What’s an ITIL, and Where Do I Get One?

This week, I was fortunate enough to be sent to an in-house Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) training session. However, when I told friends and colleagues where I was going, I got a lot of blank stares. It’s amazing to me that so few people know what ITIL is.

There are a few reasons why there is confusion about it:

  • Training to learn ITIL framework is embraced by companies that are committed to realigning their IT processes to best practices. Many companies engrained with existing IT processes might subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
  • ITIL may embraced by decision makers in the organization, but not by those who don’t have a hand in the strategic direction of the company.
  • The IT organization at some companies might be immature with respect to processes. An IT organization that is small — say, five or 10 people — may not benefit from standardizing processes and procedures as much as a larger, more unwieldy function would.
  • ITIL is not a tangible product. Version 3 of ITIL was just released, but there is no upgrade to perform or hardware to replace. ITIL is a framework for defining how processes should be performed both in IT specifically and in the business as a whole.

ITIL was created in the 1980s by an engineer in the U.K.’s Office of Government Commerce. His mission was to create an IT service management framework with service delivery and support. IT organizations throughout Europe adopted ITIL quickly, and the framework spread throughout North America and Asia. In the U.S., ITIL is most widely accepted on either coast, but it is gaining popularity in the Midwest.

ITIL version 3 has a few certification levels. The first is the ITIL v3 Foundation for Service Management. Stepping up a certification level requires studying the life-cycle and/or capability modules. These modules are the basis for the higher tiers of certification, the ITIL Expert and ITIL Master.

There are many vendors that offer ITIL training. One of the most well-known in North America is Pink Elephant. Other major training vendors include Paragon Development Systems (PDS), Global Knowledge and Learning Tree.

If you pass the test(s), you can voluntarily choose to be on the ITIL Successful Candidate Register. This site lists people who want to be publicly acknowledged for having achieved an ITIL certification.

Shawn Conaway, VCP, MCSE, CCA, is a director of NaSPA and editor of Virtualize! and Tech Toys magazines. He can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

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