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The ITIL Effect: Is this certification still worth it?

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By: Tatianna

March 20, 2019

Is This Service Certification Still Worth It?

Certifications offer a dual benefit for IT professionals with improved career opportunities and increased compensation. Organizations also come out ahead since highly-skilled, well-trained technology staff can empower the critical transition from IT-as-cost-center to an essential aspect of business ROI. The result? More companies now demand top-tier certifications, and more IT staff recognize the value of top-tier training providers to streamline their certification process.
One of the most popular certifications across the industry is ITIL Foundation — recent data shows that ITIL remains a “must have” for technology professionals1. But the certification is also starting to show its age — in a world driven by agile DevOps and emerging security risks, is this service-focused training still worth it, or are technology pros better served by more cutting-edge courses? Here’s what you need to know.

A History of Service

ITIL is an acronym for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library. Originally developed by the United Kingdom’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency in the 1980s, ITIL was designed as a best-practice framework for the delivery of IT services for government departments.Over the last four decades, ITIL has evolved beyond its governmental roots to assist IT service management (ITSM) professionals in the deployment, implementation, and evolution of technology services across their organization. Using well-documented, repeatable processes, ITIL empowers ITSM staff to align technology solutions with businesses goals. The framework covers five key areas:
  • Strategy — Delivery of key IT assets that includes governance, compliance, and business process development to maximize service potential.
  • Design — Assessing current service delivery models to improve outcomes.
  • Transition — Developing processes to ensure services smoothly transition from initial deployment stages to production and operations.
  • Operation — Implementing best practices to maximize services in use — such as creating access, incident response and lifecycle policies.
  • Improvement — Recognizing the need for continuous improvements and identifying key opportunities based on current performance of IT services.

ITIL’s Inherent Value

For organizations, ITIL offers the value of reliability: Deploying ITIL best practices drives measurable IT outcomes and improvements regardless of project focus or scope. For IT professionals, the ITIL framework provides a solid foundation — a starting point to build out IT services that empower business goals. Their services can be on-premise, cloud-based, back-end or customer-focused; no matter the outcome, the process to ensure effective delivery remains the same.ITIL is also well-respected across the industry, regularly ranking among the top five must-have certifications for front-line IT service professionals. Perhaps its biggest advantage, however, is its focus on critical IT outcomes such as reducing costs, improving productivity and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Foundation 4.0 and the Future of ITIL

While the long history of ITIL has established it as an IT mainstay, it has also generated more recent concerns about the continuing relevance of this certification in a world driven by agile DevOps and off-site IT solutions. Some experts argue that ITIL is no longer relevant and encourage business to focus on less rigorous service models that specifically target customer touchpoints, but this ignores the critical strengths of ITIL: Creating a foundation of process and rigor.ITIL’s signature certification — ITIL Foundation — has also received regular updates to better align the training with evolving business goals. For example, in February 2019 the 4th edition of ITIL Foundation was released to help realign its messaging and impact. Key practices now include:
  • Value focus — Recognizing the role of IT services as driving business value — both directly and indirectly. For example, while the continued OpEx of cloud computing deployments may not generate long-term cost savings, the indirect value created by improved resource availability is significant.
  • Iterative progress — Small, incremental value steps are critical to drive progress in a mobile-first, digital-native IT environment.
  • Clear collaboration — Work across teams, stakeholders and partners must be transparent and measurable.
  • End-to-end thinking — With IT services now critical to line-of-business (LOB) functions, end-to-end strategy design and support is essential.
  • Automate as needed — The sheer complexity of IT services and increased volume of data sources requires the use of automated services wherever possible to streamline operations.

Starting Strong

To obtain ITIL certification, candidates must pass one, 40-question exam with a score of 65 percent or better. Successful completion also opens the door to other ITIL training opportunities along the ITIL Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert and Master tracks. While ITIL Foundation certification is recommended for front-line IT staff and it’s possible to challenge the exam using only knowledge gained in the field, IT professionals can significantly improve their chances of first-time success with reputable ITIL training courses.At Cybrary, we’ve created a 9-module ITIL course that covers everything from the ITIL effect on business models to basic architecture, service strategy KPIs, operational goals and continuous service improvement. Even better? Our online ITIL course is completely free — view content where, when and how you want at no cost. Want even more training opportunities? Become a Cybrary member for full access to virtual labs and live classes taught by IT industry experts.Bottom line? Though showing its age, ITIL remains one of the most versatile, sought-after and reliable certifications on the market. For front-line ITSM professionals, ITIL Foundation training both increases industry capital and serves as a solid starting point for more in-depth certifications.
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