ISO/IEC 20000:2011 and ITIL DO Play Nicely Together

Monday, 5 November, 2012

Yes, ISO/IEC 20000:2011 and ITIL 2011 CAN play nicely with each other. As a matter of fact, ISO/IEC 20000:2011 is the standard under which the ITIL framework is housed.

Isabelle Perron in an article in 2011, explains it this way, “An ISO standard is based on the consensus of 160 countries agreeing on a common approach or method of “doing” something such as how to manage IT services as is the case of ISO/IEC 20000-1.  ITIL®, on the other hand, is a comprehensive and cohesive set of best practices aimed at identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to the business.  An organization gets certified as ISO-compliant; individuals or organizations are qualified as being ITIL® competent.  Processes which emanate from both ISO and ITIL® are complementary.”

Standards deliver a measurable set of common best practice benchmarks for organizations and businesses. When you comply with a certain standard, it indicates that you have reached at least the minimum level of given benchmarks and you’re committed to ongoing improvement. An outsider can the assume that a given level of quality can be anticipated. The other important aspect of a standard is that it is auditable and assessable by independent and authorized auditors.

EMC in a white paper states that standards provide direction for achieving the following business advantages:

  • Efficiency – creating more efficiencies in IT is critical with budget cuts to infrastructure.
  • Integrity – Standards provide the needed benchmark in process control areas for regulatory compliance and major partners.
  • Alignment to business objectives -Standards can ensure that effectiveness is reviewed and measured against business needs, and that efficiency goals have not compromised the objectives of the process.
  • Agility – IT is increasingly required to adapt to the dynamic nature of business. Clear processes and process ownership, with continuous review, increase the capacity for IT to respond to change.

To support its benchmarks and core principles, ISO 20000 depends on frameworks such as ITIL therefore the alignment between ISO and ITIL is intentional.

Sources: White paper-EMC; ISO/IEC 20000:2011 – The new version: how does it align with ITIL® Edition 2011? October 12, 2011 by Isabelle Perron

A Short Plug for Black Friday Sales: GogoTraining is stepping into unconventional, unusual ground on Friday, November 23rd. Be sure to stop back and check it out!

Big Data – What Types of Skills Do You Need?

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

With 100’s of Terabytes of data, companies want new hires who understand the the entire scope of big data processing. It is  a different mindset, and there is a struggle to identify the skills needed, but some have been tagged.

  • Working with traditional SQL relational databases
  • Distributing loads on servers
  • Strong math and coding skills and business savvy
  • Willingness to learn new skills (different database or OS)
  • Higher level quantitative skill sets
  • Research Scientist background

Because of the shortage, crossing from one industry to another is not a considerable barrier. Modis Kelly says, “Data is data. Industry vertical really isn’t going to be the key driver. Its going to be what did you do with the data, how large of an environment was it.” Hiring organizations will avoid backgrounds with small companies because of the small data experience being so radically different. Jim Yu says it involves finding candidates who, “understand the right questions to ask around this data and how to tease this into actions that result in business outcomes for our customers.”

Source: Computerworld, Big data worker shortage demands job candidates with diverse backgrounds by Fred O’Connor, October 10, 2012

Can You Connect?

Thursday, 18 October, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can you connect with people? Can you explain your requirements and needs to management? Can you deliver your expectations to your team? These soft skills are hitting high on the employment scale for companies competing in today’s marketplace. Our work environments no longer display a homogenous work group; we have 20 somethings programming next to 50 somethings, developers whose families helped to establish your state to developers who’ve just moved to your state from another country; differences range from politics and religion to race and process methodology. All of these differences need a common goal, a referee, a peace maker, a negotiator.

That’s where you come in. Network World did an article in September this year discussing this very topic. They described how employers will pick someone with a lower skill level and strong soft skills over a high skill level with no or little soft skills. They identified 5 key skills that employers are looking for:

  1. Communication – both verbal and written. Employers are looking for people who can speak in simple English. Can you talk to your non-techy friends about your work in a way that they can understand you? Do you refrain from using the millions of acronyms and technology terms in our business when talking or writing to non-technical management or staff? Do you choose being kind over being right? Then you’ve got a key skill employers are seeking.
  2. Customer Service – Having a customer driven focus to your work. Do you ask a lot of questions when users provide their requests? Do you explore the many ways their goals might be accomplished in order to find a solution that works for you both? If so, you’re demonstrating the customer service focus that is desired.
  3. Teamwork – Do you listen to everyone’s ideas? Do you know your team members personally? Teamwork is something we assume is a given skill in our technological environment with a heavy project focus, but having the ability to truly understand the members of your team, and respect their skills, knowledge level and opinions is the optimum teamwork approach.
  4. Problem-solving – Keeping your head on straight can be challenging during problem solving. Most people are emotionally and intellectually tied to their position or idea, and negotiating your way through the labyrinth is a definite skill. If you can handle conflict that arises in these situations and keep a cool head, you’ve got an important skill employers want.
  5. Business Insight – While it’s an asset to be a brilliant programmer, it’s equally important to understand how the business for which you’re designing, works, what are their business rules, the nuances of their customer interactions, the stakeholders in the enterprise. Your projects may have a huge impact to the bottom line, and your ability to understand what that entails is a strength to many employers.

If there are skills listed here that you need to learn or brush up on, go get it done! Much of this training is available at a low cost, and it will prepare you for your high salary job.

Source: 5 Career-Boosting Soft Skills By Mary Brandel, Network World, September 11, 2012

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:

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?