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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ITSM Academy Helps Organizational Maturity

This is great insight from a guest staff blogger, Leslie Kapocius:
Since 2003, ITSM Academy has focused exclusively on service management education to help clients start, enhance or mature their service management initiatives. We have trained tens of thousands of individuals and helped hundreds of clients, primarily Fortune 500 clients, in all verticals, and a wide array of government and education clients.

Recently, we were asked, "How have you helped clients mature in their service management initiatives?”  That is a very good question. As an education company, we cannot make people apply the knowledge they gain in classes, workshops, mentoring or simulations. We can only "educate and inspire", a core principle that is at the heart (and tagline) of our organization. Why do people need inspiration? Because in order to apply what is learned, individuals need to change either what they are doing or how they are doing it. If nothing changes, nothing alters and intentional maturity cannot take place.  

One of the first steps would be to work within a best practice service management framework (e.g., ITIL)  that creates a common vocabulary and common definitions. Misunderstandings regarding the difference between a process, a procedure and a work instruction or between an Incident and a Problem have affected efficiency and wasted time and resources.  ITIL Foundation or ITIL Overview courses help to get people saying the same thing and meaning the same thing.

Many companies have already succeeded in instilling a general understanding of service management and have designed and deployed specific processes. They are now ready to move to the next level. However, in order to increase maturity, an organization should first benchmark their current level using one of the process maturity models. 
The assessment may demonstrate a need to focus on breadth. One department may be “service management mature” but another is not. Education can help cross-pollinate general knowledge and common vocabularies between departments. An internal resource can be trained to deliver ITIL courses, thereby reducing training costs and increasing the ability to train more staff. Once a service management initiative has gone broader, better efficiencies are achieved.

Another way to increase breadth is to focus on better business and IT alignment.  The more buy-in and understanding a service management initiative has, the better chance of streamlining service throughout the entire organization. Lifecycle courses such as Service Strategy or Continual Service Improvement introduce higher level thinking in processes that affect the business such as service portfolio management, financial management, demand management and metrics.

In addition to breadth, organizations may also need to increase their depth of knowledge by advancing the skills of process owners and managers.  Capability courses such as Release, Control and Validation or Planning, Protection and Optimization improve the ability to design, execute and mature critical processes such as Release and Deployment or Capacity Management.   The complementary Certified Process Design Engineer is the only course in the ITIL scheme that provides prescriptive knowledge for designing, improving and re-engineering processes. Having at least one ITIL Expert on staff will also significantly add depth of knowledge through a resource that can "manage across the lifecycle".  

Opportunities exist for topic-specific knowledge to increase depth.  We are the only service management education provider that continues to offer free monthly "webucations".  This month, the US Navy shared their process improvement story through service management education. Click here to download.  Our course catalog also includes non-certification workshops.

So, what does it ultimately take to reach the next level of maturity?   Education and inspiration.