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What Is ITIL® 4? And Why Should You Care?

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We are in the digital age and it is flourishing well...

IT has become a mission-critical service delivery mechanism for companies that rely on complex computing resources to keep their businesses operating and generating revenue.

So, it is natural to expect organisations to hire the best in terms of knowledge and skills.

If you're looking to break into the IT industry, the ITIL® 4 Foundation certificate is the best place to start.

But, what is ITIL 4 all about? And why should you even care?

ITIL® VS IT Service Management

ITIL® newbies tend to get confused between IT Service Management (ITSM) and ITIL® - let's get this straight before you read more about ITIL®.

ITSM: ITSM is an acronym for Information Technology Service Management, it’s simply how you manage the information systems that create and deliver value to customers.

ITIL®: ITIL®, formerly known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library is the most recognised and used framework for ITSM.

Got it? Good! Next time someone brings up one of these acronyms, you'll look real smart.

The Origins Of ITIL®

ITIL® began in the 1980s as a collection of good practices for better managing IT organisations and serving IT customers. Now, it has grown into a body of knowledge that, with more than two million IT professionals certified in ITIL®, is used by more than 90% of Fortune 500 organisations around the World.

With the rapid pace of change in emerging technologies and customer needs, ITIL® also continues to evolve. A recent AXELOS research program found “ITIL® is becoming more and more important to enable Cloud and Big Data strategies.”

Why Is ITIL® So Successful?

For a while after its origins in the 1980s, ITIL® was the best-kept secret in the UK IT sector; however, the framework has become the recognised approach for 'enterprise' service management excellence.

The main reason for its widespread adoption is that it is based on a practical approach to service management, utilising what works in real organisations. The guiding principle behind the framework is to ensure that all efforts have a common goal: to deliver IT services that support the requirements of the business by delivering value to the organisation.

ITIL® enables organisations to:

✔️ Deliver value to its customers
✔️ Measure, monitor and optimise IT services
✔️ Manage IT investment and budget
✔️ Manage risk
✔️ Manage capabilities and resources
✔️ Adoption of a standard approach to Service Management
✔️ Change organisational culture across the organisation
✔️ Improve relationship with customers
✔️ Co-ordinate delivery of services across the value network
✔️ Optimise and reduce costs

ITIL® is also:


ITIL® practices are applicable in any IT organisation, technology platform or industry type.


ITIL® offers robust, mature and time-tested practices applicable to all types of service organisations.

Best Practice

ITIL® represents the learning experiences and thought leadership of the world’s best-in-class service providers. ITIL® embraces a practical approach to service management – do what works.

How Can ITIL® Certification Help You?

You might have questions worth pondering, such as “Is the ITIL® certification even worth it?” So let’s look at why you need to obtain ITIL® certification in this day and age. You will undoubtedly gain so much by being certified.

Here are some ways ITIL® can help you in the corporate World:

✔️ It helps create stronger connections between business and IT.
✔️ It greatly reduces overall costs of the organisation by improving resource utilisation.
✔️ It helps to better manage disruptions in services and helps to evaluate and manage business risks.
✔️ Gives a greater visibility of costs incurred for IT assets.
✔️ Improves delivery of IT services which leads to greater customer satisfaction.

Above all, you may be asking “Are ITIL® certifications in demand?” The answer to this question is, yes. It is something which seems to be continuously growing as IT systems are getting more robust and complex in this day and age. It makes organisations search for individuals who can better analyse the risks of the business and setup systems which link and protects the entire business.

Since its inception, ITIL® has been widely adopted as the leading framework for ITSM. As a result, millions of IT practitioners have invested time and money in ITIL® certification programs, intending to enhance their career prospects by understanding more about how to drive business value through best practices in IT.

Below, we highlight three key benefits associated with ITIL® certification:

1. Understanding The ITIL® Framework & Processes

The ITIL® Framework and processes were designed as a set of best practices for IT Service Management. ITIL® 4 shifts the focus of ITIL® away from Service Management as an end in and of itself and toward the concept of value co-creation and the transformation of demand into value through effective ITSM practices. IT professionals that work through ITIL®'s certification program obtain a deep knowledge of these practices that can be used to drive business excellence in enterprise IT environments.

2. Alignment With Global IT Service Management Standards

The ITIL® Framework is aligned with a range of international quality standards, including ISO/IEC 20000 global standard for IT Service Management systems. The global reach of the ITIL® Framework and its alignment with other leading standards means that certified ITIL® professionals can apply their skills to a versatile range of businesses and industries, even those that exist in foreign countries. Thousands of organisations around the world that have adopted the ITIL® Framework and invested in ITIL® software tools to support its processes.

3. Certified Professionals Are Desirable Employees

In a 2015 study, 93% of employers indicated that it was difficult to find appropriately qualified IT professionals to fill job vacancies. The same study assessed the importance of IT certifications within the hiring process for IT professionals and found that:

  • 72% of employers surveyed required IT certifications for specific job openings.
  • 67% of employers believed that candidates with IT certifications were more likely to work hard to achieve a goal.
  • 60% of employers used certifications as evidence of subject matter expertise.

Employees job-appropriate certifications are more confident, reliable, and knowledgeable; become proficient in their roles more quickly following the initial hire; and perform their jobs more effectively. It becomes clear that ITIL®-certified professionals are attractive job candidates for IT roles.

"The person with the certification is the one that is going to get hired.” - Robert Blanchard, Director of Support Services Aspen Skiing Services Co.

Who Needs To Be ITIL® Certified?

ITIL® is suitable if you intend to follow a career in IT or if you are already in the IT field. The ITIL® 4 Foundation examination does not have any pre-requisites and anyone can attend the ITIL® 4 Foundation training course to sit the exam. You could be an IT Consultant, IT Manager, Web Developer or even a Business Manager and become certified in ITIL®. ITIL® is definitely going to give you a career boost.

How Valuable Is An ITIL® Certification?

ITIL® certifications have a huge amount of value and both practitioners and organisations can depend on it. Some of the salary ranges for individuals with ITIL® certifications include;

ITIL® Foundation – £25,000 to £55,000
➡ ITIL® Expert – £30,000 to £65,000

Instead of treating ITIL® like a chore, you should see it as a valuable tool, as well as an opportunity. With so many businesses investing in IT Service Management, ITIL® certifications can open up a variety of avenues and provide you with the experience you need to advance your career.

How We Got Here: From ITIL® V2 To ITIL® 4

ITIL® V2 and ITIL® V3 have certain subtle differences among them...

First of all ITIL® V3 introduced a decisive shift towards a service driven lifestyle and guiding principles that are prescriptive in nature.

While ITIL® V2 focused on the service produced by the organisation, the process of producing and individuals who are using it, ITIL® V3 focused on the partner also which is included in the project.

ITIL® V2 also had a process oriented approach whereas ITIL® V3 had the lifecycle-based approach.

There are 10 processes (5 in Service Delivery and 5 in Service Support and 2 functions in ITIL® V2 and in ITIL® V3 there are 26 processes and 4 functions.

ITIL® V3 introduced the concept of the IT Service Management Lifecycle along with five phases:

✦ ITIL® Service Strategy
✦ ITIL® Service Design
✦ ITIL® Service Transition
✦ ITIL® Service Operation
✦ ITIL® Continual Service Improvement

And publications were also released for each of the five IT Service Management Lifecycle phases.

ITIL® V3 also introduced 15 additional processes organised according to these five phases, which were frequently used by IT organisations at the time to help provide IT services to customers. These additional processes included the following:

➡ Strategy Management For IT Services
➡ Service Portfolio Management
➡ Demand Management
➡ Business Relationship Management
➡ Design Coordination
➡ Service Catalog Management
➡ Security Management
➡ Supplier Management
➡ Transition Planning & Support
➡ Service Validation & Testing
➡ Change Evaluation
➡ Knowledge Management
➡ Event Management
➡ Access Management
➡ Request Fulfillment

ITIL® V3 also included details around additional teams or functions that support the work done as part of IT Operations, including Technical Management, Applications Management, and IT Operations Management, which included sub-teams for IT Operations Control and Facilities Management.

ITIL® 4 parallels the Fourth Industrial Revolution which ushers in an era of digital transformation, using new technologies and new ways of working to fundamentally recast relationships with customers and blend physical and digital technologies to gain tremendous operational efficiencies. For digital organisations, the IT Department is more important than ever. In fact, in fully digitalised organisations, there is little to no separation between IT and “the business.”

ITIL® 4 teaches organisations to leverage IT more effectively. Likewise, it helps IT prepare to not only support the business, but to partner with it and help drive executive decision-making. In other words, ITIL® 4 raises the stakes for IT; it provides an opportunity for IT to level up.

The ITIL® 4 certification scheme consists of four levels:

1. ITIL® 4 Foundation

The ITIL® 4 Foundation training course replaces the ITIL® V3 Foundation training course in the ITIL® certification program. The newly revised ITIL® 4 Foundation training course covers concepts from Lean, Agile, and DevOps, along with ITIL® specific information like the seven guiding principles and four dimensions of ITIL® Based Service Management. You will also learn how to facilitate the co-creation of value through the development of customer-focused IT products and services.

2. ITIL® 4 Managing Professional

The ITIL® 4 Managing Professional certification is a new designation offered by AXELOS following the release of ITIL® 4. IT professionals new to ITIL® must complete four modules to obtain this designation:

ITIL® 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver & Support
ITIL® 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
ITIL® 4 Specialist: High Velocity IT
ITIL® 4 Strategist: Direct Plan & Improve

3. ITIL® 4 Strategic Leader

The ITIL® 4 Strategic Leader designation was released 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 you must complete to earn this ITIL® certification:

ITIL® 4 Strategist: Direct Plan & Improve
ITIL® 4 Leader Digital & IT Strategy

4. ITIL® 4 Master

The ITIL® 4 Master requirements have not yet been released. AXELOS plan to release more details on the revised requirements for ITIL® 4 Master certification soon.

How To Transition To ITIL® 4

How To Transition To ITIL® 4
  • Some Challenges IT Organisations Face Today
  • Focus on outputs not outcomes, leading to unhappy customers
  • Driven to be faster, with higher quality and user experience
  • Existing dogmatic, or “by-the-book”, approaches – not limited to ITSM
  • Increased focus on product (software) not services, in turn leading to “cargo-culting” of Agile & DevOps practices
  • Friction from legacy systems and ways of workingCulture clash with enterprise governance and risk management

What Do Modern IT Organisations Need?

✔️ Adopt new operating models
✔️ Have a role in shaping business decisions & strategy – be more than the “order-taker”
✔️ Be more stakeholder centric

Enter ITIL® 4 - New Architecture & Models

Enter ITIL® 4 - New Architecture & Models


ITIL® 4 is an evolution of ITIL® V3 concepts, not a replacement. The good practices from previous versions of ITIL® are still valid; however, the ITIL® 4 publications have been updated to include additional modern practices and approaches for delivering valuable products and services to customers.

But, what are the key differences between ITIL® V3 and ITIL® 4?

Top Level Changes:

  • Co-creation of Value – Emphasises the need for communication and collaboration between provider and consumer
  • Guiding Principles – Enables organisations to encourage service culture
  • Continual Improvement – Applies to the whole organisation, not just processes
  • Service Value Chain – Operating model NOT organisational model

Shift To Practices:

  • 4 Dimensions – Service Management is more than just processes
  • Decoupled from Service Value Chain – No more “Incident Management is just for operations”
  • Practice + Value Streams = “Minimum Viable Service Management”

(Click here if you might be interested in our incident management training).

ITIL® 4 Key Concepts

➡ Service Value System (SVS): Facilitate value co-creation via a SVS and provide end-to-end value for your service relationships
➡ Service Value Chain (SVC): A set of interconnected activities that provide an operating model for the creation, delivery, and continual improvement of services
➡ Guiding Principles: Are at the core of ITIL® 4 and helps professionals to adopt and adapt for their own specific needs and circumstances
ITIL® Practices: Are a fundamental part of the ITIL® 4 Framework and provide a holistic vision for way of working (it’s more than just the processes!)
➡ Four Dimensions: Represent perspectives which are relevant to the whole SVS, and are critical to the effective and efficient facilitation of value for customers and other stakeholders.

Is The ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification Worth It?

In today’s digital and highly disruptive world, organisations must change how they work in order to remain relevant in their industries and to their customers. That’s where ITIL® 4 can help. The new version of ITIL® includes a wealth of information on how the most successful organisations are working, along with details on emerging technologies such as AI, Robotic Process Automation, BlockChain and Machine Learning.

The obvious first step is to attend a ITIL® 4 Foundation training course and determine the training needs of your staff. You will soon learn that the real benefit of ITIL® 4 though is putting it into practice in the real world, in your own organisation.

When it comes down to it, ITIL® certifications can help you win a job offer or drive your career forward. ITIL®'s widespread implementation and status as an internationally recognised and widely adopted framework mean that certified ITIL® Practitioners with the appropriate IT experience are needed and valued around the world.

At the same time, it's up to you to maximize the value of your IT certification program by obtaining the necessary skills and experience that complement your certification. Without the ability to manage IT Service Management effectively in enterprise IT environments, an ITIL® certificate is just a piece of paper.

About The Author

Lois McConnachie

Lois McConnachie

I have been working at Purple Griffon for a total of 8 years. In my role as Senior Sales Executive, I always strive to deliver a high standard of customer service, which forms the basis of all of my interactions with customers, both old and new. I believe that fostering positive relationships and understanding customer needs are essential for providing effective training solutions. In my personal time, I enjoy relaxing with my Fiancé, drinking iced coffee and watching too much anime.

Tel: +44 (0)1539 736 828

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