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Achieving the designation of ITIL 4 Master is the culmination of a long journey in which determination and sustained effort are essential, according to Bharti Sharma.

“The path toward achieving this certification involves much more than just learning concepts and principles,” said Sharma, Global Head of Enterprise Service Management at Aon. “It takes many steps that require you to demonstrate extensive, practical experience in implementing best practices in different, real-world scenarios before you reach the level of ITIL Master.

“It’s a long-term commitment and requires dedication to ongoing learning. But if you’re focused on that, it’s a fantastic journey.”

Validation of expertise

Sharma feels the determination and effort have paid off. Already a well-established professional in her field, she believes becoming an ITIL 4 Master is important, both personally and for the value she creates for her organization.

“I see it as a validation of my expertise,” she said. “This certification demonstrates that I have a deep understanding of ITIL 4 principles and practices and that I have the ability to apply them, using the expertise and knowledge I’ve gained through achieving Master status.”

“It also means I’m equipped with the best practices for my job,” she continued. “In the complex IT service management environment I work in, IT is constantly challenged to deliver business outcomes. The certification gives me the enhanced problem-solving skills I need to meet that challenge.

“By applying all these fantastic ITIL principles, I can drive initiatives which improve service quality, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. In fact, my enhanced reputation as a leader in ITSM means I can direct much larger initiatives and drive further process improvements.”

She identifies additional benefits, too. “Only a small, exclusive network of professionals attain this level of certification. By collaborating with each other, they can come up with more synergistic opportunities to drive best practices, within the IT industry and beyond.”

Aligning IT and business

Perhaps the biggest and most important learning for Sharma during her journey to Master status comes from the strategic alignment of IT with business objectives:

“Being able to apply this to my own organization allowed us to extend the remit of service management way beyond IT,” she said. “We have been able to take service management beyond ITSM into enterprise service management (ESM).

This means delivering more and more outcomes using service management best practices for core business operations and other shared functions outside technology, and starting to drive areas like cost optimization, service quality enhancement, improved customer satisfaction and continual service improvement.”

Practical application

Sharma is keen to emphasize the importance of applying what she’s learned so far: “I would encourage people to look at the aspects of ITIL which can completely shift the way business outcomes are delivered – moving from change management to change enablement, for example – and apply these practically rather than focusing just on the theory.”

She also has advice for others who may want to follow her path: “Apply the knowledge you’ve learned as you move through the various intermediate steps of ITIL and don’t rush to jump to the next level. That way, you’ll understand the value of each concept you learn before you take the next step toward becoming a Master.”

Achieving ITIL 4 Master designation is far from the end of Sharma’s journey. In line with ITIL’s concepts of continuous learning and continual improvement, she plans to complement what she’s learned in service management with best practices for other domains including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, DevSecOps plus security and compliance.

“There are so many interrelated aspects within technology,” she explained. “A better understanding of these domains will help me implement service management far more effectively. That’s how I see my way forward beyond ITIL 4 Master.”