Most enterprises and their service providers find it difficult to manage IT services within a business. ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) was created to solve this problem. It offers a management framework and process guidance that has become a popularly accepted standard. ITIL is used by several organizations, including IBM, NASA, and HSBC to standardize IT Management procedures.
Thus, many IT professionals have been trained and certified as ITIL experts according to the recent ITIL certification stats published by EXIN.
If you are new to ITIL, learning it may look difficult. It can be a bit dry. However, this guide simplifies the ITIL concepts and makes it easy for you to understand.
Let’s get started.
ITIL: Overview and History
Basics ITIL terminologies and concepts
Benefits of adopting the ITIL framework
ITIL: Where to start
ITIL Implementation Roadmap
How to embrace ITIL as an organization
The Future of ITIL
ITIL certification Guide: Overview and career paths
Benefits of ITIL to organizations/businesses
What is ITIL certification and is it worth it?
Levels of ITIL Certification
Why do you need to attend ITIL training to take the exam?
Who should take ITIL Certification?
ITIL related jobs and careers
ITIL is coined from two root words - Information Technology (IT) and Infrastructure Library (IL). ITIL emerged in response to the need for the best practices and procedures in IT Service Management. The focus of ITIL is to keep IT Services aligned with the business needs of the organization. ITIL, therefore, is a group of documents that provide the best practice framework for building Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) solutions in the organizations.
The ITIL Framework was developed in the 1980s as a governmental initiative. It was developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunication Agency (CCTA) - an arm of the British Government in response to the poor and substandard quality of IT services rendered to the government.
Prior to the development of ITIL, different private and public players in IT Service Management (ITSM) created and used a different framework. This resulted in duplication of efforts, an increase in cost, along with unnecessary and diverse complexity in establishing the IT Infrastructure. ITIL, therefore, is a response to standardize IT Infrastructures Service Delivery Management.
The initial version of ITIL was originally called Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management (GITIM). Though GITIM differed from the current ITIL framework, the concept was similar in both, as it focused on service support and delivery.
The first version - ITIL v1, encompassed a broad-based framework of 30-volumes in IT ecosystem. The focus was on the clients and business needs from the perspective of a customer.
There was a major change to ITIL v1 between 2000-2001, giving rise to ITIL v2. The focus of ITIL v2 was to make ITIL more accessible and less intimidating. The 30 volumes frameworks in ITIL v1 were rearranged into 9 sets of logical and related elements. In 2006, ITIL Glossary was released thus enhancing the user-friendliness of ITIL v2.
The third version - ITIL v3 was published in 2007. It adopted a life cycle approach to service management - a highly organized compact framework of 26 processes. ITIL v3 is now commonly referred to as ITIL 2007 edition.
The current edition of ITIL was launched in July 2011. It was launched in five different volumes:
In 2013, AXELOS Ltd - a joint venture between the British Government’s HM Cabinet Office and Capita Plc. became the owner of ITIL. AXELOS now acts as a licensing authority, accreditation provider to the testing institutes, and is also responsible for managing the updates.
AXELOS announced in 2017 that a new ITIL is being developed for 2018.
It is not an easy path for organizations to adopt customer focused and service-oriented approach in IT Service Management. There must be a change in the mindset to achieve such a cultural shift. There are nine (9) Guiding Principles from ITIL Best Practices.
ITIL Service Strategy posits that ‘the value of a service comes from what it enables someone to do’. As defined by the Customer, Value is an achievement of the objectives and an affordable mix of fixtures. Service Value could be in the form of reduced pain, reduced cost, increased productivity and better competitiveness.
Services must be designed based on user needs and experience. This is critical to service success.
The goal of this principle is to encourage businesses to approach change gradually. It is not about ripping off the old and starting from scratch. ‘Start Where You Are’ is about building gradually on what you have. For instance, build on successful practices and replicate if possible. If you have nothing to build on, then start from scratch.
No service components standalone. In order to not to jeopardize the results delivered to the customers, the service provider must work holistically on all the aspects of service delivery and not just on parts. To achieve this, Service providers must consider People, Process, Products, and Partners.
Service Providers cannot accomplish everything at once. It is imperative to organize tasks into smaller, manageable sections. Every desired improvement must have a focused objective and scope. This will enhance the effective and efficient completion of such tasks.
It is important to know and measure what is going on through direct observation and not rely on data alone. Direct observation will reduce or eliminate unfounded assumptions. Business information and decisions based on poor monitoring, measuring and reporting could elicit bad behavior from the staff. Never substitute data for direct observation.
Transparency creates awareness about what is happening and why it is happening. More people help to make the things happen than obstructing them when there is transparency. Be honest with your teams and customers. Achievement must be communicated and celebrated together.
Collaborating individuals will yield better results than when individuals work separately. Through collaboration, people share concepts, ideas and can support one another.
Discard any process, service or action that does not produce a useful outcome. Use the least number of steps or procedure to accomplish an objective. Complex work methods neither maximizes the outcome nor minimizes the cost.
It is good to automate a process to not only reduce the manual efforts also eliminate human errors.
The ITIL Frameworks are built around these Service Concepts:
The following are the basic terminologies within the ITIL framework:
ITIL: Set of the best practices that must be adhered to Infrastructure service providers in IT Service Management.
Service: Rendering and delivering the desired results to the customers while working within the given constraints.
Service Strategy: A careful plan by the service provider to outperform competitive alternatives over time and through instances of change in leadership
Service Model: This is a description of service delivery and its components.
Service Portfolio: A description of services rendered and service delivery components.
Customer Portfolio: A record of all the customers of the IT service provider is kept in a Customer Portfolio.
Operational Level Agreement (OLA): An agreement between the IT service provider and a different part of the same organization.
SACM: Service Assets and Configuration Management is done to ensure up-to-date maintenance and verification of assets.
Incident: Any disruption in IT service delivery process
Problem: An unknown cause of one or multiple incidents
The current edition of ITIL is divided into five components or categories. It takes a holistic or lifecycle approach to provide the best practice in IT Service Management (ITSM). These are the core components of ITIL:
ITIL Service Strategy
ITIL Service Design
ITIL Service Transition
ITIL Service Operation
ITIL Continual Service Improvement
This is the first stage of ITIL Lifecycles. In order to improve service management in a service providing organization, there must be a consistent service strategy. The service strategy must be in agreement with the business objectives of the customer and in addition to this managing services within its scope. The warranty at this stage of ITIL lifecycle is to ensure that the strategy is fit for purpose and use.
This is the second stage in ITIL lifecycles. The service design stage provides a guidance on how to turn strategies, generated in the earlier (Service Strategy) stage into action. At this stage, services and processes are designed and plans are implemented for the purpose of better service management.
In service designs, four important areas should be taken into consideration. These are People, Processes, Products, and Partner otherwise known as the "Four Ps of Service Design".
People: Human resources and structures within the organization required to support the service.
Processes: Service Management Processes needs to support the service
Products: Technology and other infrastructures
Partners: A partner could be a third party rendering additional support geared towards the service
This is the third stage of the ITIL lifecycle. The core objective is building and deploying IT Services into a live environment in a coordinated manner. The design is built, tested and moved into the production side, so that the business customer can achieve the desired values. At this stage, IT professionals and business associates learn the importance of managing a change in a productive manner.
This is the fourth stage in ITIL. ITIL service operation cycle involves managing the services and processes that have been transitioned into a live environment. The Management components of ITIL Service Operation stage includes - Event Management, Incident Management, Request Fulfillment, Access Management, Problem Management, IT Operations control, and Facilities Management among others.
This is the fifth and the last stage of ITIL lifecycle. This stage involves a holistic view of earlier stages with the view to check the key performance indicators and determining whether the service is running optimally.
The objective of this stage is to learn from past success and failures using quality management methods. Lessons learned are then utilized to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IT processes.
Using CSI, IT Service organizations can measure and improve on Service levels and Technology. CSI also guarantees that services will grow progressively into more and more profitable services.
Continual Service Improvement involves Service Review, Process Evaluation, CSI initiatives and Monitoring of CSI initiatives.
According to ITIL v3 Glossary, Process is defined as "a structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into the required outputs. A process may include any of the roles and responsibilities, tools and management control required to reliably deliver the outputs. A process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions if they are needed"
There are 26 processes in ITIL. The processes are divided into a group of five under the ITIL lifecycles. For instance, ITIL Service Strategy has four processes.
Strategy Management Process - Involves resolving service failures, fixing problems and regular operational checks to ensure efficiency.
Service Portfolio Management - A service portfolio consists of all the services being managed by a Service Provider. Service Portfolio consists of 3 distinct parts - Service Pipeline, Service Catalog, and Retired Services. Service Portfolio Management oversees the process by which services are identified, described, evaluated and selected.
Financial Management Process (for IT Services) - Provides the platform for managing the costs and other elements of finance. The process involves three key activities: Accounting, Budgeting, and Charging.
Demands Management Process - The demand manager role is to understand and influence customer demand. User Profile and Pattern of Business Activity are models considered in Demand Management.
Service Catalog Management - The management and control of the information regarding different services in the service catalog.
Service Level Management – This is the process of securing and managing agreement between the Customer and the Service Provider. Service level Management is carried out at the Performance and Reliability Levels. Service Management at different levels gave rise to the Service Level Agreements
Availability Management - Ensures that Availability Requirement in the Service Level Agreement is adhered to. 'Availability' is the ability of a system or service to perform its functions when needed.
Capacity Management - Capacity Management is carried out in three basic areas: Business Capacity, Service Capacity, and Component Capacity.
IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) - ITSCM makes sure that the Service Providers can always render the minimum, agreed-upon level of service.
IT Security Management - Involves the Management of Information Assets. It Manages the Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, and Authenticity of Information Assets.
Supplier Management - The goal of this process of management is to ensure value for money from 3rd party suppliers. It is charged with the responsibility to Evaluate suppliers, Negotiate with suppliers, Review suppliers Performance, Renew or Terminate Contract with the Suppliers.
Change Management - The goal is to control the changes at all levels, thereby ensuring that beneficial changes are made with minimal disruption to IT Services.
Change Evaluation - The goal of this process is the assessment of major changes, for instance, the introduction of a new service or a major change to the existing service.
Project Management - This process is essential for planning and coordinating the use of resources.
Application Development - This process deals with the availability of applications and systems required for functionality of IT Services.
Release and Deployment Management - The goal of this process is the planning, scheduling and controlling the movement of releases to the live environment.
Service Validation and Testing - This process ensures that the expectations of the customers are met.
Service Asset and Configuration Management - Maintains information about
Knowledge Management - The process improves Knowledge efficiency thus reducing the need to rediscover knowledge.
Event Management - Involves the monitoring of CIs as well as the services and events categorization.
Incident Management - Manages the lifecycle of all the Incidents. It seeks to return IT services to the users as soon as possible.
Access Management - It grants authorization to the right users of a service. Access Management is also known as Identity or Rights Management.
Problem Management - This Process manages the life cycles of all the problems. Proactive measures are taken to analyze Incident Record in order to identify trends or significant problems.
IT Operations Control - This involves the monitoring and control of IT Services in day-to-day routine tasks.
Facilities Management - This process involves the management of the physical environment of IT Infrastructure.
Technical Management - This process involves the provision of useful technical expertise and support for the management of IT Infrastructure.
Business opportunities are constantly growing and with these opportunities, the challenge of confidentiality and service quality is growing at the same pace. IT Service providing organization are expected to work efficiently in order to meet and exceed service expectations. Hence, there is a need to adopt the ITIL Framework.
The following are some of the benefits that your organization will gain by adopting ITIL.
Every organization is different, also the starting/implementation point for ITIL is different. You may not need every part of ITIL for your organization.
In Implementing ITIL, organizations should give preference to that part of ITIL which identifies the biggest problems of IT employees and Customers. Parts of ITIL that addresses these problems are Incident Management, Change Management, and Request Fulfillment.
Your organization should create a roadmap as an implementation guide. Do not seek to adopt all the component of ITIL at once. Make ITIL adoption a long-term goal. Your roadmap must prioritize the improvement that you desire in your organization.
If your IT staffs are not familiar with ITIL, you should include ITIL education program for all IT staff members. Constantly, refer to your ITIL implementation roadmap to be sure that you are on course.
Before you understand how to adopt ITIL at an organizational level, it is necessary to acquire basic ITIL skills and knowledge as an individual. A comprehensive ITIL® Foundation Certification training program, coupled with industry-relevant course materials can come in handy, especially if you intend to earn credits towards ITIL® expert certification ahead.
Your objectives must be chosen according to the need of the organization. What problem do you want to solve with ITIL? How can you improve the quality of your services to clients?
Some organization adopts ITIL in parts. It is better to embrace all the lifecycle stages of ITIL without neglecting relevant stages.
Embracing ITIL involves a change in organizational behavior. Changes required by embracing ITIL will also encounter resistance from the staff who are used to performing tasks in certain ways. To avoid these bottlenecks, the organization needs to create a sense of urgency around the change required, promote the right vision and strategy, delegate responsibility, create short-term wins (success goals), and create a culture of change.
The last state in ITIL is Continuous Service Improvement, to achieve this, your IT team in the organization must undergo continuous training until it has fully grasped the ITIL framework.
A look at the adoption of ITIL in the United States and Canada shows considerable similarities. However, Canada started earlier than the United States. Companies in North America are adopting ITIL in parts. They are particularly interested in the processes focused on Service Operation and Service Transition.
The introduction of Service Catalog gave ITIL a boost amongst the end-user services.
The current adoption levels in ITIL are the biggest proof of its relevance. AXELOS states that ‘over a million IT professionals in the US rely on ITIL’s best practice guidance to deliver business success […]As a reflection of this, the update will continue to include the widely-adopted core principles of ITIL.’
ITIL Is looking forward to a few major changes in the new update. According to Peter Hepworth from AXELOS, ITIL v4 will shift its focus on:
ITIL v4, an update to the current edition is due to be released in the 1st quarter of 2019. There will also be a sufficient crossover period between the current version and the new update in order to minimize the impact of day-to-day operations.
ITIL is a leading framework for managing IT service delivery globally. ITIL consists of a lifecycle model that recommends specific processes and activities during the design, development, and delivery of IT Services.
Since July 2013, AXELOS Ltd - a joint venture between the British Government's HM Cabinet Office and Capita Plc. took ownership of ITIL. This is responsible for developing the ITIL frameworks; accrediting training and examination institutes. There are hundreds of ITIL Accredited Training Organization (ATO) worldwide.
ITIL has five (5) different certifications. These are
ITIL uses a Credit System of Grading for the various level of Certification up till the expert level. You will need a total of 22 Credits to earn the ITIL Expert Certification. There are different requirements to wear the crown of ITIL Master Certification.
The IT industry is dynamic, thus making it difficult to catch up with the trends. Over the years ITIL has been established within the IT Service Management field. A standard framework or the best practices is a major need for IT professionals in IT services and IT Management. ITIL best practices are important in the effective management of businesses. Organizations now require ITIL Certified professionals to scale up in the industry.
These are some of the benefits of being an ITIL certified professional
ITIL Certification is viewed as a standard benchmark of quality for IT professionals globally. IT Service Providers and Employers recognize the ITIL brand and any professional certified by ITIL. ITIL qualification is worth the effort and will help you in your career development.
ITIL has a name or term for most of the processes and activities in the IT World. There are professionals using IT service management processes without a clear understanding of the processes or terminologies.
Through ITIL training and Certification, you will learn the common language/terms in IT Service Management. This, in turn, facilitates better communication with other professionals.
The success of entities in IT Services is strongly tied to its personnel. Personnel with appropriate competencies, skills, and experience will thrive better in the industry. ITIL training will help you to gain more confidence, competence, and will improve service delivery to customers.
ITIL training will stretch your mind. You are trained to be flexible and encouraged to think out of the box - to come up with new creative ways of working to improve customer satisfaction. ITIL training scheme will help you to contribute effectively to the process of IT Service delivery.
As expected of any good certification, ITIL will enhance your job prospect. Organizations are finding a smarter way to demonstrate value in the workplace. With ITIL, you will be able to contribute constructively and effectively in the ITIL Service Management processes.
In addition to the benefits enumerated earlier, there are other benefits of ITIL lifecycles as it relates to an organization.
ITIL Service Strategy will help your organization to understand the customers and develop and deliver IT Services that meet their expectation. Your organization will have satisfied customers.
Through ITIL Service Design, your organization will be able to design an efficient and cost-effective service.
ITIL Service Transition will advise and guide your organization on building and testing the service designs.
Another benefit of ITIL to your organization is that it will be equipped to deliver and manage any service.
ITIL CSI will furnish your organization with the mechanism for constant service improvement.
ITIL certification is a modular approach to the ITIL framework. It consists of a series of different qualifications with a focus on different aspect of ITIL best practices. The degree and depth of details vary at the various level of certification.
Holding a professional IT Certification in a competitive marketplace is a great advantage over those that are not certified. ITIL is the standard benchmark in IT practices. ITIL Certification convinces a prospective employer that you have an understanding of the ITIL framework, how it fits together and its application in a business environment.
ITIL Certification also entails that you have been trained in the five major areas that drive the IT Lifecycle.
There are five distinct levels of ITIL Certification - Foundation, Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert, and Master.
ITIL Foundation is the basic in ITIL certifications. It covers the basics of ITIL practice areas. It is the entry level that offers a general awareness, concepts, and terminologies within the ITIL lifecycles.
It is designed for those who require a basic understanding of the ITIL framework. Foundation certification will be helpful to those who need an understanding of how to use ITIL to enhance IT Service Management.
There are no prerequisites for this level of certification. Anyone who is interested in IT Service Management can apply. However, you will need higher certifications before you can qualify for IT Service Management Positions.
Surviving and sustaining in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) project environment as a beginner will no longer be challenging if you utilize the maximum benefits from an expert-authored ITIL® Foundation Certification Training Program.
This is the next level in the ITIL Scheme. Newly introduced, the first examination at this level was conducted in 2016. It was developed to provide a step between the foundation and intermediate level of certifications.
An ITIL Practitioner will be able to explain how to adopt the ITIL Framework to support the business objective while focusing on organizational change management, communications, measurement, and metrics.
This certification can be taken at any level beyond Foundation. This is because the skills covered are not in the existing certifications.
A professional intending to take ITIL Practitioner exam must hold a current ITIL Foundation Certificate. ITIL practitioner is NOT a prerequisite for the ITIL Intermediate Level certification. ITIL Practitioner certification will help you to earn three (3) Credits towards ITIL Expert Certification.
The examination consists of 40 multiple choice questions. You are required to pass 28 i.e. score 70%.
ITIL Intermediate certification is structured as modules and each module focuses on different areas of IT Service Management. You can take as many intermediate qualifications as you need. The modules are either classified as Service Lifecycle or Service Capability
ITIL Intermediate certification can be taken by anyone who has passed the ITIL Foundation exam. It is a recommendation that you should have at least 2 years of professional experience working in IT Service Management before attempting the ITIL Intermediate Certification Exam.
ITIL Expert is an advanced certification. It covers the breadth and depth of ITIL processes and practices across-board ITIL professions. ITIL Expert Certification is aimed at IT Service Professionals who are willing to demonstrate holistic ITIL Scheme knowledge. This certification is awarded only to those candidates who have excelled in a range of ITIL certification and possess superior knowledge and skill in ITIL Best Practices.
There are key requirements before you can qualify for ITIL Expert Certification:
ITIL Expert is a prerequisite to the highest level of ITIL Certification - the ITIL Master.
ITIL Master is the zenith of ITIL Certifications. It demonstrates the application of ITIL framework and best practices in real-life situations. ITIL Master covers all areas of ITIL Principles from Foundation through Expert Level Certifications.
Candidates must explain and justify how they have selected and applied a range of knowledge, principles, and methods from ITIL Management techniques in order to achieve ITIL Master.
In addition, an ITIL Master must:
In a view of the stringent nature, the cost of ITIL Master certification is approximately $40,000. So, this certification needs seriousness and a high-level of dedication.
ITIL training is not compulsory or required before taking the ITIL Foundation Certification Exam. Candidates can source free materials online such as the TSO Foundation pass guide.
Subsequently, ITIL Certification will require mandatory training.
A candidate can take ITIL classroom training for ITIL courses. The training could also be offered in a "virtual classroom". All activities in a virtual classroom will be similar to a live classroom except that training will be done remotely.
There are also online training - e-learning, Computer-based training/ self-paced/ distance learning.
You should research diligently before deciding which type of training is best for you. All the trainings are accredited against the same standards.
In the United Kingdom, delegates lean toward the classroom style of training whereas in the US most of the delegates prefer online training.
You can find Accredited Training Organizations (ATO) here.
ITIL Certification is suitable for Professionals who desire to bring positive changes to their organization.
IT Managers and Directors - A certification in ITIL is a valuable credential for IT Project Managers.
IT Service-support Engineers may never become ITIL Masters but a basic knowledge of the ITIL framework can provide support for the ITIL process.
Other Professionals who could take the ITIL course and Certification to advance in their professions are:
There is more than one way to build a career in IT Industry, this is largely dependent on your experience and expertise. IT is becoming a critical part of most businesses including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Job roles and description varies among employers. Here are some ITIL related jobs and careers.
The valuable contributions of ITIL Framework to business growth and IT professionals' career has established ITIL in the zenith of IT Service Management (ITSM). ITIL adoption and implementation by businesses on the rise as well.
Thus, ITIL Certification is a valuable skill for any IT professional who wants to remain relevant in the IT Service Delivery and Management.
Today is the best day to consider taking an ITIL Certification!
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