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ITIL4 Or ITIL V3 Foundation

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ITIL V3 Foundation or ITIL 4 Foundation… What’s the difference?

I’ve been asked a number of times now “what is the difference between ITIL V3 and ITIL4 and what Foundation course should I take, or should I even consider VeriSM”.

Don't let anyone kid you, there's a big difference between ITIL V3 and ITIL® 4 Foundation. There are some concept and terminology changes plus a big change of focus away from the process detail towards the concept of a service value system with less emphasis on teaching you about process. Don’t get me wrong processes are still vitally important but it’s just not covered as much at the Foundation level.

Okay there are a number of ways to look at it, and a number of considerations.

  • If your organisation has already invested in ITIL V3 training and it is still implementing V3 guidance and sees a benefit in it then they continue with it. From what we understand ITIL V3 Foundation courses should still be available until June 2020.
  • If your organisation has implemented ITIL V3 and is either looking to move forward with an agile approach to service management of embarking on a digital transformation programme then look at ITIL4. Maybe do a pilot and send a trusted member of staff on an ITIL4 course to ‘test the water’.
  • If your organisation has not previously invested in ITIL v3 then why not start with ITIL4… However you may miss some of the basics like process activities that need implementing.

To be honest you’ve never had so much choice in Service Management training, but with limited training budgets you need to consider where you should invest your hard earned cash.

Let’s start with the basics

  • ITIL V3 – This has been the ‘sheep dip’ of IT Service Management for the last 11 years. Heavily focused on the IT Service Lifecycle (Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation and CSI), documents some (26) processes and 4 functional areas. It evolved from V2 which focused on 10 processes and the Service Desk function. A good starter for most organisations with legacy systems and processes.
  • ITIL4 - The latest in a long line of ‘Best Practice’ guidance for Service Management. The key focus is on the co-creation of ‘stakeholder value’ through the creation of value chains underpinned by (7) guiding principles, various (34) practices (Practices comprising of people, process, technologies and a lot more), (4) dimensions and a raft of new concepts. Further 'Best Practice' guidance will no doubt emerge as AXELOS develops the intermediate and advanced levels documentation and training, scheduled for release in Q4 2019.
  • VeriSM – Standing for Value-driven, Evolving, Responsive, Integrated Service Management was originally thought to be a competitor to ITIL4. In reality it’s pitched at a slightly different audience, namely those involved in Digital Transformation across the organisation. It’s more business focused looking at service provision and customer value from an integrated business perspective. One of its key features is the ‘Management Mesh’ which pulls together existing management practices, technologies, environment, resources and emerging technologies. VeriSM is seen by some as overarching the new ITIL4 guidance.

Decisions, decisions…

So as someone interested in Service Management how do you decide which training is most appropriate for you and you team? Well it depends on where you currently are…

  • If you are still struggling with some of the basic service management processes then ITIL V3 training will give you the building blocks required to get in control, plan and improve your support and delivery functions. Some single process workshops may also help focus attention. We are led to believe that accredited ITIL V3 training/exams will still be available until June 2020.
  • If you are working at an operational or tactical level with good processes but are under pressure to become more agile and integrate with a DevOps or LEAN approach then a mix of ITILv3 and ITIL4 training may be your best option.
  • If you are working at a tactical or strategic level and you are embarking on a programme of digital transformation and looking to develop an operational model then ITIL4 and VeriSM are most applicable. VeriSM is currently more completely documented.

ITIL 4’s approach is much different to ITIL V3…

IF you have decided that ITIL is your chosen framework of choice then remember that ITIL4 builds on ITIL V3 ‘Best Practice’, and it is NOT just a minor upgrade, it is a significantly different approach aligned to the latest Agile, LEAN and DevOps thinking.

ITILv3 is primarily a Service Lifecycle framework underpinned by 26 processes and 4 functions.

ITIL4 is a value-chain-system approach underpinned by 34 Practices.

It’s true that some of the ITIL V3 processes and ITIL4 practices have the same names and some concepts remain the same, but there is a lot that is new in ITIL4 and a lot of process detail that is omitted at Foundation level.

So what’s covered in the two versions of ITIL at a Foundation course level?

ITIL V3 Foundation
ITIL4 Foundation
An ITIL Lifecycle
Service Strategy
Service Design
Service Transition
Service Operation
Continual Service Improvement

A Service Value System Approach

26 Processes
Covers 19 at Foundation
Covers 4 in detail

34 Practices (People, Process & Technology)
Cover 15 practices at Foundation
Cover 7 in detail
Functions now incorporated in some of the Practices

4 Functions
(Service Desk
Operational Management
Application Management
Technical Management

The 4 P's of Service Design
4 Dimensions (evolved from the 4 P’s of Service Design in ITIL V3)
An adopt & adapt approach
7 guiding principles (aligned to agile principles and evolved from the 9 guiding principles from ITIL V3 Practitioner)

Okay can we mix and match ITIL v3 and ITIL4 training?

Let’s put it this way… If you were to send half of your staff on an ITIL V3 Foundation course and half of them on an ITIL4 Foundation course, they would some back speaking two slightly different languages with different dialects. They could converse but maybe not always fully understand what each other was trying to convey... Is that something you and your organisation can accept?

The best of both worlds…

In an ideal world where training budget wasn’t an issue then send them all on an ITIL® V3 Foundation and then a while later an ITIL® 4 Foundation Bridge course… But is that something you can afford?

I hope this has explained what’s currently on offer… And only represents my own opinion. At the end of the day it’s your training budget...spend it wisely.

If you would like to discuss the best training option for you and your team call or email us for a no obligation discussion/quote.

About The Author

Steve Lawless

Steve Lawless

I've worked in IT for over forty years and spent the last twenty in training and consultancy roles. Since starting Purple Griffon in 2002 I've taught over three thousand individuals in a variety of subjects. I hold qualifications in all four versions of ITIL®, ITAM, UX, BRM, SLM, SIAM, VeriSM, and AI, and co-authored the BCS AI Foundation book. Outside of work, I enjoy skiing (or rather falling over at high speed), reading, science and technology, and spending time with my loved ones.

Tel: +44 (0)1539 736 828

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