I’m about one month into a sizable consulting project for a Houston chemical company, helping them transition their IT operations from a third-party managed service provider into an in-house operation. As the company makes its transition from the old regime to a new one, it’s also wisely taking advantage of a golden opportunity to rework its processes, policies, and procedures to bring them in line with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (aka ITIL) guidelines, concepts, and practices for managing information technology services, development, and operations. The group I’m supporting is primarily on the operations end of this tripod, but in helping them to document operations practices and procedures, I also can’t help but run up against the other legs from time to time as well (services and development, that is).
Along the way, I’ve learned that ITIL offers a tremendous conceptual and practical framework in which to manage IT, and that lots of organizations should be able to benefit from a concerted effort to adopt its principles and practices. To me, it looks like anybody who plans to work in IT for any length of time, and espcially those interested in getting into IT management, should put ITIL on their agenda of “hot topics to learn” in the near term.
I’ve also discovered some great resources to help get going down this road:
1. As a starting point, Tim Malone’s The Art of Service: ITIL V3 Foundation Complete Certification Kit – 2009 Edition is a great place to start. You not only get a short (186-page) paperback book that introduces ITIL fundamentals, but you also get acccess to an online training course to help you prepare for the entry-level ITIL foundation exam. Even if you don’t plan to take the exam, the book still provides a great overall intro (but if you don’t you may balk at this book’s $90 price tag).
2. The ITIL Toolkit provides online access to a series of documents intended to lead licensees (a subscription costs $200) into the ITIL model for IT Service Management (ITSM). It includes a beginners guide, factsheets for the 12 core ITIL processes, a management PowerPoint “slideshow,” process compliance questionnaires and other compliance tools, and more. It’s intended to provide a complete toolkit to learn about, adopt, and check ITIL compliance in an organization of any size.
As I find other items, I’ll report further. But because these have gotten me off to a good start, I figured they might do the same for other readers of this blog. Check ’em out!