ITIL Certification – Levels of ITIL Certification and Its Benefits

by Elina D

ITIL® is a framework that allows the information technology (IT) department to create value for business customers in the form of services. The ITIL® certification is a globally recognized IT service management certification, distributed by Axelos.

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ITIL and ITSM Certification, ITIL V3 certification

Benefits of ITIL Certification

ITIL’s history goes back to the UK in the late 1980s. Most ITIL certifications are v3, which had two versions, with “2011” the latest. ITIL v3 represented a significant mindset shift, moving IT’s focus from focusing on its business.

ITIL v3 certifications

ITIL v3 introduced the “Service Lifecycle.” This Lifecycle placed processes into Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations, and Continual Service Improvement.

Service Strategy enabled the IT organization to strategize how to create the services that the business customers want and need. Service Design encompassed processes – including the four “warranty processes (Availability, Capacity, Security, and Continuity) – which need to be designed into all new or changed services. Service Transition may be the most difficult for most organizations.

These processes help organizations deploy changes in a methodical manner that provides the most significant throughput with the most negligible business impact. This is the area where most organizations struggle. Quality transitions minimize the need for re-work and service outages. Service Operations is purely an operations mindset focused on service uptime.

The supporting processes seek to prevent service interruptions and restore services as soon as possible. Continual Service Improvement (CSI) helps each of the functions and services improve the end-product IT delivers to its business stakeholders.

Various Levels of Certification in ITIL V3

ITIL v3 certifications range from Foundation to Intermediate to Expert, and even Master. The Foundation is a general overview that allows the consumer to have a broad understanding of the framework. Each Intermediate certification is based on a phase of the Service Lifecycle, and each provides more depth in a specific area. The Expert certification is available for those that pass the “Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC)” class. To sit for the MALC class, one must have passed the Foundation and each Intermediate course.

ITIL 4 certification

In early 2019, a new ITIL – ITIL4 – was released. In ITIL4, the 36 processes are now called “practices,” and 34 are named in the latest edition. Much of these practices will look eerily similar to the v3 methods. Also, the framework moved from the Service Lifecycle to the Service Value Chain. The ITIL4 certifications are ITIL Foundation, ITIL Specialist (three varieties), ITIL Strategist, and ITIL Leader. The ITIL Expert certification for ITIL v3 is now called ITIL Managing Professional.

ITIL4 incorporates many factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) as value is created and an organization leverages its products and services to create value. The focus of ITIL4 is the “Guiding Principles.” These seven principles are easy to understand and allow an organization to develop a roadmap for maturity. These principles are: Focus on value, Start where you are, Progress iteratively with feedback, Collaborate and promote visibility, Think and work holistically, Keep it simple and practical, and Optimize and automate.

These are seven of the top things on the minds of IT service providers. Let’s think about it from a maturity viewpoint. Always focus on creating value for business customers. Next, whatever your current maturity level, starting there and developing a plan is a way to baseline future improvements. Progressing iteratively with feedback incorporates Lean and Agile principles while encouraging feedback from all stakeholders. Collaborating moves IT away from the typical silos. The same goes for thinking and working holistically. Viewing things from a big-picture perspective is the best way to satisfy business requirements.

Keeping initiatives and practices simple and practical is a great way to gain adoption. Lastly, most IT organizations were looking for ways to optimize and automate work while staying true to the ITIL principles. This guiding principle allows for governance and innovation.

ITIL v3 certifications expire in 2020 in the sense that holders of those certifications will not be able to matriculate toward the Expert after that date. Holders of Foundation and Expert certifications will be able to “bridge” to the ITIL4 version. In the future, all should expect updates in shorter, regular intervals, especially compared to v3, considering it was introduced in 2007 and updated in 2011.

Benefits of having ITIL certification

The ability of an IT organization and its people to view its product as services, measure these services, and be continually aligned with the business adds tremendous value.  Having everyone on the same page, speaking a common language, and working toward the same goal adds tremendous value, especially with most organizations undergoing digital transformation.

In the FORBES Insights: State of ITSM 2017 report, ITIL’s value was apparent as 88% of IT executive respondents stated that ITSM is important to their digital transformation efforts.  While undergoing organizational change, having this commonality allows standardized, measurable outcomes.

Even at the Foundation level, the ITIL certification provides a common way to look at IT.  The value created for the organization is two-fold: All IT professionals see their work as it relates to support services offered to the business customers, AND it offers a common language, including metrics.  The IT personnel’s benefit is that most organizations utilize the ITIL framework, so the certification is relatable and transferrable.

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