ITIL training – Why would a company invest money into it?

Sometimes, while talking to people from the IT industry and discussing ITIL – I notice the same pattern once we get to the training topic. Those who are familiar with ITIL, and are aware of the benefits it brings, are advocates of ITIL education. Either they went through the training program or have deeper knowledge of this best practice. The other ones, less familiar with ITIL, don’t think that formal ITIL education brings anything. They are advocates of the learning-by-doing methodology.

I do a lot of trainings and have customers from various businesses and I have to admit that it’s very easy to distinguish between organizations where people took part in ITIL education and those organizations where there was no training in place. Those in the first group are eloquent and precise in communication, while those in the latter group use “descriptive language” while trying to explain what happened to the user, how they found the root cause and implemented a permanent solution. Then I ask them whether they recorded details in the Known Error record – but no answer from the other side. Well, maybe they did, but they didn’t want to show that they don’t have a clue as to what a Known Error is (by the way, to learn more about Known Errors, read the article Known Errors – repetitio est mater studiorum? Not in this case.).

Do you “speak ITIL”?

ITIL has 26 processes and 4 functions. Once you start exploring them while, at the same time, trying to apply them in your own environment – very soon the headache starts. Processes, activities (including “if-then” options), interfaces, roles, responsibilities…etc. and once you finish your reading – you can repeat everything once again.

I know, ITIL is not prescriptive and you take from ITIL only what you need. But, without deeper knowledge – you don’t know what. And, the clock is ticking, customers are waiting, incidents are accumulating, and your life gets complicated. Based on my experience, these are just some of the reasons or justifications once organizations start considering ITIL training (read the article ITIL Certification Path – list of all available ITIL trainings, exams and certificates to learn more).

This was an example from real life of why people complete ITIL trainings. There are a few more elements that motivate IT organizations to train their people in ITIL:

Speaking the same language – This is also one of the benefits of the ITIL implementation. But, it is one of the major motivational factors to train an IT team. What I like to explain to my customers is that you can’t expect a harmonized team while:

  • everyone uses his own vocabulary
  • different people have different understandings of the same thing (and, consequently, use different wording for it)
  • the first two bullets imply that most probably different people will react with different sets of actions

Increasing the organization’s capability – Well, I think that this is the most obvious reason. You need know-how, and that’s why the training is needed. Technology is unavoidable and it’s only a question of how much money you have to invest. But, having a capable workforce – that’s what makes the difference.

Using someone else’s experience – Maybe the most efficient school is learning from your own experience, but that’s also the most expensive one. ITIL training can be seen as instant build of know-how.

Having fun – After all, whatever people do should be fun.  That’s the main prerequisite for something to be successful. It’s the same with training. My experience (while attending trainings, as well as while holding a training) is that people like to have someone competent in front of them and some more people around them in the same room. That’s a pre-requisite for having training, where many examples from real life are presented and discussion with other colleagues takes place throughout the training. Comments, jokes… and the fun starts.

What’s in it for me?

The ITIL Foundation level should be something that all those people working in IT should take to get basic knowledge of how the IT organization and processes work. But, afterwards, e.g., at the Intermediate level, it gets complicated. So, it’s a logical question that people start asking – why should I do it, and what do I get?

First of all, you get deep understanding about IT Service Management and its relation to business processes (and managers like that). Secondly, an ITIL Intermediate or Expert certificate makes you stand out from the crowd; i.e., you get visibility as an expert. And, thirdly, it’s your certificate (remember, you can’t certify an organization against ITIL – only individuals), and wherever you go (meaning, when you change your job) – you take that certificate with you. And, finally, ITIL certificates are not subject to regular renewal, collecting points… or some other trick. It’s yours for your lifetime.

Use these articles to learn more about ITIL education: ITIL Foundation – all you need to know and ITIL Intermediate – the next step into the ITIL world.

Who is perfect?

Well, nobody is perfect. Including you and me. And everything, and everyone, can do better. But, without knowledge we can’t be aware that something is not good enough, and we won’t know our options. There are people who claim that those who don’t know are blessed. Theoretically – that’s OK, but if you would be responsible for an IT Service Management team and their efficiency – would you agree with that? I’m sure not, and you should be happy about that. That’s the first, but important, step to move forward. Arm yourself with knowledge, keep your eyes open, and many places will show up with open doors.

To check your compliance with ITIL recommendations, use this free  ITIL Gap Analysis Tool.

Advisera Branimir Valentic
Branimir Valentic
Branimir is an expert in IT service management (consultancy, training and tools), IT governance (training and consulting), project management and consultancy in IT and telecommunication. He holds the following certificates: ITIL Expert, ISO 20000, ISMS Lead Auditor and PRINCE2.