Top Skills You'll Need to Achieve Expert Status in IT Service Management

In a field as complex and wide-ranging as IT, it’s not always easy to chart the ideal course to achieve what some would call ‘IT Mastery.’ In enterprise IT, there are so many new technologies to learn, new security issues to deal with and new operational best practices to keep pace with. So how do IT professionals reach a peak of expertise to empower their organizations to thrive?

The answer lies in the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) framework, which sets international quality benchmarks for IT professionals around the world. ITIL is a core strategic foundation for IT Service Management (ITSM), a market that is projected to reach $8.78 billion by 2021. A structured ITSM learning path will help you and your teams reach that peak of expertise. Our recommendations follow:

1. IT Service Strategy

Like many mission-critical business units, IT organizational success starts from the top. In a recent Gartner CEO survey, respondents indicated that improved IT operations were their #2 business priority, behind only overall market growth. The ITIL Intermediate Service Strategy (SS) certification is a vital first step to knowing how to achieve business benefits from IT operations. The Service Strategy education empowers IT professionals to effectively perform planning, design, development, and implementation of IT service management, including how to identify challenges, risks and critical success factors in the IT services lifecycle, and create and operate customer-focused IT service strategies. With 65 percent of today’s “high maturity” IT groups saying they are aligned with business objectives, it’s no wonder service strategy is becoming a key business motivator for management teams. 

2. Operational Support and Analysis

From an operational perspective, IT organizations are implementing ITIL best practices to improve the rollout and effectiveness of everyday IT services. Self-service is one example: given the fact that almost 39 percent of organizations take more than 30 minutes on average to resolve IT incidents, 83 percent of IT organizations now enable or support self-service tools for end users. Operational support and analysis enable IT managers to identify improvements to the implementation of IT processes to deliver and support customer services; manage events, incidents, and technical problems across the IT lifecycle; and transform people and procedures into high-quality and cost-effective IT services. Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) training within the ITIL framework enables these vital improvements to your ITSM strategy.

3. Continual Service Improvement

Continual service improvement (CSI) embraces the philosophy that companies can always improve the effectiveness of their ITSM processes and bake in continual change. CSI implementations can help companies be on the lookout for redundancies, errors, and poor use of resources; ways to scale the use of IT and ensure that business-critical activities are stable, reliable and secure. As part of the IT services lifecycle, ITIL Continual Service Improvement (CSI) helps IT professionals apply metrics to address ITSM risks and challenges, and do it in a way that helps quantify the business benefit of IT operations. CSI also supports many of the tenets of other complementary quality management methodologies such as Agile and Lean, which makes continual service improvement all the more important as a business driver.

4. DevOps

The line is rapidly blurring between the development and operational side of IT applications deployment. The latest State of DevOps Report says that 53 percent of organizations now require developers to take part in application deployments, and 43 percent require operations to become involved in new product and feature development. DevOps professionals are cross-trained to understand the mission-critical aspects of both sides of the equation, applying the principles of continuous development and deployment, automation of configuration management, and inter-team collaboration and IT service agility. DevOps is one of the fastest growing fields in the ITSM space, with millions of new job opportunities arising for aspiring IT professionals.

The Newest ITIL Update

A major ITIL update took place in 2018, and it was designed to provide a more practical viewpoint to the entire ITIL framework, offering optimal integration with several complimentary platforms on ITIL technology such as Agile, DevOps, and Lean. Simplilearn offers a wide range of ITIL courses to train IT professionals on the entire lifecycle of IT activities, including service operation (SO); service design (SD); operational support and analysis (OSA); planning, protection and optimization (PPO), release, control and validation (RCV); service offerings and agreements (SOA); continual service improvement (CSI); and managing across the lifecycle (MALC).

ITIL may just be the answer to your quest for ITSM mastery. Follow the tenets of the various ITIL and related modules above and you’ll advance yourself and your IT teams rapidly down a great and fulfilling career path.

About the Author

Stuart RauchStuart Rauch

Stuart Rauch is a 25-year product marketing veteran and president of ContentBox Marketing Inc. He has run marketing organizations at several enterprise software companies, including NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, EVault and Secure Computing. Stuart is a specialist in content development and brings a unique blend of creativity, linguistic acumen and product knowledge to his clients in the technology space.

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