In an ideal world, we’d always have sufficient resources to do whatever needs to be done in IT. In the real world, we know this is rarely the case. More often, we find ourselves trying to do more with less – be it time, staff, budget, or all of the above. This, added to the fact that we often lack sufficient data to prove to leadership and customers that their precious resources should be spent on yet another new IT initiative, poses a formidable challenge to getting the work done. So what do you do if you’re an IT director or manager and want to implement ITIL best practices without spending a lot of money on training, process design, and tools? How do you become a more focused, efficient IT service provider under all of these constraints? I’ll tackle that question as it relates to the three essential parts of IT Service Management (people, process, and tools), including solutions for each to fit any budget.
ITIL Training on any Budget
If your organization is looking to implement IT Service Management, one of the key ingredients is training. You’ll need to know what ITIL is, along with some other basic concepts (a variety of processes, etc.), to understand and be able to effectively communicate the why of it all. You know the value of training, but can you make training affordable? Thankfully, there are a variety of ITIL training options for individuals and for groups.
Let’s start with group training, which is by far the most effective way to speed up change across the organization. Why? Because it provides a shared language and understanding across the team (as opposed to training one person who would then be responsible for relaying what they’ve learned to everyone else) and allows for discussion around real-world scenarios faced in the office. If this sounds good to you and you have more than six people attending, on-site ITIL training will likely be the most convenient and cost effective way to go. There are countless other benefits to on-site training, as well, not least of which is what you’ll save on travel costs since the instructor will be coming to you.
If you are looking for individual training, a 3-day ITIL Foundation class will cost about $1,195 and includes the certification exam. If you are given, say, $1,500 to spend each year on training, use it! It’s definitely worth the investment. While it’s no on-site training, it’s absolutely worth sending at least one person, who can serve as an ITIL evangelist of sorts, helping get the rest of the team up to speed.
If you just laughed out loud at my suggestion that you may have a $1500 training budget, an online ITIL Foundation course may be a better option for you. Full disclosure: an online course isn’t as effective as an in-person course, but it’s better than nothing and will run you about $599 including the exam.
If you just laughed out loud at my suggestion that you may have a $600 training budget because you actually have zero dollars and no ability to take time away from work to get training, it’s time to take advantage of the many free ITIL resources available online. You can read articles (like this one!), download e-books and templates, whatever floats your boat. Become a sponge and read up on any and all ITIL/ITSM topics. One word of caution here: it will take a lot longer to get up to speed with this route, and you will trade time for money. Definitely search out helpful resources online to learn more about ITIL and IT Service Management, but also check with your organization to see whether they will reimburse any professional development training.If you’re ready to shop ITIL training, here are some important questions to ask any training provider before you spend your money.
ProTip: If you’re already ITIL Foundation certified, the new ITIL Practitioner course is worth checking out. It’s a great refresher and will give you a metric ton of new skills for implementing ITSM within your organization, which will also help with the section below.
ITIL Process Design on any BudgetYour fastest route to creating or improving ITIL processes, creating building a Service Catalog, what-have-you is to find a consulting firm specializing in IT Service Management. Ideally, find one that embraces Agile/Scrum concepts and works in sprints, as this method of working will keep you most engaged and consulted through each step of the process. Design sessions and/or 2-day workshops can be done quickly and won’t break the bank, as they say. You can find excellent ITSM process consulting support with packages under $10,000.
Let’s say you are again stuck with zero dollars to help you design processes (boo). Start with some basic templates to get you rolling (here's a good one for creating a Service Design Package). Getting involved with local IT Service Management-related meetups and professional associations like ITSMF can also be helpful for developing your skills and introducing you to like-minded individuals working in the industry.
ITSM Tools on Any Budget
While there’s certainly no shortage of open source/free ITSM tools on the market, these solutions come with (serious) caveats. Free tools are limited in functionality, may not truly be in alignment with ITIL concepts, and often only work with very small IT teams. The vast majority of organizations quickly outgrow free tools, and it can be extremely disruptive to change to a new platform. Proceed with caution on this one.
Instead, I would recommend looking at some of the more affordable ITSM platforms (there are a number of good ones). The pricing on this will vary according to how much you want to implement in Phase One. Wherever you choose to start, though, you'll get in place a robust ITSM platform that will grow and mature with your organization over time without sinking your budget. We use Cherwell internally for ITSM, billing, Agile project management, HR, and lots of other stuff. We like it a lot – here are some details around what to look for in an ITSM platform and why we use and implement Cherwell.
Ready to get started with your ITSM initatives?
This free download is a perfect place to start.