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FAQ: Why ITIL 4 is Critical to Service Management in the Digital Age

Oct. 02, 2018
Global Knowledge

ITIL® 4 reflects new ways of working that have accompanied the digital revolution. Service Management, and ITIL in particular, is still an important toolset but you are now integrating its adoption and use with a vast array of new ways of working (DevOps, Agile, SIAM, Site Reliability Engineering). Since ITIL v3 was released in 2006, a large number of new and updated technologies (Cloud, Serverless Computing, Software-Defined Networking, AI, etc.) have emerged that now need managing. ITIL 4 reflects these changes. Below are some frequently asked questions about ITIL 4, as well as answers that explain what it entails, why we need it and how it differs from ITIL v3.

For a more personal view, check out the latest blog from ITIL Expert Barry Corless.


Q: When is ITIL 4 going to be released?
A: The first ITIL 4 Foundation exam will be delivered on Feb. 28, 2019. The advanced levels are on target for late summer 2019.

Q: If I have taken v3 Foundation, should I take ITIL 4 Foundation?
A: If you want to continue ITIL 4 education, you must sit for ITIL 4 Foundation. Global Knowledge will have classroom, virtual, on-demand and blended delivery formats available.

Q: Should I stop my v3 track and wait for ITIL 4?
A: No. ITIL v3 qualifications will still have some standing in the ITIL 4 scheme. Many of the subject areas appear in both ITIL v3 and ITIL 4 so if you need the skills now, get them now. You wouldn’t wait for the new model of a car if you needed to drive somewhere today, would you?

Q: Should my organization switch straight to ITIL 4?
A: ITIL 4 is the latest version. So it makes sense to take that as soon as it is available in 2019. If your organization has never seen ITIL or considered it before, then ITIL 4 is a natural starting point. However, if your organization has invested heavily in ITIL v3, it’s a different story. You’re using ITIL v3 language, you’re structured with ITIL v3 processes in place, and you might have governance, tools and workflows built around the ITIL v3 service lifecycle. Going with ITIL 4 might be like introducing modern day “U.S. English” to an organization that is speaking “Ye Olde 17th Century English” perfectly! They can understand each other but the propensity for miscommunication, lack of clarity, disillusionment and apathy increases. That is amplified if the ITIL 4 students are junior to their ITIL v3 trained superiors! That can be truly dangerous.

In this case, my advice is get your IT service management strategists to look at ITIL 4. Decide whether the changes justify the risk of swapping straight over or utilizing a more measured approach. Indeed, come up with a plan for their continuing education. ITIL 4 looks interesting and I’ve been getting extremely positive feedback from customer sessions so far.

Q: So what does the scheme look like?
A: Far more streamlined! There are two tracks. One leads to a Certified ITIL Managing Professional designation with a more tactical and operational focus. The other leads to a Certified ITIL Strategic Leader qualification with the name giving you a clue about its focus.


Figure 1 


Q: I see there is a common module between the streams. Do I need to take it twice?
A: Thankfully, no. It looks like that module will draw on much of the outstanding material in the current ITIL Practitioner qualification.

Q: Is there a shorter Foundation bridging exam like we had from ITIL v2 to ITIL v3?
A: No. Everybody will take the same foundation exam. However, previous ITIL knowledge will be recognized in the route that Global Knowledge suggests for you to get the best preparation to assimilate the new material and sit for ITIL 4 Foundation. We will have a more condensed foundation bridging course that will lead to the same ITIL foundation exam.  

Q: What is the ITIL Managing Professional Transition course?
A: That is designed for current ITIL Experts or those people with 17 points in the v3 scheme (e.g. those ready to take Managing Across the Lifecycle - MALC)

Q: I have 17 credits and am eligible for the Managing Professional (MP) Transition. Is there training for that exam?
A: Yes. We hope the course will be available mid-2019 onwards.

Q: I am an ITIL v3 Expert. Where do I begin in ITIL 4?
A: Obviously the ITIL Managing Professional Bridge is the “go-to” for you. However, it depends on your job role, aspirations, etc. Join our webinar in February, ITIL 4: The Changes, What’s New and How it Impacts You.

Q: When can I begin to take ITIL 4 further qualifications?
A: We hope during summer 2019.

Q: Do the ITIL 4 further qualifications align with v3 Intermediates? If so, how?
A: There will be some overlap as many of the disciplines are still quite valid. Much more will be known when the ITIL 4 syllabuses are finalized in December 2018.

Q: Is there a correlation between the Capability and Lifecycle modules when compared to the Managing Professional (MP) and Strategic Leader (SL) streams?
A: Not really. The Managing Professional and Strategic Leader designations give you an idea of the focus. The syllabuses will be released to training organizations in early 2019.

Q: Will I acquire credits in ITIL 4 as I did in ITIL v3?
A: No. Just pass the exams in each track to achieve the designation of Certified ITIL Managing Professional or Certified ITIL Strategic Leader.

Q: What are the new course durations?
A: This is still being decided. Axelos is not stipulating a number of days, just a number of contact hours. The length of course will typically be based on the format you choose with self-paced and flexible options available.


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ITIL® 4 Foundation Bridge

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If you have any questions for ITIL expert Barry Corless, please email them to