What is the ITIL certification and why do you need it?
Find out how to improve your IT infrastructure through this certification
One of the most important IT certifications is ITIL, a collection of best practices for establishing and enhancing an Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) process.
Previously known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library qualification, it was originally published as a collection of books in the 80s before it was incorporated into the AXELOS group of certifications. The primary aim is to help businesses create long-lasting IT infrastructures that can foster growth, scale at pace, and encourage change over time.
This tool also helps organisations meet obligations as set out under the ISO 20000 certification. This ensures the ITSM processes of an organisation meets the operational demands of a business with international best practices.
The latest version of the framework, dubbed ITIL 4, was released in February 2019 and serves as the most significant update to the certification since 2007. This update aimed to keep the programme up-to-date with trends in development and in IT operations, expanding on ITIL 3 by providing more flexibility for supporting businesses as they undergo digital transformation projects.
There are four key aspects to ITIL 4 that need to be considered to ensure a holistic approach to service management. These elements include organisations and people, information and technology, partners and suppliers, as well as value streams and processes.
Why should you use it?
There are several benefits that adopting ITIL can bring to your organisation, but the most significant is the universality of a single platform of support and quality. This ensures it’s easier for both local and international partnering organisation to understand how the business functions.
ITIL can also establish a sense of openness in an internal IT help desk, for example, making it much easier for workers to access the information they need, which saves time and effectively boosts productivity.
Another major benefit is the extent to which it future proofs your business. Using ITIL principles, your IT infrastructure will be able to cope far better with unexpected business growth and system disruption, particularly as the helpdesk will have a vital role in the process.
Who uses ITIL?
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For example, Müller made use of ITIL processes as part of an infrastructure upgrade, creating a bridge between its service desk and the rest of its IT department. The service desk’s key performance indicators (KPIs) exceeded 99% in an average week once the change was made.
At Disney, it was the executive branch that first pushed ITIL down to the rest of the business, as part of an awareness campaign to address several company issues. To initiate change, 250 employees were trained in ITIL Foundation, 50% of which signed up to the official ITIL certification exam.
ITIL v3 certification has a modular approach and is made up of a series of qualifications that cover the best practices in diverse ways.
There are five certification levels: Foundation, Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert, and Master.
This entry level certification aims to give individuals a general awareness of the key elements, concepts, and terminology of the framework. It's aimed at those who need a basic understanding of the ITIL framework or who need to understand how ITIL can be used to enhance IT service management in an organisation, as well as IT professionals who need to be informed about ITIL in their current organisation.
The one-hour exam is made up of 40 multiple choice questions and you need 26 marks out of the 40 (65% correct) to pass. As the name suggests, this module is the one on which the other four are built
Axelos insists that the Practitioner certification not only helps individuals speak the language of ITIL but also to "translate it and use it in practice".
This module can be taken at any stage in the ITIL certification scheme after Foundation and builds on other methodologies and frameworks, like DevOps, Agile, and Lean. It also improves efficiency, productivity, and collaborations between ITSM and the wider business, Axelos claims.
It covers three subjects: Organisational Change Management, Communication, and Measurements and Metrics.
The exam follows the same format as the Foundation test but needs 28 marks to pass (70% correct) and is two hours and 15 minutes long. It's also an open book exam.
This module, which you can take if you have passed the Foundation exam, has two in-depth areas of study: Service Lifecycle and Service Capability.
Service Lifecycle is relevant to people working in a management or team leader role where who need to work across multiple teams. The other part, Service Capability, is for those who want to get specific knowledge in one or more processes, such as operational support and analysis.
For this module, you will not be able to self-study and then take the exams, you must attend Axelos training to complete it.
This module is for candidates who have achieved a "well-rounded, superior knowledge and skills base in ITIL Best Practices".
It's meant to help you advance your career in the IT service management field and you will need to pass it if you expect to take the Master level the highest level of ITIL certification.
To study this module, you need to have earned a minimum of 17 credits from the Foundation and Intermediate modules. You then need to take the "Managing Across the Lifecycle" module too. The pass mark for the exam in this module is 35/50 (70%) and lasts for two hours.
This final level aims to see whether you can apply the principles, methods, and techniques from ITIL in the workplace.
You will have to explain and justify how you used ITIL to achieve the desired business outcome in one or more assignments. There's no prescribed training, but you must have achieved Expert level and worked in IT service management for at least five years in leadership, managerial, or higher management advisory levels.
ITIL 4 certification
ITIL has recently evolved from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4. Those ITIL v3 Foundation qualified candidates are urged to move straight to ITIL 4 Foundation to keep skills updated.
The ITIL 4 scheme has four certification levels:
ITIL 4 Foundation is intended as an intro to ITIL 4 and enables candidates to look at IT service management through an end-to-end operating model for the creation, delivery, and continual improvement of tech-enabled products.
ITIL 4 Managing Professional (MP) stream offers practical and technical understanding about how to run successful IT-enabled services, teams, and workflows. It is intended for IT practitioners working within technology and digital teams across companies.
ITIL 4 Strategic Leader (SL) identifies the value of ITIL, not just for IT operations, but for all digitally enabled services. Becoming an ITIL 4 Strategic Leader demonstrates that candidates have a clear understanding of how IT affects and directs business strategy.
To achieve the ITIL Master certification, candidates must be able to explain and defend how they have personally selected and applied a range of knowledge, principles, methods, and techniques from ITIL and supporting management techniques, to achieve desired business outcomes in one or more practical assignments.
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