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You Earned Your ITIL 4 Foundation Certification… Now What?!

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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.

For Practitioners

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.

Contact us to learn more about our ITIL 4 public and private training classes.

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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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Five Lessons for Successful Transformation

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I received an email from a well-known web hosting provider titled “Transform your business with a second phone number”. The email stated that with a second phone number, I can separate my business calls from my personal calls – and do that using a single device.

I suppose that would be an interesting use of technology. It might even be an impactful change in how I’m doing things. But would it really be ‘transformative’? Or just a change?

Change vs. Transformation

What is the difference between ‘change’ and ‘transformation’? A change results in current things being done in an incrementally different way. Transformation is a process by which current ways of working are converted into or completely replaced by something completely different.

For example, business transformations consist of new lines of business, an acquisition, or a spin-off of a business unit. Digital transformation results in new business models, moving from a pipeline approach to a networked ecosystem of providers, producers, owners, and consumers. Service management transformations introduce methodologies and new mindsets to facilitate business value delivery based on the use of technology.

Has ITSM been transformative for your organization?

ITSM, done well, is transformative.

Has that been your organization’s experience with ITSM? I’m guessing that for some that read this article, the answer will be “no”.

Why haven’t some ITSM implementations been transformative? In my opinion, because those implementations only made incremental changes – not transformed – how IT was utilized. There was no effort to map IT’s contribution to business value chains. There was no effort to defining services in terms of business value and outcomes.

In these implementations, the focus was only on operational activities like how an incident was being handled. What was implemented as “ITSM” was really an incrementally different way of doing what was already being done. The IT organization was already taking calls from its business colleagues before there was a service desk; it was already reacting to outages before formally defining an incident management process.

ITSM is transformative when the utilization of IT within an organization becomes dramatically different. The (whole) organization talks, acts, and works in terms of business value and quantifiable results. The focus is not about IT-business alignment, but rather an integrated, collaborative approach within an organization (yes, the organization includes IT) working toward achieving shared business goals.

Unfortunately, many efforts to promote ITSM as transformative failed because ITSM was presented as a just a tool or a support solution, and not as a way for IT to deliver business value.

In short, the ITSM implementation was just an incremental change to what was being done, not a transformation.

What makes it a ‘transformation’?

Transformation requires rethinking the current ways of doing things. Transformation is wide-reaching and pervasive across an organization. Transformation is often high risk, but also high reward if the transformation is successful.

Transformation is really a leap into the unknown. Transformation requires courageous actions in the face of resistance, confusion, and ambiguity.

I am convinced that IT must transform…or IT will die. Many IT organizations are approaching (if not already on) the brink of irrelevance. In many organizations, IT is viewed as an order taker. A cost center. Nonresponsive and slow to deliver. Too expensive. A black hole.

IT should be a valued collaborator. Innovator. Partner. Leader. Integrator. Enabler. This is the transformation that will result from good ITSM.

But in many organizations, IT is viewed as the former and not as the latter. ITSM – done well – can transform IT. If IT doesn’t transform – and soon — IT will no longer be relevant.

Lessons in (ITSM) Transformation

If transformation is critical for IT, and good ITSM is transformative, then why have so many ignored the lessons from transformations that fell short? When I think about transformation and ITSM, there are five things that I’ve learned.

Don’t start until the desired business outcomes are defined, understood, and agreed
ITSM presented as a technology or IT-only initiative will (eventually) fail. Too many ITSM implementations have only addressed the operational aspects of service management and never the strategic or business aspects.

What is the business trying to achieve? What outcomes does the business require? How can ITSM help business achieve its goals and deliver the required outcomes?

The closer you can align ITSM with the vision and goals of the organization (through measurable, business-relevant contributions), the more successful you’ll be with ITSM.

Don’t blindly believe all of the hype
An organization should not pursue a ITSM transformation just based on the what they’re reading or hearing from industry analysts, a consultant, or a tool vendor. The fact is that your company is unique. Companies must evaluate the potential advantages and difficulties of ITSM for their specific organization with a critical eye.

This means that you must do your homework. Learn what is “good ITSM” and the investment that is required to achieve success. Know that there will be missteps, false starts, and mistakes. There are no transformation cookbooks, no shortcuts, or instant fixes. You must evaluate what will be best for your company, develop the business case, define the plan, and execute.

Don’t lead with technology
Abraham Maslow stated in his 1966 book, The Psychology of Science, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. When you start ITSM implementation based on a tool, there will be a tendency to try to solve every issue using that tool before completely understanding the issue itself.

Before you can determine what tools are needed, first identify and understand the requirements of your ITSM implementation. Have discovery conversations with business colleagues to understand their particular challenges with and expectations of technology. Determine how ITSM can help. Then identify the technology needed to support the required ITSM solution.

Don’t underestimate the need for cultural change
Transformation with ITSM can’t happen without providing a compelling reason for change, rewarding and recognizing those that embrace the change, and making the resisters part of the solution. This means that you must market, communicate, and train those involved with ITSM.

Then you have to do it again. And again. A single ‘town hall’ meeting or a memo from senior management will not cut it when it comes to cultural change. And even when you think the transformation has become rooted within the organization, you must continue reinforce the transformation by investing time, energy, and resources into the attitudes and behaviors required for good ITSM. Cultural change is not a one-and-done event, but must be an everyday effort. Without this ongoing investment, it is too easy to slip back into the old ways of doing things.

Don’t assign accountability without also assigning authority
An important aspect of ITSM implementation is establishing ownership and accountability. Having ownership and accountability not only drives transformation, it also enforces a sense of urgency. But assigning accountability without also assigning authority is not only ineffective, it is also demotivating for both the change agents (those that have been made accountable) and those that want to transform.

Authority provides the needed “permission” from senior management to drive the transformation that results from a good ITSM implementation. This means that senior management must recognize that authority must go across the whole organization, and publicize that authority has been given to those that have been made accountable for ITSM implementation.

If your ITSM implementation wasn’t transformative, there’s still time – but you must act. Don’t just make an incremental change. These five lessons will get you on the right path for successful transformation.


Is your ITSM implementation transformative … or just an incremental change? Consulting services from Tedder Consulting transforms ITSM implementations. Don’t wait to transform – contact us today!

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After the Party is Over – 7 Things to Sustain your ITSM Implementation

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The party was a raging success. The CIO talked about the significance of the implementation and the great teamwork that went into this transformational milestone within the IT organization. The CEO thanked the team for their efforts, then stepped over to the side of the room with the CIO for a more private conversation. The consultants and account executives from the software vendors milled through the room, offering congratulations to members of the team. Everyone enjoyed the festive atmosphere while sharing stories about the behind-the-scenes close calls, conflicts, late nights, and seemingly herculean efforts that resulted in the successful ITSM implementation.

As the evening wore on, the party began to wind-down as people left. The crowd soon dwindled to a few people, who decided to continue the celebration down at the bar. Soon, associates from the facility came and tidied-up the room, turned out the lights, and closed the door. The party was over.

And the consultants went home.

The account executives moved on to the next customer.

Company management turn its focus to the “next big thing”.

And six months later, the excitement from the ITSM implementation party had become a distant memory.

It’s easy to lose momentum

A gentleman from a client I had worked with a few years ago recently gave me a call, to chat with me about their ITSM implementation. It was great to catch up – I hadn’t spoken with anyone from this client in a couple of years or so. He shared the great strides they had made, going from that ad-hoc environment I had found to having formally defined processes, process owners, new ITSM tools…. the whole bit. They truly had had success.

But he was noticing a loss of momentum within their ITSM program. Tell me more, I said.

They were about to take the next steps in expanding and improving their ITSM implementation, but were being met with some resistance. Senior leaders were questioning the investment of time and resources. IT associates were questioning why they had to do this or that when it came to following processes. No one, other than the core ITSM team, was excited about taking those next steps. What should they do? They didn’t want to start all over, but in some ways, it felt like that’s where they were.

As I spoke further with him, some of the reasons why ITSM had lost momentum became apparent.

In the two years since their initial implementation,

  • Five of the 10 people that had completed advanced ITSM training had left the company.
  • The metrics that were being reported from their ITSM tools were all IT-related metrics.
  • There had been no formal, ongoing communications about ITSM.
  • There had been no investment in on-going training or skills retention.

The ITSM implementation had become a one-time event.

Seven things that sustain ITSM implementation

Don’t let your ITSM implementation lose that momentum from the initial implementation. Here are seven things that will help sustain your ITSM implementation:

  • Formalize Knowledge Management – Knowledge Management is a way to empower consumers of IT to be more effective and efficient by making relevant, accurate information available as needed, when needed. But good knowledge management isn’t just for the consumer of IT services, but also for the IT organization. By making knowledge available throughout the IT organization, IT can focus efforts on innovation rather than rediscovering things that it already knows. Good knowledge management also reduces the risk of knowledge loss when personnel changes occur.
  • “Sell, sell, sell” – I’ve often said that if IT doesn’t tell its story, someone else will – and IT may not like what is being said. The same goes for the ITSM implementation. Tell the ITSM story at every opportunity – both within and external to the IT organization. This means being prepared with timely elevator pitches, delivering business-relevant dashboards, and making ITSM presentations at staff meetings and town halls. Most importantly, be sure to tell the whole story. Don’t just talk about the successes, but also discuss the challenges, and how ITSM was used to overcome those challenges. Not only will telling the whole story build credibility, but it will also build demand for more of the good things that ITSM is doing for your business.
  • Measure everything, but report the right things – For example, while measuring the number of calls to the service desk is important for IT, your business associates do not care. From their perspective, the service desk is supposed to accept calls – who cares about the volume of calls? So, measure everything, but report the right things; that is, report on those measures that make sense to the intended audience. Rather than report the number of service desk calls (from the above example), report on things like cost per incident (resolving an incident quickly is cheaper), or impact to business productivity (resolving an incident quickly means the consumer can get back to doing her job).
  • Measure with purpose – As you’re designing and implementing ITSM processes, define and establish performance goals that are aligned with business goals and objectives. For example, “99% availability” is meaningless when an individual cannot access a service. But restating and measuring that availability goal as “Provide sufficient service availability such that the company can ship a minimum of 10,000 widgets per week” not only provides a purpose to the availability measure, but is much more relevant and meaningful to the business.
  • Training cannot be “one-and-done” – Ongoing training is a critical element of a sustainable ITSM implementation. Ongoing training helps the ITSM team keep up with changes in industry, identify both the good and bad in current ITSM processes, and retain good employees.
  • Clearly link ITSM to business value – Simply put, define IT services in terms of business value and outcomes, not as a list of things that IT does. The latter commoditizes and diminishes IT in the eyes of the rest of the business. Relating how IT contributes to and enables business value chains in the form of IT services establishes the business value of ITSM.
  • Get real about continual improvement – The business that IT supports is continually evolving and reacting to market pressures and trends. Formalizing continual improvement enables IT to be more responsive to changes within the business. But don’t just stop at being responsive – if you’ve done a good job of relating how ITSM provides real business value and established purposeful measures, you will be able to apply continual improvement to proactively identifying business opportunities as well.

Keeping and nurturing that momentum from the initial implementation is critical for the ongoing success of ITSM. These seven things will help prevent your ITSM implementation from becoming a one-time event.

Do you have other ideas to keep the momentum going?  I’d enjoy getting your feedback – so post a comment below!  Or for more pragmatic advice and service management insight, click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Photo credit:  Pixabay


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