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ITIL Resources

April 26, 2008
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Enterprises undertaking ITSM will find that there is a robust community of service vendors, educators, and fellow travelers who are committed to ITIL and other process frameworks. There is a growing list of resources available from this community to suit enterprises of all sizes.

Education

ITIL training is provided by a number of service providers on a global level. Trainers range from single independent consultants to large multinationals such as HP and IBM. Often, training is delivered as part of a consulting engagement.

Certification and testing is managed by an enterprise called EXIN (Examination Institute for Information Science). EXIN oversees the administration of exams, and the certification of trainers and examiners. Other IT frameworks are covered in EXIN’s mandate, including MOF.

There are three levels of ITIL certification:

  • Foundation Level: This involves 2–5 days of classroom training, and provides an introduction to ITIL processes and principles. General in scope, this training is suitable for managers as well as field personnel.

  • Practitioner Level: This involves in-depth training in a specialized process. The exam is case-study oriented, requiring the candidate to demonstrate mastery on a practical level.

  • Service Manager Level: This is reserved for a practitioner who has practiced ITIL for three or more years. This demonstrates mastery at a practical and theoretical level of the skills necessary to build and manage an ITIL-based service enterprise.

Consulting Services

As is the case with training, service providers who cater to the ITIL community range from independent consultant to large multinational. In fact, most ITIL service providers offer both training and consulting. Because of the strong central role that itSMF plays in the ITSM community, ITIL experts are not hard to find. However, a number of enterprises are reporting a shortage of ITIL-trained individuals, in spite of a steady increase in certifications.

Many larger enterprises offer comprehensive approaches. These include specific architectures and pre-established methodologies that speed the implementation process. While appealing, many of these approaches are too expensive for the average SME. It should also be pointed out that large IT vendors use ITIL services as a lead-in to sell hardware infrastructure.

In general, smaller enterprises tend to work with independent or smaller service providers in order to find solutions that meet their budget. Many consultants also combine other frameworks to support a more up-to-date approach. It wouldn’t be uncommon for an ITIL consultant to utilize MOF in order to set up support for a Microsoft Exchange server, or to add some Six Sigma processes to help make some structural improvements.

Guides, Flowcharts and Templates

As mentioned previously, the biggest single obstacle to getting ITSM implemented is the chore of setting up enterprise-specific processes. The ITIL books provide the guidelines, but they don’t provide actionable materials. This leaves enterprises to create service definitions, job descriptions, policies and procedures, escalation flowcharts, reporting structures, and other documents.

Fortunately, vendors have put together a variety of customizable documents to significantly reduce the implementation effort. These are available standalone, or are brought in by hired consultants.

Software

A variety of software products are used extensively in ITIL implementations. First of all, most NSM (Network and System Management) software packages incorporate ITIL principles. For example, most help desk software packages include an ITIL-compliant configuration management database, and are structured based on ITIL patterns and definitions. These products also often incorporate a workflow component, where tasks are routed from one group to another according to the designated process flow. Finally, they greatly facilitate the kind of reporting that is required for Service Delivery processes such as Availability Management and Financial Management.

A number of vendors also offer standalone products such as configuration databases and development tools for workflow processes.

The Role of Outsourcers

ITIL has been widely adopted by outsourcers and managed service providers. The reasons are understandable — a third party provider has many clients that have to be serviced from a single point. ITIL provides these firms with the ability to continuously improve quality while addressing a wide variety of support needs.

ITIL can also provide a process for outsourcers and their customers to work together more closely. Just as internal ITIL processes often involve collaboration between different groups, they can also support collaboration between different enterprises. The following diagram shows a typical example. Many SMEs choose to outsource their first-line support, but to handle escalations with their own IT department. The ITIL process could be shared with the vendor as per the following diagram:

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2008 12:40 pm

    You mention certification and testing being managed by EXIN. What about ISEB? What about the relationship to APMG that both EXIN and ISEB have regarding ITIL?

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