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Watch Out for Training Costs in IT Infrastructure Library Version 3

Watch Out for Training Costs in IT Infrastructure Library Version 3

The latest version of ITIL emphasizes knowing how an organization will service a system before it's built. But to get the full benefits of these best IT practices takes a lot of training.

In its latest incarnation, ITIL is raising vexing questions for IT professionals contemplating adopting it within their companies. The problem? A lack of clarity as to the cost and extent of ITIL training and certification.

Implementing ITIL used to be more straightforward. When Jonathan Chapman joined London, UK-headquartered global packaging giant Rexam in November 2006 as group service delivery and operations manager, for example, a key objective that had been set for him was to shape the business's approach to IT service management around ITIL concepts.

One other immediate distinction between the two versions, it turns out, lies in the training and accreditation required for IT staff to be recognized as competent in ITIL

"There wasn't a formal service culture within the company's IT operations organization," he recalls. "The advantage of ITIL was that it would force us to more formally interact with the business from a service point of view. Like many IT organizations, we were good at talking to users when creating a new system — but not so good at following up from a service perspective."

Clearly, training in ITIL concepts was required. Already certified to ITIL's "foundation" level when he joined Rexam, Chapman discovered that although a few members of the IT team had also received some ITIL training, the knowledge within the team was fractured and predominantly UK-based. Nevertheless, it was the starting point from which he could build to get the benefits of ITIL to the company's 22,000 employees. Little over a year later, Chapman can declare mission accomplished. There's still work to do, but a sea change in service delivery has taken place.

The Origins of ITIL Version 3

That rapid adoption timescale may be a thing of the past. Now over twenty years old, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library — to give ITIL its full name — is a set of best practice concepts and techniques for addressing the effective management of IT infrastructure, service delivery and service support.

Originally developed in the UK in the mid-1980s, drawing on work done in the 1970s by IBM and others and published by the UK government's Office of Government Commerce, ITIL has been widely adopted around the world; exact numbers are unclear since all one has to do is purchase the books and adopt whatever practices one wishes. Inside the UK's public sector — and for private sector companies operating government systems on an outsourced basis — ITIL volumes are like the Bible's chapters and verse for managing IT.

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