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Infrastructure management exam addresses neglected but vital area

John Kavanagh
An often neglected yet vital area of IT is being highlighted by a new qualification from the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board (Iseb).

The infrastructure management certificate is for specialists who keep organisations' central and distributed IT running. IT infrastructure management is tackled superficially in too many cases, according to the widely-used IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which is overseen by the Office of Government Commerce and forms the basis of the qualification.

This superficial treatment belies the fact that this discipline is the foundation for service support and delivery, according to the ITIL, especially as technology and business change so quickly and IT is increasingly deployed throughout organisations.

"Good planning, administration and control are key to ensuring information services are built and continue to meet business needs in a cost-effective way," the ITIL said.

"The onus is on IT management to ensure that distributed resources underpin information systems and facilitate decision-making - yet are managed as transparently as possible."

It said professional infrastructure management ensures increased service availability and quality; a better match of capacity to users' needs; less adverse impact of change on IT quality; more efficient problem handling; lower IT service costs; and reduced risk of failure.

The importance of infrastructure management was stated simply by Ben Booth, IT director of market research group Mori. "It is key to connectivity and security," he said.

This importance is reflected in the fact that Booth has an infrastructure management team, who have typically come through networking.

Iseb product manager Steve Causer said the infrastructure management certificate could benefit all such people and also those looking to move into this area from other areas of IT.

"The certificate is a suitable next step for people with at least two years' experience who already hold qualifications from the likes of Microsoft or Cisco, such as the CCNA," he said. "This group could take the five-day course, which has no entry requirements.

"Those already in infrastructure management might consider the three-day course. We strongly recommend that these candidates already hold the Iseb IT service management foundation certificate. They also have to complete an assignment before starting the course." In both cases there is a written exam based on a case study.

The course, run by BCS-accredited training providers, follows the wide-ranging ITIL programme, which includes design and planning, deployment, operations and technical support.

"Achieving the certificate demonstrates that you understand the role infrastructure management has in IT - and that you have the skills required to be a top IT manager," Causer said.

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