Making the most of your training budget – Service Desk Manager vs ITIL Foundation

Training is an important part of staff development. The latest Service Desk Benchmarking Report shows that providing training and qualifications is one of the most popular ways to incentivise staff. With so many courses now available to IT service desk staff, which course is the right one for you and your team? Training budgets are often stretched and it’s important to get the best value from what you’ve got.

Having recently completed (and passed!) the Service Desk Manager course and taken the ITIL Foundation, I’ve had some recent experience with two of the most popular options. Both courses offer a recognised qualification – they look great on your CV. They also introduce a common language, the terminology used in thousands of IT departments across the world. Both are based on IT industry best practice, with detailed content on ITSM processes.

The ITIL foundation course has a broader remit, covering all elements of IT Service Management. Although many elements are relevant to the service desk, much of it deals with the wider IT organisation. Subjects such as Availability and Capacity Management, or Service validation and Testing, may not be entirely relevant. In addition, most ITIL courses focus on the theory. They don’t explain how to apply the principles in the real world. In my experience, many training providers are far too focused on getting candidates through the exam rather than providing the skills that will add value to the team.

The biggest benefit of the Service Desk Manager course is that it provides a practical, hands-on guide to running an effective support operation. As well as the best practice and standard processes, the course offers help recruiting, managing, leading and promoting your team.

Neither course guarantees the qualification. What’s certain is that, by the end of the SDM course, attendees will have begun defining a strategy, made a start on a mission statement, drafted the vision and values, and performed an outline SWOT analysis on the team. There is also the opportunity to network with like-minded IT professionals who are dealing with similar challenges back in the office.

Both courses will add value to your team. ITIL defines a best practise framework for IT Service Management. The Service Desk Manager course provides the inspiration and skills to build a brilliant service desk.


Ed: You can read more about the Service Desk Manager course from SDI and download the course brochure here

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