Real-world ITIL skills lacking: conference-goers

There are plenty out there who have paper ITIL qualfications but little practical experience, Australian IT manager say

When John Talbot, general manager of operational management at Australia’s Commonwealth Bank, said identifying the real experts from those who make hollow claims can be a real stalling point in an IT service management project, his comments hit home with a number of IT execs.

Talbot says the problem with many so-called “experts” is that they have textbook knowledge, but not real-world implementation experience.

“Our initial challenge with IT Service Management was that there were far too many ‘experts’ out there. I know certification isn’t easily obtained so that lends credibility, but you need some experience under your belt as well,” he says.

Talbot, who spoke at an IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) roundtable in Sydney recently, says another stalling point is lack of executive sponsorship.

Fortunately, the Commonwealth Bank had a “depth of active sponsorship” when it started its A$1.5 billion (NZ$1.76 billion) transformation project.

Another roundtable participant, Roger McPhee, project director with Queensland Transport, says that during a recent project, Queensland Transport already had IT service management practices and processes in place, none of which were aligned to ITIL.

The project was was much about changing the internal culture as it was about redefining processes, he says.

“For us it was a challenge because of our immaturity in terms of having practices in place. Those we had weren’t aligned to ITIL and as a result we would fix the same problem 45 times. The enormous investment going into fixing issues was not helpful to our organisation.

“All good intentions aside, a lot of our people were driven by their belief that they could find the solution to a problem; it was about changing that culture.

“It was a perfect opportunity to redefine the processes and align them to what is recognised as a de facto best-practice standard and an opportunity for us to build from the ground up.”

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