There’s a nasty rumor going around that ITIL concepts only apply to people who work in IT Operations. The truth is (and I can tell you this with a great deal of confidence having taught ITIL - Foundations through MALC - for almost 10 years), most people who take an ITIL course are surprised by how broad the scope really is. With that in mind, here’s a look at the roles (both in and outside of IT) that will find the most value from each part of an ITIL course.
If you pulled the “IT” from IT Service Management, you’d find that the concepts directly apply to any team that serves - and wants to better serve - customers. As a result, ITIL classes are surprisingly approachable to non-IT people. Over the years, we’ve had many ITIL students who work in shared services and other non-IT departments such as human resources, accounting, and facilities. By and large, they’ve not only attended and found value in the class, but thoroughly enjoyed it if their course evaluations are to be believed.
On a larger scale, we’ve had several customers get ITIL training for their entire staff and apply the concepts in departments outside of IT. One customer, for example, used Configuration Management concepts (see the Service Transition heading below) to build a database to track equipment and build an RMA system for their virtual reality program. Now that’s creative.
Strategy is the first chapter we cover in an ITIL course. It covers processes that will be relevant to an IT executive, as they apply to strategic decision-making and providing overall services to customers, including: understanding customer needs and building a vision for IT, forming long-term relationships with customers (through a process called Business Relationship Management), managing the overall portfolio of IT services, and building cost models that allow IT to understand (and show the organization) what IT services actually cost.
This chapter discusses the ever-important concepts behind building great SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and setting realistic expectations with customers regarding what they will receive with a service. It also digs into the things to think about when creating and maintaining a catalog of services, a critical tool in defining what your organization delivers to customers. Folks working in project teams (including Project Managers), development, or design will receive a lot of value from this section of the course.
In this chapter, the critical processes discussed answer questions like, “How do we manage all the changes that are either taking place or need to take place within our organization? How can we do so in a way that is practical and limits the risk to which the organization is exposed?” Service Transition also explains how to maintain control over all the (often expensive and critically important) assets we manage, and discusses ways to better organize, curate, and use the knowledge that exists within our teams and larger organization. Folks working in or with project or QA/testing teams as well as those who manage knowledge/collaboration, changes, releases, or assets will find this chapter extremely useful.
If you are in a customer-facing role, work as part of a help/service desk, or manage infrastructure/operations, the processes in this chapter will be helpful to you. They include ways to better prioritize, classify, and resolve incidents (essentially, what you do and how you handle issues when things break), and manage common customer requests (including requests for access).
This last chapter digs into ways of measuring, assessing, and improving how your organization works and delivers services to customers. Anyone involved in governance, process improvement, total quality management, etc. will find the topics in this chapter relevant and valuable.
If you’re looking to dig into these chapters further, take a class! There’s no substitute for getting into a classroom with other professionals and a highly skilled instructor (*cough cough*) to work through these concepts and learn how other organizations are putting them to work. Start with Foundations, which will give you an overview of each chapter. If you’ve taken Foundations, I’d suggest moving right along to the Intermediate classes, each of which takes a deep dive into one chapter. They’re fascinating, and you’ll away a true subject matter expert.