How to Spend Hundreds to Save Millions

Friday, 25 March, 2011

Most businesses do not appreciate network uptime until it is down.  Few people realize how much loss can occur when the network or servers are not operating correctly until they see entire departments of people idle and searching for something to fill their time while repairs are put into effect.

CDW took a look at the problem in a survey run last year and released recently.  In their 2010 CDW Business Continuity Straw Poll, CDW asked 7,099 IT managers about uptime and 1,794 reported they had experienced a network disruption of more than four hours since July 2009.  The survey was closed after obtaining 200 completed responses from SMB’s with over 100 employees.

Two major take-away points from the report:

  • From the 25% of the initial set that suffered significant outage and the average number of days business was closed due to such circumstances, CDW estimated these cost roughly $1.7 billion in lost profits last year.
  • 82% of the most significant outages could have been avoided by enacting measures found in any comprehensive business continuity/disaster recovery plan.

Enter ITIL, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  ITIL is concerned with best practices surrounding the management of information technology.  As a certification path, it starts out with the Foundations level which establishes, well, a foundation of BP understanding and an important overview of the landscape.

From there, important information technology service management (ITSM) issues are covered at the Intermediate level.  One of them is the ITIL Planning, Protection and Optimization course which covers such mission-critical subjects as capacity management, availability management, IT service continuity management, information security management and demand management.  Sound familiar?  Probably because these are the things that would have saved those 1,794 IT manager’s.

More to the point, these are the things that would have saved $1.7 billion of loss last year.  Considering the cost of obtaining ITIL certification in order to implement these management best practices, the business case is more than established.

On top of it, ITIL training doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.  Travel and in-person expenses are easily saved through providers like GogoTraining, an APMG ITIL authorized training organization (ATO), who delivers online, self-paced ITIL v3 certification training courses.  Due to a unique business model and the savings afforded with online delivery, GogoTraining courses are among the most affordable on the market (online courses are in the low hundreds!).  For ITIL, you can get the ITIL v3 Foundation for $448 (two courses on a buy-one-get-one package) and then enough Intermediate courses to fulfill the credit requirement to sit for Intermediate certification, all for mere hundreds of dollars.  To save hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars?  There isn’t much to argue on that point. 

If your business has not considered the potential of downtime and the impact to the bottom line, a great way to start would be to obtain ITIL certification in order to put in place IT management best practices to avoid them in the first place.

IT Management Skills Critical to Entering the Cloud

Thursday, 10 March, 2011

Looking to get caught up in the shift toward Cloud Computing? It winds up even those focused on storage and network administration will need to add management to their skill set.

There are two roles that are becoming relevant in cloud computing, according to Drue Reeves, VP and Gartner analyst on cloud computing. The first are Cloud Leads, operating at the strategic level to serve as enterprise evaluator and ambassador.  The second are Cloud Administrators, repurposed storage and network administrators who move more into a management role working with cloud providers.

Thus, the adoption of cloud platforms will drive an increase in demand for those with not only the requisite IT skills but also key management training or background.

One excellent form of management training for IT professionals is the certification for ITIL, or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  ITIL is among the most widely used set of best practices where it comes to IT services management (ITSM).  Those interested in obtaining ITIL certification begin with the ITIL v3 Foundation certification training in order to obtain the initial certificate.  Afterward, ITIL offers an Intermediate level with two tracks of learning, Lifecycle and Capability.  Certifications are offered in each of the Intermediate modules but those seeking to sit for the exams must demonstrate they have taken ITIL v3 Intermediate training from an Authorized Training Organization (GogoTraining is an ATO).

GogoTraining offers the ITIL v3 Foundation certification training courses (there are 2) at a “buy one get one” price to help interested professionals get started quickly and easily.

Other strong IT management training courses include:

Kabam, GoDaddy, IBM Launch Large Recruiting Drives

Tuesday, 8 March, 2011

Three well-know technology companies have turned up the volume on hiring and are looking for technologists in key fields.

Kabam, a game development company known for their Kingdoms of Camelot title (voted Best Facebook Game in 2010), is looking to hire more take in an additional 600 employees with a focus on skills such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, CSS, Java and Flash.  Those involved in data center engineering and maintenance are also needed as they serve their games.

GoDaddy, the world’s top hosting provider and domain registrar, continues to experience growth even through the tough economy (wherein it doubled in size in less than four years).  They hope to hire around 350 people.  While most will be in customer service and call center, around one third will focus on skills such as network engineering, quality assurance, .NET engineering, SQL and Linux.

IBM is also looking for a lot of new people, with over 2,200 positions open on at the moment.  Regions of particular focus are Washington D.C., Ohio, Los Angeles, San Fransisco and San Diego.  Particular skills being sought include networking, integration, SAP, SAN, Oracle, Java and Unix.

GogoTraining offers the following online training courses to help you get up and running for these and other jobs.  Need something different? Check our online training course catalog.

New Courses: Oracle Grid Control and ITIL Service Operation

Friday, 4 March, 2011

Two more courses just released!

Oracle Grid Control Part 2

This Oracle online training course explains Oracle’s Grid control architecture. You are provided with a detailed look on installing and configuring Oracle’s Grid control. At the end of this course you will have a well rounded knowledge of services, beacons, grip patching and preferences, and reporting.

This course is taught by industry expert Steve Hamilton.  Mr. Hamilton has over 20 years of practical experience with Oracle, Sybase and SQL Server.  He is certified in Oracle version 8 through 11g, along with certifications in numerous other technologies. Steve particularly excels at delivering “real world examples” to the classroom.  He enjoys preparing students so they can immediately be productive when they return to their work environment.

Also check out our Oracle Grid Control Part 1 training course.

ITIL® Service Operation, a Service Lifecycle Course

NOTE: GogoTraining is an APMG ITIL Accredited Training Organization (ATO).

This ITIL® online training course covers the lifecycle aspects of Service Operation from a managerial/supervisory perspective and explores Service Operations principles and activities. You will gain an understanding of Service Operation Processes and Functions as well as the interfaces between Service Operation and the other stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle. ITIL® Service Operation: A Service Lifecycle Course builds on the general principles covered in the ITIL® Foundation course and covers the management-level concepts and core information of the activities and techniques within Service Operation.

The ITIL® Intermediate Qualification: Service Operation Certificate is a free-standing qualification and is also part of the ITIL Intermediate Lifecycle Stream and one of the modules that leads to the ITIL Expert in IT Service Management Certificate.

This course is taught by industry expert Sue Southern.  Sue is an independent consultant and trainer with exceptional customer focus for business improvement and service excellence.  Ms. Southern is an experienced seminar and conference speaker with an excellent reputation spanning over 25 years.  She specializes in Service Management training, ITIL versions 2 and 3 process implementations/enhancements and business measurement with balanced scorecards for managing performance and transformation.

GogoTraining offers many more ITIL® Intermediate training courses and other training in ITSM.

Survey: Top 4 Key IT Skill Sets Needed, Say CIOs

Tuesday, 1 March, 2011

A gap exists between today’s composition of IT groups and what is needed for enterprises to maximize return on systems investments, so say CIOs in a recent survey.

CIO magazine and the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) asked 370 CIOs about the makeup and goals of their organizations.  The CIOs indicated a new “value proposition” for IT was to move beyond building and running systems and into a space that contributes more fundamental business value to the enterprise.  This represents at least a partial shift of responsibility away from other departments who are often tasked with providing the ultimate value out of systems created and maintained by the IT department.

Skills such as vendor managers, IT/business experts, data and analytics experts, and application developers top out where it comes to skill sets needed to make that value proposition a reality.

IT/Business experts are the hybrids we discussed recently, people who have depth in both and are able to tie them together in meaningful ways.  One example are IT service managers who are not necessarily technologists but manage technology for the business.  ITIL certification and project management certification are highly advisable for those in such positions and are sure to be hired first in a glut of applicants.

Application developers will have specific skills that vary depending on the chosen technology.  Particular hot spots include Java, Oracle and Android application development.  Pursuing training in any of these areas is very desirable when seeking to build a strong resume.

GogoTraining continues to create new learning opportunities that allow IT professionals of any experience level to build a foundation for reliable job security and employability.

What area could you train for that would really make your resume stand out?

How to Leverage ITIL for Success in the Cloud

Monday, 21 February, 2011

While heading to the Cloud may mean being able to outsource a number of infrastructure headaches, one responsibility remains squarely on the shoulder of any cloud-bound business: data management. Wherever your data is and by whom it is handled are separate issues from how it is managed.

Arthur Cole, writing for IT Business Edge, shows how movement to the cloud is introducing a more sophisticated, complex challenge where it comes to data management.  One such area where that challenge can be successfully addressed is using ITIL, or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  ITIL has successfully carved out space as a leading best practice documentation set by which professionals involved in IT service management can gain qualification.

Among the many definitions embodied by ITIL is the Business Service Management (BSM) specification.  Vikas Aggarwal, CEO of management firm Zyrion, asserts that many management platform vendors are working to retrofit their products in order to support the BSM spec.  “Business Service Management correlates data from different parts of the IT infrastructure and provides a service-oriented context,” says Aggarwal (in Cole’s article).  “That is the reason why BSM is such a key component in virtual and cloud environments.”

As businesses continue a growing mass movement toward the Cloud, disciplines such as ITIL will continue to be adopted throughout the industry.  As enterprises launch ITIL initiatives attached to their greater Cloud-based aspirations, professionals with ITIL certification are sure to thrive.

GogoTraining provides ITIL v3 Foundation and v3 Intermediate training courses.  They are online, self-paced and affordable.  Be sure to consider aquiring an ITIL certification if you are at all involved in IT service management (ITSM).

ITIL v2 to v3 Bridge Soon to End

Friday, 18 February, 2011

The U.K. Office of Government Commerce (OGC) began phasing out v2 publications and qualifications for ITIL in June of 2010.  The formal movement from v2 to v3 continues through June 30, 2011 when the availability of the Manager’s Bridging qualification ends.  At that point, ITIL will be offered strictly in the v3 format of qualification.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the professional best practice definition for IT service management, is a valuable addition to anyone who is responsible for information technology service management.  There are four exam levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Expert and Master. 

Get ITIL Foundation and Intermediate training courses from GogoTraining, offering outstanding instruction from industry experts such as Neal Rowland, Sue Southern, and Helen Morris.

Have you updated to v3 yet?  Have you obtained your ITIL certification?

Why Businesses Need ITIL Certified Professionals

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011

The business community has always thrived on service.  The fundamental best practice of serving customers has always been a necessary ingredient to long-term success and a sustainable business model.  You simply can’t expect to have staying power – whether you’re serving retail or business customers – and fail to think about their needs (and respond to them!). 

As information technology has grown in prominence among business users, many of us became caught in a technology trap where the tech took center stage and it was up to customers to conform.  The result has often been problems with cost, efficiency and consistency as technology is adopted due to a less-than-whole perspective on who will use it and why.

Back in the 1980’s, the proliferation of information technology across different departments in the United Kingdom government was occurring at a pace that left things like consistency, relevance, applicability and utility behind.  It sounds strange because these are just the sorts of things information technology is supposed to support or even introduce into an environment.  But rapid adoption by multiple points within the same entity (e.g. the UK government) makes for a lack of continuity and a resulting jumble of confused and colliding implementations.

Enter ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), a set of standards first envisioned in the late 1980’s by the Central Computer Telecommunications Agency (a division of the UK government).  This blossomed over the years into many volumes of publications covering best practices for IT management, application and service.  The focus remained on Service Management; specifically, a perspective on IT management that is centered on the customer’s perspective of IT.

This customer-centered approach represents a major competitive opportunity for businesses in 2011 and beyond.  Due to several years of difficult economic conditions the corporate lens is focused on finding ways to save costs and create efficiency, and ITIL certainly offers both of these advantages.

Those with ITIL certification have an opportunity to stand out in this economy.  Being able to bring this sort of perspective is a difference maker for those already employed or seeking a new position.  Companies large and small are looking for an edge and the user-focused best practices of ITIL make a strong business case for accomplishing real savings in any and all IT investments moving forward.  Businesses are already well-educated on the importance of this after several decades of technology deployments with very mixed results.

If you are currently employed and in the position to manage IT services, consider obtaining ITIL certification training that will enable you to get certified.  By making a case for efficiency and cost control you may be able to get your employer to pay for it.  If you are unemployed and looking to secure a new position that includes IT service management then ITIL certification could be a way to distinguish yourself.
Employed or not, taking a page from the ITIL philosophy on IT management and singing the tune of customer-focused service is sure to be one that resonates with today’s top employers.