The Ultimate ITIL 4 FAQ
In February 2019, AXELOS launched the new version of the global service management framework, toward ITIL 4. ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library) is a framework for service management that originated in the 1980s with the UK government. In the last 30 years, ITIL has grown to become the ‘de facto’ standard for service management at almost every enterprise. Globally leading service providers, such as the Walt Disney Company, Mercantil Bank an Sutter Health, have all implemented ITIL Best Practices.
Read more about ITIL 4: What you need to know about the ITIL 4 Update
Because we have received many questions about the implications of the ITIL update towards technology, training and certifcation, we have composed this ‘Ultimate ITIL 4 FAQ’. In this FAQ, we will answer the most important questions about ITIL 4. The information below is a combination of the information we received from AXELOS, industry experts, as well as our own team of trainers.
We are in a time of unprecedented change, known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ which has created an increasingly fast-paced and complex environment, requiring organizations to be more agile, better equipped to adapt what they do, and ready to adopt new ways of working to succeed. The ITIL 4 framework helps organizations to connect and align these different challenges that are relevant not only to ITSM professionals, but also to a wider range of professionals working in the digital world.
ITIL 4 expands on previous versions of ITIL by providing a practical and flexible basis to support organizations on their journey to the new world of digital transformation. It provides an end-to-end IT/digital operating model for the delivery and operation of tech-enabled products and services. IT teams are enabled to continue to play a crucial role in the wider business strategy.
ITIL 4 supports the existing investment that people and organizations have made in ITIL, as it is an expansion on the existing framework. That investment is protected because ITIL 4 provides a practical and flexible transition that helps organizations adopt the new ways of working of the modern digital world.
You can view the full certification scheme consists of all the modules / examinations that participants can take to become certified. The ITIL 4 Certification scheme is maintained by AXELOS:
The New ITIL 4 certification scheme consists of a number of certifications, which can be summarized in four levels:
- ITIL 4 Foundation. The ITIL 4 Foundation course was launched in February 2019. It replaces the ITIL V3 foundation course in the ITIL certification program. The ITIL 4 Foundation course covers concepts from Lean, Agile, and DevOps, along with ITIL-specific information like the Service Value System and Four Dimension Model. Participant will learn about the fundamental aspects of service management based on the ITIL 4 Framework.
- ITIL 4 Managing Professional. The ITIL 4 Managing Professional certification is a new designation offered by AXELOS following the release of ITIL 4. The modules for this certification were released in late 2019. ITIL practitioners who have obtained ITIL expert certification in the past will be able to obtain this designation by completing the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Module. IT professionals new to ITIL must complete four modules to obtain this designation:
- ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver and Support
- ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
- ITIL 4 Specialist: High Velocity IT
- ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct Plan and Improve
- ITIL 4 Strategic Leader. The ITIL 4 Strategic Leader designation is due for release in the first half of 2020. An IT professional who completes this certification will have demonstrated their understanding of how IT impacts and influences business strategy. There will be two required modules that candidates must complete to earn this ITIL certification:
- ITIL 4 Strategist Direct Plan and Improve
- ITIL 4 Leader Digital and IT Strategy.
- ITIL 4 Master. The ITIL 4 master requirements have not yet been released. AXELOS plans to release more details on the revised requirements for ITIL 4 Master certification toward the end of 2020.
The ITIL 4 certification scheme comprises of the following levels:
- ITIL 4 Foundation
- ITIL 4 Specialist modules (3)
- ITIL 4 Strategist
- ITIL 4 Leader
- ITIL 4 Master
One of the main characteristics of the new ITIL 4 certification scheme is that it is now formed by two different designation streams; ITIL Managing Professional (ITIL MP) and ITIL strategic leader (ITIL SL). They are intended to provide end learners with greater depth of content in key areas of service management and it strategy to support their learning journey and career progression.
The two streams are made up of five modules altogether.
To become an ITIL managing professional (ITIL MP) end learners must complete the following modules:
- ITIL 4 Foundation
- ITIL Specialist: Create, Deliver & Support
- ITIL Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
- ITIL Specialist: High-Velocity IT
- ITIL Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve*
To become an ITIL strategic leader (ITIL SL) end learners must complete the following modules:
- ITIL 4 Foundation
- ITIL Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve*
- ITIL Leader: Digital & IT Strategy
*universal module for both ITIL designation streams.
AXELOS has not mandated training for ITIL Foundation, however candidates are encouraged to partake in training to fully understand the new material.
For all modules in the ITIL Managing Professional and ITIL Strategic Leader streams (including the ITIL Managing Professional transition module) training is mandatory to enable candidates to fully understand the new material.
ITIL Practitioner is not a separate module in the ITIL 4 certification scheme, however, the knowledge and principles from the ITIL practitioner guidance will be fundamental to all modules in ITIL 4. Candidates can also use their ITIL Practitioner credits to continue their ITIL journey. If a candidate has collected 17 credits, they will be eligible to take the ITIL Managing Professional transition module without taking the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam.
The ITIL 4 modules will be released according to the below top-level timelines. More detailed release dates of the modules and new exams will be made available to ATOs with the launch of ITIL 4 Foundation. ATOs will be provided with accreditation details, guidance and sales enablement information in sufficient time to be able to support the release of the further ITIL 4 modules.
- ITIL Foundation – Launched 28 February 2019.
- ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Module – Launched 3 October 2019.
- ITIL 4 Managing Professional Modules (ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver and Support, and ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve) – Launched 8 November 2019
- ITIL 4 Managing Professional Modules (ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value, ITIL 4 Specialist: High Velocity IT) – Launched: 28 February 2020
- ITIL 4 Strategic Leader Module – more information to be released in 2020.
If a candidate has taken only ITIL v3 foundation, then the recommended approach is to take ITIL 4 Foundation in order to be able to transition to the new scheme.
There is a large amount of new material in ITIL 4 Foundation therefore a new single exam is required to assess end learner’s knowledge of the new ITIL 4 Foundation guidance.
Alternatively, end learners also have the option of obtaining 17 credits from the ITIL v3 scheme which would make them eligible to take the ITIL Managing Professional transition module to migrate to the ITIL 4 scheme.
End-learners holding three to four credits beyond foundation have two recommended options to transition to ITIL 4 dependent on what they want to achieve in the scheme.
Option 1: Candidates can take ITIL 4 Foundation and a further module in a preferred area of interest, becoming either an ITIL Specialist, Strategist or Leader.
Option 2: Candidates can work towards collecting 17 credits from ITIL v3 to become eligible to take the ITIL Managing Professional transition module. The benefit of this is that you are eligible to fast track past the v3 Managing Across the Lifecycle course and exam.
If an end learner has achieved six credits or more since v3 Foundation, then it is in their interest to continue collecting v3 credits to prepare them for an easy transition to ITIL 4 and gain the ITIL Managing Professional designation.
They will need to reach 17 credits to be eligible to take the ITIL Managing Professional Transition module. This benefits end-learners as they will then become eligible to fast track past the v3 Managing Across the Lifecycle course and exam.
If an end learner has achieved ITIL v3 Expert, they can take the ITIL Managing Professional Transition module to achieve the ITIL Managing Professional designation.
After achieving the ITIL Managing Professional designation, end learners would only need to complete the ITIL Leader Digital & Strategy module if they are interested in pursuing the ITIL Strategic Leader stream.
Once they have completed both streams they are eligible to move towards ITIL Master. Further details about ITIL Master will be released at a later date.
Due to the structure of ITIL 4 Foundation, there will not be a transition module at the foundation level. There is a large amount of new material in ITIL 4 Foundation therefore a single exam is required to assess end-learner’s knowledge of the new ITIL 4 Foundation guidance.
It is possible for a candidate to use ITIL 4 Foundation to count towards the transition module. The ITIL 4 scheme does not provide any credits but if a candidate has ITIL 4 Foundation then they will only need 15 credits to be eligible to take the transition course.
More information will be released at a later date about the discontinuation of the Managing Professional transition module.
The Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam currently requires end-learners to have gained a total of 17 credits from ITIL Foundation, Intermediate, and/or ITIL Practitioner.
To keep a consistent approach and recognise any previous investment end-learners made in ITIL v3, the same amount of credits will be required for those wishing to transition from v3 to ITIL 4 via the ITIL Managing Professional transition module.
Having gained the required credits from ITIL v3, end-learners will be able to take the ITIL Managing Professional transition module without needing to take the MALC exam.
The transition is a gradual process, allowing end learners to continue collecting their ITIL v3 Intermediate credits to enable transition to ITIL Managing Professional.
ITIL v3 modules will continue to be supported for at least a year after the ITIL 4 Managing Professional modules are released. Therefore, the earliest AXELOS will discontinue Intermediate and Practitioner v3 modules will be a year after the final ITIL 4 Managing Professional module is released.
V2 Managers cannot bridge from v2 to 4. They would need to take the bridge to become an ITIL Expert. Then they would be eligible to take the Managing Professional Transition module before it is discontinued, which will be at least one year after the full release of ITIL MP.
Whilst ITIL 4 retains many of the core elements of ITIL v3, and much of the existing guidance will be recognizable in parts of ITIL 4, there are no direct like-for-like modules between the two certification schemes.
The context of ITIL, with the release of ITIL 4 is now much bigger, with an emphasis on the business and technology world, how it works today, and how it will work in the future with Agile, DevOps and digital transformation.
Lifecycle to Service Value System
ITIL has evolved beyond the delivery of services to providing end-to-end value delivery. ITIL 4 is now centred around a service value system (SVS).
The central element of the SVS is the Service Value Chain, an operating model which outlines the key activities required to respond to demand and facilitate value creation. Sequences of these activities are known as value streams, of which the v3 Service Lifecycle is one such example.
Processes to practices
ITIL 4 refers to practices, where previous versions had referred to processes. A practice is a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective. Thus, practices comprise not just processes and procedures, but also people, skills, partners and suppliers, information, tools, and so on. There are 34 practices in ITIL 4.
The ITIL guiding principles, first introduced in ITIL Practitioner, are at the core of ITIL 4.
The ITIL guiding 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
- Optimize and automate
To support a holistic approach to service management, ITIL also defines four dimensions that collectively are critical to the effective and efficient facilitation of value for customers and other stakeholders in the form of products and services. The four dimensions represent perspectives which are relevant to the whole Service Value System.
Other ways of working
ITIL 4 will reflect other frameworks and integrate with new ways of working including Agile, DevOps, Lean, IT governance and Leadership.
Many of the ITIL 4 lead architect team are closely involved with ISO 20000 so AXELOS are able to ensure that ITIL 4 maps across the standard to an adequate level.
The ITIL Maturity Model is an important asset for many professionals and will need to align to the updated ITIL framework. Information regarding release will be provided in due course.
You should receive a separate certificate for each exam you pass for ITIL 4, and another certificate when you reach a designation level (Managing Professional or Strategic Leader).