Training – can you afford not to?
Since 2007, the University of Edinburgh has trained many staff in Service Management best practice.
- 565 attendances on a Foundation in IT Service Management course (8 years of staff time)
- 178 attendances on a Practitioner or Intermediate course (3 years)
- 7 staff trained to Manager or Expert level (15 weeks)
Training fees are in the region of a third of a million pounds…
On top of this, in-house service management training and process specific training has consumed hundreds more days of staff time, even if “free”.
However, the University decided to invest in this level of training for one primary reason – we wanted to ensure buy-in to our service improvement programme, using the ITIL best practice advice. One could also blame the sector’s a priori assumption that education and training has a societal benefit…
Whilst some may determine that staff don’t need to understand the theory, just the role they play and the tasks they perform, we decided to use the training to win hearts and minds. The theory provided a context for the organisational and role-related changes being introduced as Computing Services (as was) transitioned from being a technology focused to a service focused organisation.
We’re at the stage where training in service management is happening more outside Information Services, than inside! The rest of the University has begun to recognise the value provided by service management best practice beyond traditional central IT provision.
There is a clear correlation between engagement with service management best practice and training attendance. I’m not going to speculate as to causation! However, we succeeded in our intial goal – the areas with high levels of training have high levels of buy-in for (continual) service improvement.
How do we keep costs down? We have tendered for service management training, and have now benefited from a Scottish Government Framework Agreement. However, the majority of the savings are due to running onsite deliveries of the Foundation and Intermediate courses. We draw together staff from across the University, rather than a single area, to expose attendees to various service provision challenges (and reveal the commonalities!). The relationship-building benefits should not be overlooked too…
Notes of interest for Intermediate courses are collated and, once there is sufficient demand, a course is organised – those expressing interest get first refusal on a course place, and in many cases the course has filled without needing further advertising. Targeted Intermediate courses have been organised based upon roles – for example, our service owners were encouraged to attend the “Service Offerings and Agreements” course.
We’re now coming to the end of the v3 Intermediate courses (having begun delivering the ITIL 4 Foundation last year) and will look forward to using the ITIL 4 modules as they become available.
The primary challenge is underwriting the onsite courses. Once a course has been underwritten, we can recharge each area that sends delegates. We’re currently looking for more “sponsors” to underwrite each delivery as they happen.
So a few words to our University of Edinburgh readers:
- If you wish to sponsor a course, please get in touch!
- If you have an interest in attending some formal training, let us know.
- If you have attended training at a previous employer, please let us know so that we can build on this.