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ITIL: What It Is and Why You Should Care – Part IV – What are the steps to getting started? (#4 in the series ITIL:What It Is and Why You Should Care)
By Eugene S. Ball, PhD, ITIL Certified Service Manager

For most organizations, education or training is the first step. ITIL brings with it a common dictionary of IT terminology. Many companies begin by requiring most or all of their IT staff to take an ITIL Foundations Certification class. This class can be 2 – 3 days in length. Many companies require that the class include a certification test. This training provides a common understanding of the ITIL framework and a common language for a more accurate discussion during the implementation.

A second step is to designate someone as manager of the ITIL adoption project. The adoption of ITIL rises to the level of a major project that requires formal oversight. The project manager should be an ITIL Certified Service Manager or have at least one advisor who is so certified. This is a long-term project and every effort should be made to have the same Certified Service Manager to provide continuity to the ITIL implementation.

A third step is more training. As progress is made toward the implementation of each of the 10 ITIL processes, the manager of each process may be assigned to take a special ITIL Practitioner Certificate class that covers the process for which they have responsibility.

An ongoing step is to consider is the need for new technology. However, new technology should not be considered until your processes are better defined. It is important to remember that technology is only an enabler and does not improve weak processes.


ITIL is becoming the industry standard for best practices for the management of IT. If you are an IT company or an IT division within a company then you can expect to hear, “Where are you in your ITIL implementation?” If you work in the IT industry, and you work for a medium-to-large organization or plan to in your future, then you should think about adding one or more ITIL certifications to your resume—because ITIL will be in your future.

For those of you who are about to begin the ITIL implementation journey, remember to think and talk about the long term, because this journey is measured in years not in months. ITIL is a new approach to continuous improvement. Part of ITIL is the constant improvement of each of the 10 ITIL processes and the inter-process communication. This constant improvement has as its goal to provide IT services in a more cost-effective manner and to better match those services to the present and future needs of the business.

ITIL is a framework of how to manage IT like a business for the business. As such, the ITIL framework does not describe in absolute terms how any of the ITIL processes should be implemented. Those details are left up to the implementer. The goals and key performance indicators for each of the processes is well defined, so that there is a clearly defined road map to measure your success.

Dr. Eugene Ball has 26 years of experience in the customer service industry. This experience followed 12 years of teaching and research in mathematics, computer science, and statistics at universities both in the US and abroad. During the last 26 years, he has held positions related to the customer service industry that ranged from providing direct telephone support to managing a large help desk. Dr. Ball founded Help Desk Solutions, Inc. in 1993.Working through Help Desk Solutions, he has assisted a variety of organizations in implementing or improving their customer service by improving processes and procedures and selecting, implementing, and integrating tools that support and automate these processes. These organizations have included start-up companies, county governments, higher education, and members of the Fortune 500. Dr. Ball is a regular speaker on both national and local levels on topics related to customer support. He has also published a variety of articles on subjects related to the customer service industry. Dr. Ball is one of the founders and has served as President of the North Carolina, Research Triangle, and Central Virginia local chapters of the Help Desk Institute. In 1998, and from 2002 – 2005, Dr. Ball served on the Help Desk Institute Team Excellence evaluation panel. He is a founding member of the Help Desk Institute Individual Certification Standards Committee. He is a certified HDI training partner, a certified HDI Site Auditor, and an ITIL Certified Service Manager. In addition to teaching Help Desk Institute certification, he trains and consults with clients on ITIL issues.

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at for free white papers, webinars, and more.

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