What is ITIL® V3?

30th Jan, 2024
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    What is ITIL® V3?

    Lack of standardized practices in the IT sector created a discordant environment for services, as their efficiency was considerably low and error rates were high as compared to current standards. These irregularities prompted the UK government to envision a set of guidelines for every IT Service organization to follow. These guidelines, it was hoped, would help not only government organizations but private ones as well.

    Therefore, in the 1980s, the UK government, in a bid to increase efficiency and standardize IT processes, created a framework with libraries from around the globe. These multiple libraries were concentrated into seven volumes in ITIL® V2 and eventually five volumes in ITIL® V3. Each volume/certification focuses on a specific part of ITSM.

    What is ITIL® V3?

    ITIL® V3 focuses on business needs and calibrates the services according to them. Its other main purpose is also to continuously improve the services while reducing the costs at the same time. Due to ITIL® V3’s ability to smoothly combine business expertise with IT processes, which maximizes customer satisfaction, it is adding value to millions of people and businesses around the world.

    Its principal purpose is to enable IT professionals to be business service partners as well. It aims to, therefore, combine the business aspect of ITSM - by catering to business and customer requirements - with the professional expertise of the IT industry.

    Brought to the public arena in 2007, ITIL® V3 was upgraded and relaunched in 2011 by AXELOS - in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Cabinet Office and Capita PLC as 2011 ITIL® V3. This version included strategic elements which aligned the modern ITSM processes to current business needs.

    There are three major ITIL® V3 Fundamentals which we will discuss now.

    Three major ITIL Fundamentals

    • ITIL® V3 Incident Management: It is not unusual that services get disrupted within an organization, but what’s essential is to protect productivity when it happens. ITIL® V3 Incident management is a process which lays down the best set of practices in the industry to effectively handle an incident without much downtime and also ensuring smooth business productivity.
    • ITIL® V3 Change Management: Existing solutions/applications need to be upgraded to keep up with modern technological advancements as well as business needs. It, therefore, becomes essential that such changes do not directly or indirectly affect productivity. ITIL® V3 Change Management focuses on avoiding downtimes by handling, prioritizing, and rolling out the required changes.
    • ITIL® V3 Problem Management: Many times, we start getting similar kind of incidents. This is the indication to club all of them into a single problem. The problem aims to provide an RCA (Root cause analysis) of the issue and until then, to also provide a workaround. ITIL® V3 Problem Management helps in managing such problems and avoiding major issues. It also maintains a Known Error Database (KEDB) whose solution is unknown.

    ITIL® exams

    ITIL® V3 contains five sections as part of the IT service lifecycle, and each section includes multiple processes. ITIL® offers flexibility to an organization in the form of freedom to adopt any or all of the processes from a particular section. ITIL® is a collection of e-books. Its examinations were earlier administered by EXIN and ISEB, both of which are independent bodies. Both of these bodies gave their certification according to your location.

    The two independent bodies formed an alliance during late 2006 to further ITSM. Currently, all exams and certificates are being administered by Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs). These accreditations are themselves administered by Strategic Examination Institutes. These, in turn, need to be accredited directly by AXELOS which enables them to offer certification to the ATOs.

    Benefits of implementing ITIL® in an organization

    Benefits of implementing ITIL

    ITIL® powers a well-run IT organization that not only works efficiently but also keeps optimizing the services regularly to provide greater customer experience. Some of the key benefits of implementing ITIL® in an IT organization as well as businesses are as follows:

    • Cost-effective run
    • Increased efficiency and productivity
    • Increased customer satisfaction
    • Provision of comprehensive guidance and standards to follow.
    • Lesser downtime during a service disruption
    • Minimal service disruptions
    • Easily manageable incidents
    • An easily scaling and changing environment.

    Some of the examples of accessible services and applications designed with ITIL® and ITSM are:

    • Samanage
    • InvGate Service Desk
    • ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
    • Vision HelpDesk

    Giants like Disney and Sony are prime examples of how one can manage services within a big organization. Learners can easily take up these case studies to understand the ground situation in the industry. All in all, ITIL® provides a streamlined framework which helps in managing risks, reducing costs while monitoring day to day activities, and finally improvising the course through learning.

    What are the five sections of the ITIL® V3 Framework?

    The ITIL® Framework has five sections which have evolved over time to reflect the needs of the business and the IT environment. Briefly, this evolution can be described as under:

    • The first release of ITIL®, released by the UK government to standardize the IT standards, boasted of multiple volumes collected from professionals worldwide.
    • The second release of ITIL® V2 consisted of 7 volumes which concentrated all past volumes of IT basic operations.
    • ITIL® V3 is more focused on the business side of the industry along with other aspects as well.

    ITIL® V3, hence, comprises of five sections which cover all aspects of ITSM. These sections further include multiple processes which the organizations implement according to their needs.

    five sections of the ITIL® V3 Framework

    • Service Strategy
    • Service Design
    • Service Transition
    • Service Operation
    • Continual Service Improvement

    These five sections cover the lifecycle of service in ITSM. We will discuss each section one by one to get a clear understanding of what each section contributes towards the lifecycle.

    • Service Strategy: As ITIL® V3 is focused more on the business aspect of ITSM, this section is dedicated to catering to the business cases. It checks on the defined business goals and their new requirements. It further develops a strategy which helps provide a service the business needs in a cost-effective and efficient way.
    • Service Design: After the requirements are gathered from the business, this section helps in implementing those requirements in the form of architecture, processes, policies, and documentation. It fulfils its role by providing comprehensive guidance.
    • Service Transition: Changes in technology and business needs are inevitable, which is why it is imperative that such changes, when they are deployed, do not hinder or disrupt the ongoing services. This stage, therefore, looks after the transition stage of service. When a service is transitioning into the business environment, this section provides guidance and processes activities.  
    • Service Operation: This section is more pertaining to the customer. It ensures that every business meets its customer expectations or requirements. It focuses on processes and delivery activities to ensure smooth working of daily operational tasks by monitoring given services.
    • Continual Service Improvement: As the name suggests, this section is for the improvement of services. Based on its learning, which it receives through past services’ failures/successes, it introduces changes to the existing services.

    Roles in this space, of ITIL® and ITSM, can be elaborated as under:

    Roles in ITIL

    What is ITIL® V3 credit system?

    ITIL® V3 credit system

    ITIL® V3 has a credit system which awards recognition through certificate-based examination. There are multiple certifications and with each one, you accumulate credits.

    You can enhance your reputation in the IT industry by rising through the ranks of ITIL® certifications which is awarded on a credit-basis exam. Credits are required to be eligible for higher certifications.

    The ITIL® V4 modules vary slightly from the ITIL® V3 structure and will be released during 2019, with Foundation being made available in February 2019. Modules, including the ITIL® Specialist module, the ITIL® Strategist and the ITIL® Leader will be released in the latter half of 2019.  

    Post the ITIL® V4 Foundation level; the candidate can choose to pursue either the ITIL® Managing Professional (ITIL® MP) or ITIL® Strategic Leader (ITIL® SL). End-learners must complete both - the ITIL® MP and ITIL® SL - to be eligible to certify as an ITIL® Master.

    To be certified as an ITIL® Managing Professional, the candidate must complete the following modules:

    • ITIL® V4 Foundation
    • ITIL® Specialist: Create, Deliver & Support
    • ITIL® Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
    • ITIL® Specialist: High-Velocity IT
    • ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve

    To be certified as an ITIL® SL, candidates must complete the following modules:

    • ITIL® 4 Foundation
    • ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve
    • ITIL® Leader: Digital and IT Strategy

    The ITIL® Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve is a universal module for both the ITIL® streams. This is followed by the MALC i.e.  Managing Across the Lifecycle, ITIL® Expert, and then the ITIL® Master, all of which are advanced levels to ensure the candidate attains the ITIL® certification.

    Some important pointers of ITIL® V4 are as under:

    • Start with the ITIL 4 Foundation certification which fetches you two credits and its corresponding Foundation certificate.
    • For each specialization after Foundation, until MALC, you will be awarded three or four credits depending upon the certification. ITIL® Practitioner certification fetches you three credits while covering the whole spectrum of the best practices.
    • ITIL® Practitioner can be taken either immediately after Foundation or after before MALC and after completion of rest of the certifications.
    • Before Managing across the Lifecycle (MALC), you can gather 17 credits in any order you prefer.
    • To advance to ITIL® Expert level, you’d need a total of 22 credits including an ITIL® Practitioner certification and then MALC.

    It is important to note that the ITIL® system uses a credit system right from the Foundation level through the Expert levels with each certification amounting to a certain number of credits. The following chart illustrates the current ITIL® credit system:

    Sr. NoLevel of ITIL® certificationNo. of credits awarded
    1ITIL® Foundation2
    2ITIL® Practitioner3
    3ITIL® IntermediateLifecycle ModuleService Strategy3
    Service Design3
    Service Transition3
    Service Operation3
    Continual Service Improvement3
    Capability ModuleOperational Support and Analysis4
    Planning, Protection, and Optimization4
    Release, Control, and Validation4
    Service Offerings and Agreements4
    4Managing across the lifecycle5
    5ITIL® Expert

    What are the ITIL® V3 services and processes?

    As part of the lifecycle of ITIL® V3 services, five sections are defined and each of them plays a key role in the service’s life. These five sections contain multiple processes, which in turn, are adopted by the companies or organisations into their teams.

    Starting from the planning, according to the business needs, to the improvement or the eventual retiring of a service, ITIL® V3 covers all stages of ITSM. Due to the coverage it provides, it has become an essential part of ITSM.

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    There are millions of ITIL® V3 professionals around the globe

    It is up to an organisation as to which processes of a section it may want to select and what not. This property of ITIL® makes it flexible for implementation purposes.

    The five sections in a lifecycle of an ITIL® V3 service are:

    • Service Strategy: It strategizes how to create a service that caters to the needs of a business. Processes included under Service Strategy are:
    • Service Design: All the infrastructure, technology, processes, and policies of service along with other things are designed in this section with the help of the following processes:
      • Service Catalog Management
      • Service Level Management
      • Availability Management
      • Capacity Management
      • IT Service Continuity Management
      • Information Security Management
      • Supplier Management      
    • Service Transition: All the changes introduced in the services are needed to be smooth and non-disrupting to productivity. This section covers that with the help of the following processes:
      • Transition Planning and Support
      • Change Management
      • Service Asset and Configuration Management
      • Release and Deployment Management
      • Service Validation and Testing
      • Evaluation
      • Knowledge Management
    • Service Operation: This section ensures the smooth running of daily operational tasks and checks whether the business is meeting customer requirements or not. It accomplishes this task with the help of the following processes:
      • Event Management
      • Incident Management
      • Request Fulfillment
      • Problem Management
      • Access Management      
    • Continual Service Improvement: To continuously improve the efficiency of the services through learning from past services, this section employs the following processes:

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    Difference between ITIL® V2 & ITIL® V3

    With the introduction of ITIL® V3, AXELOS aimed to focus more on the business needs of the industry, instead of just concentrating all resources on the basic IT operations - which ITIL® V2 did. The ITIL® V2 contained the following disciplines:

    We can conclude from the above disciplines that the sole aim of ITIL® V2 was to support basic IT processes. ITIL® V3, on the other hand, extends this support to the whole lifecycle of a service and more importantly, catering to the needs of the business and customers.

    Besides these, ITIL® V3 has other major differences and upgrades from ITIL® V2 which we have compiled and shown in the table below:

    ITIL® V2ITIL® V3
    Majorly process-orientedFocused on the complete lifecycle of service in ITSM (including business needs)
    Has seven volumesHas five volumes
    Efficient and cost-effective processesStrategic emphasis is given along with efficiency and cost-effectiveness to the process
    A singular function was divided into ten processes25 processes categorised suitably under four functions
    No clear assignment of roles in processesRoles and responsibilities are clearly defined for each process
    Focused on “what” perspective - “what can be done and why”Aimed at the “how” approach - how it can be done
    Includes 700 pages of publicationsIncludes 1400 pages of its five key publications
    Focuses on the theoretical part of the business in ITSMFocuses on the practical aspect and aligns much better with the needs of modern business

    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan


    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan is a highly skilled corporate trainer, consultant, and content developer with expertise in a wide range of areas including ITIL 4, PRINCE2, Agile/Scrum, PMP, DevOps, and soft skills. With a passion for delivering exceptional training experiences, Manikandan offers a comprehensive suite of training services covering service management, project management, business simulations, and more. With over 20+ years of experience, he has successfully facilitated numerous programs, including business communications, emotional intelligence, team building, and organizational change management. Manikandan's dedication to empowering individuals and organizations shines through his motivational talks and impactful training sessions.

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