think of the four dimensions kind of like tension metrics. A change in one or more dimensions has an impact – good or bad – to the other dimensions. Each dimension of the four dimensions should be considered for every product or service, as well as the SVS itself, to ensure that all aspects of service management are being appropriately addressed.
The Guiding Principles were first introduced with ITIL Practitioner, and now with ITIL 4, they are now a core component of ITIL. This is practical guidance that can be used in any organization, regardless of industry, management structure, or goals and objectives. The guiding principles represent the core message of ITIL, and support good decision-making and continual improvement.
Here are the guiding principles of ITIL 4:
1. Focus on value. Everything IT does must create value for stakeholders.
2. Start where you are. There is no reason to build something new if you can build upon something in place. Ignore the “Shiny Object Syndrome” of building something from scratch and consider what current services or process already exist.
3. Progress iteratively with feedback. Use feedback throughout the process to stay focused and on task.
4. Collaborate and promote visibility.ITIL 4 wants to end silos and promote collaboration. Information should be shared across departments as much as possible.
5. Think and work holistically. The organization must see the big picture, not just a piece of a puzzle. Just like you can no longer work in silos, you can no longer just focus on fixing one part of the conveyor belt.
6. Keep it simple and practical. Avoid adding unnecessary steps to complicate the process. Stay focused on creating value and avoid anything that does contribute to value.
7. Optimize and automate. The key is to optimize before you automate. Ensure your processes are as simple and effective as possible before searching for ways to automate.
A Holistic Approach Overall
In a nutshell, ITIL 4 provides an evolved view of business and value and what it means to contribute to value. It facilitates integration of concepts from other frameworks including Lean IT, Agile and DevOps. It focuses on adaptability and flexibility so that the right practices can be applied to an organization’s specific situations to ensure the most valuable outcomes.
Register for ITIL 4 Foundation Training
Tedder Consulting offers a special 3-day ITIL 4 Foundation Training course, which includes a study guide, ITIL 4 Foundation volume, and exam fees. In addition to training and the exam, attendees will be able to participate in an entire day of discussing the pragmatic application of ITIL concepts in real-world experiences. All students will not only understand the concepts but how to apply them to each unique situation at their organization. You won’t find this at any other ITIL 4 training!