Information Technology (IT) is the drive behind business operations today. More businesses are harnessing the power of IT to drive business growth and enhance service delivery. However, it is important for organizations to align their IT operations with business strategy, mission, and objectives to enhance agility, reduce costs, and increase return on investment. Successful organizations are those that constantly strive to break down the functional silos that traditionally existed between IT and business operations teams to optimize efficiency for their technological investments and lower financial and operational risks associated with investing in unsuitable technology. They not only focus on alignment but further integrate and converge IT and business operations to yield even better results.
ITIL framework was developed to align IT services with business goals. ITIL details the best practices that an organization can adopt to manage its services to deliver consistently high-quality products and services based on well-defined processes. In addition, organizations need qualified professionals most preferably with ITIL certification to implement ITIL standards and best practices for IT service management.
What is ITIL?
ITIL, owned by AXELOS, refers to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is a set of best practices for IT service management. ITIL provides the guidelines that can be used to not only provide IT services but also define the processes, functions, and support required to deliver the services. Companies that have implemented the ITIL framework integrate it into their product life cycles to design, develop, deliver, and maintain their IT products and services. It is a flexible library that allows organizations to implement only the best practices that meet their specific IT service management needs.
ITIL has undergone several updates since it was first developed with the current version being ITIL version 4. ITIL comes with immense benefits including:
- Consistent service delivery at a predictable service level for users
- Low service development, deployment, and management cost
- Increased productivity hence increased customer satisfaction thanks to the delivery of high-quality IT services
- Enhanced adaptability to changing business requirements
With a focus on value creation, ITIL version IV encompasses five stages of the IT service life cycle. Each stage consists of defined functions and processes that can be adopted to achieve IT strategy at that level. These stages are:
- Service strategy. The market-driven phase is where strategies are formulated that will help the organization meet the needs of its customers by delivering products and services as well as support services.
- Service design. This phase involves designing processes and best practices for the functions, technology, tools, infrastructure, processes, and products.
- Service transition. This phase involves planning and managing change to maintain current functionality during the deployment of changes to the state of a service.
- Service operation. During this phase, the service has been deployed and delivered to the end-users. Here the service, infrastructure, and other services and functions supporting it are monitored and maintained to meet customer needs.
- Continual service improvement. Fundamentally, the goal of this phase is to ensure that services are constantly aligned to changing business requirements.
What are the roles and responsibilities of ITIL Certified Professionals?
ITIL-certified professionals assume several roles within the service life cycle. All these roles are focused on one common objective, which is to ensure streamlined IT service delivery that aligns with business objectives at the same time meeting customer needs. Some ITIL-certified professional roles include:
1. Service desk
The service desk is the single point of contact (SPOC) between IT services and the end-users. The service desk handles service requests which include user password setting and resetting, managing service requests and incidents, and troubleshooting customer issues.
2. Systems support
System support professionals are an integral part of IT service management as they play the key role of providing technical support for issues raised from the customer end including service availability issues, software problems, and network issues. They also work together with system developers in designing and developing new services as well as recommending measures for possible risks.
3. Service catalog manager
The service catalog manager is responsible for maintaining the service catalog. The service catalog contains accurate information on services provided by and regulated by the IT service provider. Information includes service details, service management processes, current service status, interdependencies, and deliverables.
4. Availability manager
The availability manager defines, plans, measures, and helps improve IT service availability as per agreed upon service level agreement. He ensures that service deployment and delivery are timely and the tools, technology, infrastructure, and processes required for deployment are appropriate.
5. Incident manager
Incidents managers respond to incidents. They are responsible for investigating and documenting incidents and ensuring service recovery within the shortest time after incidents. They will also assist with the development and management of incident management systems.
6. Enterprise architect
The enterprise architect designs the IT infrastructure with the right technology required to run IT operations. They are also responsible for ensuring the security, fault tolerance, and easy scalability of the entire IT infrastructure to meet both present and future organizational needs.
7. Security manager
Ensures end-to-end security of operational IT services. This includes the security of users, identities, information, and assets such as intellectual property. They are responsible for formulating security standards and overseeing compliance.
8. Change manager
The change manager manages the process of reviewing, approving, and deployment of IT service changes. The change manager ensures that changes are made to services efficiently and with minimum risk to the organization’s operations.
9. Systems developer
System developers develop, configure, and deploy systems while also assisting with support and maintenance services.
10. Business relationship manager
The business relationship manager is responsible for aligning IT services with client needs. They are also responsible for maintaining a good relationship between the customers and operations as well as helping to prioritize projects for the business such that business projects are aligned with technology with the greatest return on investment. They are also part of business strategy formulation.
11. Supplier relationship manager
The supplier relationship manager also commonly referred to as supplier manager facilitates communications between the service provider and suppliers. They are responsible for ensuring that the service provider procures the right services and assets for the cost incurred.
As more organizations adopt the ITIL framework, the value for IT professionals who possess ITIL certification and can demonstrate an ability to implement the best practices to enhance IT service delivery has increased. ITIL offers the best advantage by far as it is flexible and can be adopted by both large and small organizations alike. Other skills that are becoming increasingly important for IT professionals are management skills, business relationship management, DevOps, AI, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, analytical, and innovation among others.
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