Tag Archives: ITIL Practitioner

The New Role of The ITSM Professional

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What makes ITSM successful? There are many answers for this question but I am staunchly in the camp that ITSM success has less to do with strategy, processes, or even technology. It comes down to people.

There might be some argument about this belief within the industry, especially as we become more automated. There is a very real fear among many ITSM professionals that embracing AI means that they will soon be replaced by machines. My unpopular opinion on this is that while some ITSM professionals will be automated out of a job, it doesn’t mean that their ITSM careers are done. I believe that there will be new roles that will emerge for those professionals.

ITSM is evolving. We have new technologies and new methodologies – so it’s time that we look at a new way of defining the ITSM professional. As we enter this new decade in 2020, I’d argue that we must redefine the role of the ITSM professional. I see the role coming down to two crucial parts.

The Business of the Business

The first part of this new ITSM professional role is the importance of understanding “the business of the business.”

In other words, how does the business co-create value? What do end-users and customers want and expect from the business? Many ITSM professionals understand how processes and technology work, but often fail to see the bigger picture of how those processes and technology support the value streams across the business and, ultimately, the bottom line.

ITSM professionals have a unique opportunity. While many within the organization may understand the business of the business, few understand the relationships between value streams and technologies, and how technology supports the business of the business.

By working with their teams to understand the business and its bottom line – and the role of technology and service management – CIOs can enable their team members to become so valuable that they can’t be automated out of a job.

AI and machine learning are only as good as the data they are given. If the ITSM professional understands the value streams that flow through the business – that is, the business of the business – then they can ensure that good service management underpins the flow of that data used to make those business decisions that impact the bottom line.

The Soft Skills of the ITSM Professional

The second piece of the new ITSM professional is soft skills. Don’t be fooled by the phrase. Soft skills are crucial for success and there is nothing “soft” about them. In the new ITSM role, the professional must effectively communicate with others, work with the rest of the organization, and have an understanding of what each department contributes to the bottom line.

Silo mentality can no longer be tolerated. A “culture of no” won’t last in this new paradigm. Communication and collaboration are “must-haves”. If your team is feeling resistant about the necessity of working with the rest of the organization, encourage them to recognize that in order to be seen as an integral part of the organization and not a back-office support team then they must step out from behind their computers and collaborate with the rest of the organization.

With the right mindset, a focus on communication and collaboration, and an understanding of the business, this new ITSM professional will thrive in any organization. Yes, even in a world with automation, bots, and machine learning.

Focus on Service

If this shift feels overwhelming or uncomfortable, I encourage IT, leaders, to emphasize the meaning of the word “service” with their teams. We define and create what are called “services”, but too many ITSM professionals think of services in terms of processes, methodologies, and technologies.

The word service can be defined as “the action of a person (or organization) helping or doing work for someone else.” Services are more about people, about working together and helping others than they are about technology and methodologies.

These shifts, whether you view them as large or small, are unavoidable. IT can’t afford to duck their heads behind their computers and hope their knowledge of technology and methodologies will be enough to keep them relevant. They must see the larger picture and work with the rest of the organization to achieve that larger picture.

It’s time to raise the bar.

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How ITIL4 Opens the Door to ESM

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A prevalent approach to Enterprise Service Management (ESM) today is to extend the use of the IT Service Management (ITSM) tool to other areas of an organization outside of IT.  Some organizations also try to apply their existing ITSM concepts, like managing requests or service interruptions, to those other areas.

This approach is essentially dropping the “IT” from ITSM and adding an “E”. Sorry, that doesn’t make it “ESM”.  While good ITSM practices can be adapted for use across the enterprise, ESM has to be more than just arbitrarily imposing ITSM across an organization.

What is ESM?

ESM is the application of service management principles and technologies beyond just IT and across an organization. ESM applies service management principles to other areas of an organization to improve performance, measurability, effectiveness, responsiveness, and efficiency.

Does this sound familiar to you? Well, it should if you’ve been around this blog before! ESM mirrors what good ITSM practices accomplish, except on a larger scale.


ESM is much more than applying IT processes and principles outside of IT. It’s a holistic way of including and blending individual departmental approaches into common and shared processes, systems and technology across the organization.  It requires organizational change just as much as a technological change. It requires strong leadership, clearly articulated vision and business goals, and clear communication and collaboration between departments.

ESM is all about how to best enable and support the value streams of an organization.  ESM must take an enterprise, not IT, perspective regarding how to best facilitate the delivery of end-to-end value through an organization.  ESM is not about trying to fit organizational capabilities and work products into predefined IT(SM) processes, but rather ensuring the most effective approach for leveraging all of the capabilities of an organization. 

With ESM, the organization develops a holistic approach to integrating, connecting and working together to leverage technology by creating processes, systems and workflows that benefit the company, the employee, and the customer.

Why is ESM important?

The best business value is created when all parts of the business are contributing and collaborating to deliver value in the most effective and efficient way.   In the digital age, organizations must be able to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces is critical for business success. It won’t be enough that IT makes a change to an application or the marketing department launches a new campaign.   The enterprise must be able to shift or pivot as needed – when needed.

This is why good ESM is so important. 

Good ESM:   

  • Provides business decision support – Good ESM provides transparency into how work is done within the organization.  Decisions become data-driven, based on objectives measures captured as part of enterprise value streams.   
  • Enables organizational agility – Well defined, interdepartmental value streams and workflows enable organizational agility because there is clarity and shared understanding regarding those value streams and workflows.  This helps leaders understand where to pivot if needed. Good ESM results in improved cohesiveness and collaboration within the organization and aligns activities toward shared organizational goals, not on departmental objectives.
  • Improves organizational understanding of the business – Individual departments not only understand their workflows and processes, but also how information, work, and value flow across the organization.  There is a greater awareness of the interdependencies between the various departments within the organization. 
  • Enables an enhanced customer experience – Good ESM removes the internal friction that gets in the way of a good customer experience.

 

How ITIL4 can open the door for ESM?

ITIL® 4 introduced in February 2019, is the latest evolution of the popular ITSM framework.  Among the new or revised concepts within ITIL4 are two nuggets than can help open the door for ESM – the Service Value System (SVS) and the Four Dimensions Model.   

The Service Value System

The SVS “represents how the various components and activities of the organization work together to facilitate value creation through IT-enabled services”.  The SVS starts with an input of either “demand” or “opportunity” and ends with value.  A “demand” represents the need for something to happen, whether it’s a product or a service.  An “opportunity” represents a potential for value-add or improvement for the organization.  “Value” is the perceived benefits that will or should result from acting upon the demand or opportunity.

Applying the SVS concept to ESM, an enterprise value stream similarly begins with a demand – an order from a customer, on-boarding of a new employee – or an opportunity – a new product line.  To realize value from either of these scenarios requires the actions of multiple parts of the organization.  No single part of the organization alone can by itself deliver the value required from that demand or opportunity.  Good ESM recognizes and facilitates those actions across the enterprise.

Drilling into the SVS a bit more, there are three key components that I think can be directly applied to ESM:

  • Guiding Principles – Overarching recommendations that guide an organization in all circumstances.
  • Governance – Ensures that the policies of the organization are defined and carried out; keeps all parts of the organization pointed in the same direction.
  • Continual Improvement – Activities that ensure that the organization is proactively improving; that the organization collectively and individually is anticipating and responding to changing conditions, both within the organization and the marketplace, to meet the needs of the customer, the organization, and the employee.

The Four Dimensions Model

The Four Dimensions Model describes factors that have influence on the delivery of value. The Four Dimensions are:

  • Organizations and People – In addition to the “org chart”, this dimension looks at culture, skills, competencies, and capacity of the organization.
  • Information and Technology – Technologies and the appropriate use and protection of information are crucial enablers for today’s enterprises.
  • Partners and Suppliers – Every organization and every product and service delivered by an organization, has reliance on partners and suppliers. 
  • Value Streams and Processes – The enablement and delivery of value depends on effective and efficient workstreams, controls, and procedures.

I look at the Four Dimensions Model as a tension matrix – any change in any one dimension will have an effect – good or bad – on the other dimensions.  The Four Dimensions Model encourages a holistic look at how an organization facilitates value for all stakeholders of an organization.

Applying the Four Dimensions to ESM adoption, without the proper training and development of skill sets, the organization cannot successfully exploit information and technology nor realize value stream effectiveness.   Just extending ITSM tools into the enterprise ignores organizational cultural and competency aspects, does not address enterprise value streams, or recognizes the partnerships (both within and external to the organization) that make enterprises work. 

The key takeaway

I’ve long thought that a good ITSM implementation is key for success in the digital economy.  And that service management also must move outside of IT.  With new concepts like the SVS and the Four Dimensions Model, ITIL4 seems to be thinking the same thing. 

ITIL4 can open the door for ESM – and that’s a good thing.   

 

Ready for your ITIL4 certification? Register forTedder Consulting’s ITIL4 Foundation class.

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What To Expect From ITIL 4

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It’s been 8 years since the last update to ITIL®1 and it’s safe to say that the industry is interested in this newest iteration.

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:

  1. Plan: This creates a structure to ensure a shared understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve.
  2. Improve: This helps to ensure the continual improvement of services and practices.
  3. Engage: This activity provides engagement with stakeholders. This takes requirements and transforms them into design requirements.
  4. Design and transition: This takes requirements from “Engage” and provides specifications for “Obtain/Build.” It also delivers new services that meet stakeholder expectations.
  5. Obtain/build: This creates service components that meet all specifications and ensures that are available when and where they are needed.
  6. 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.  

Guiding Principles

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!

Early bird pricing is available until March 18, 2019. Register for ITIL 4 Foundation with Tedder Consulting here.

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Five Things I like about ITIL Practitioner (and one thing I didn’t)

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After a few years in the ITSM profession, I recently earned my ITIL®[1] Practitioner certification.

If you’ve not heard of ITIL Practitioner, it’s the new addition to the ITIL certification scheme from AXELOS, the joint venture of the British Government and Capita formed to develop, manage, and operate qualifications in best practice, in methodologies formerly owned by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).[2] The aim of ITIL Practitioner is to provide guidance as to how to adopt and adapt ITIL within their organizations.

But wait — ITIL is a framework and has always been intended to provide guidance and not be prescriptive. The fact that ITIL is guidance and not prescriptive is both a strength and (some would say) a weakness of ITIL. Does the Practitioner qualification thread the needle and provide implementation guidance without being prescriptive? I think it does. But if you’re still looking for the “ITIL cookbook”, you’ll not find it in ITIL Practitioner.

Having said that, here are five things I like about ITIL Practitioner:

  • ITIL Practitioner addresses the gap that has existed for some time – how to get started.   Actually, the answer to “how to get started” was discussed in ITIL V3 – use the CSI Model. It really doesn’t matter where you start an ITSM implementation (although I do have my preferred places to start), the CSI Model can be used to put you on a good path. In fact, I always start out any ITSM improvement or implementation initiative by asking the questions found in the CSI Model. I often call it “my secret weapon”. ITIL Practitioner is built around and emphasizes the CSI Model, doing a deeper dive into each of the six questions and explaining how to use it to build both the right plan and continuing momentum for the ITSM implementation.
  • The Guiding Principles. ITIL Practitioner highlights nine guiding principles for an ITSM implementation. I would say that these Guiding Principles are just plain good advice for any type of project or improvement initiative, whether or not it involves the use of ITIL.   To the point, in my experience, many ITSM implementations get “over baked” by losing focus on delivering business value, or becoming obsessed on achieving some kind of perfection, or trying to do things in a vacuum. Applying the Guiding Principles to an ITSM initiative can help ensure success.
  • Acknowledges that other frameworks and methodologies can and do play in the “ITSM sandbox”. While ITIL Practitioner doesn’t go into much depth, it does mention where other ITSM methodologies, such as COBIT®[3], Agile, Lean, DevOps, and others can be leveraged in an ITSM implementation based on ITIL. Perhaps this will start to dispel the myth that ITIL can’t or doesn’t play well with others; those having had some experience with ITSM implementations have known that this has never been the case. In my opinion, all methodologies have strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you need to know what tools you have in your ITSM toolbox and use the right tool for the right job, following a balanced approach. It was refreshing to see ITIL Practitioner acknowledge that other methodologies can and do “play nice” with ITIL.
  • Provides some tools and templates. The appendix of the ITIL Practitioner Guidance is chock-full of some useful templates and tools to help your ITSM implementation along, such as a Business Case Worksheet, Communications Campaign Checklist, KPI Balance Checklist, and others. All good stuff!
  • ITIL Practitioner emphasizes the often overlooked “P” of ITSM implementations – People. ITIL Practitioner provides chapters discussing communication and organizational change management (OCM). The communication chapter talks about the importance, value, and benefits of good communication, as well as presents some techniques and considerations for effective communication. Building OCM as an organizational capability – not just some other department’s job – is a key concept discussed within that chapter. Everyone involved in an ITSM implementation has a role and responsibility to help each other along the change journey. This chapter provides useful insights and techniques for helping individuals through the change that an ITSM implementation must accomplish.

Now for the one thing I didn’t like about ITIL Practitioner. The exam.

The ITIL Practitioner course is very different than any other ITIL training. ITIL Practitioner follows a scenario-based, interactive, hands-on approach – the students literally must “learn by doing” to successfully complete the course. There is little lecture in this course (at least the course for which I was a member of the course developer’s review board), so there shouldn’t be an instructor who just stands in front of a room, spewing out terms and definitions, and reading from a slide deck. (If you find yourself in an ITIL Practitioner or even an ITIL Foundation course where the instructor does this, you should walk out and demand a refund.) Students apply and use the concepts being presented to learn how they are used. I like this approach.

As such, the exam is scenario-based. But unlike other intermediate level exams that use a gradient-style, multiple choice approach (where each question has four choices ranging from the “best” answer to a “distracter” answer), the ITIL Practitioner exam is 40 multiple choice questions – with only one “best” answer for each question. Here’s where I have the issue. Some of the questions were too vaguely worded to understand what was really being asked. While I understand and agree that exam questions must be written to challenge and ensure that the student understands the concept, the questions must also be written in language that is clear enough so that the best answer can be selected. While I don’t know if the specific questions that I missed were due to this issue, I will say that the vague wording caused me to make assumptions, which I found a bit frustrating.  In talking with others who have sat the exam, I’ve heard similar concerns.   One colleague said the exam was “bizarre”.

With that said, I feel that ITIL Practitioner is a good add to the ITIL bookshelf.  The exam issues will work themselves out as more people take them, but even today, the exam is passable. It will be interesting to watch how the market reacts to ITIL Practitioner.

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[1] ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AXELOS, retrieved 4/29/2016

[3] COBIT® is a registered trademark of ISACA.

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Doug Tedder earns ITIL Practitioner certificate

April 6, 2016:  Doug Tedder, Principal of Tedder Consulting LLC, has earned the ITIL Practitioner certification from AXELOS.

The ITIL Practitioner course is positioned to be the next step after ITIL Foundation for professionals that have already learned the basics of IT Service Management (ITSM).  Focused on the use of the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach as the way to organize and successfully complete improvement initiatives, ITIL Practitioner also covers three critical success factors for improvement initiatives:

  • Organizational Change Management
  • Communication
  • Measurement and Metrics

“The ITIL Practitioner course is much different than other current ITIL training courses.  Following  a scenario-based learning approach, students learn and apply various techniques for conducting improvement initiatives, in a very immersive, hands-on way.  I think that Practitioner fills a gap – ‘how do I apply ITIL?’ – that has existed within the ITIL training scheme for some time”, said Tedder.  “This course is less about lecture and theory, and more about learning-by-doing.  Students literally roll up their sleeves , engage, and begin using these techniques  within the first hour of the class.”

With the new certification, Tedder Consulting is preparing to provide  ITIL Practitioner training classes.