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Ten Things They Don't Want You to Know About ITIL v3

Well, fifteen things actually but it didn’t sound as catchy, writes ITSM Watch columnist Rob England.
Jun 23, 2008

Rob England


Some time ago, in response to a fairly inane "10 Things You Should Know About ITIL" on the internet, the IT Skeptic posted “10 Other Things You Should Know About ITIL”. To save you looking they were:


1.      There is no evidence for ITIL

2.      CMDB can't be done, not practically, not as defined in the blue book

3.      ITIL is the opinion of a select few

4.      There is no public feedback or contribution mechanism for ITIL

5.      ITIL may or may not be "best"

6.      You cannot certify a tool or an organisation in ITIL, only individuals

7.      Formal SLAs may or may not be a healthy way to relate to the business

8.      ITIL tries to be more than it really is: a set of Service Desk practices

9.      ITIL is not public domain, or free

10.     There are a number of alternatives to ITIL, some of which are public domain


Continuing the theme, we now have this article. ITIL v3 is only a Refresh. The intention was to clarify the guidance and improve its relevance to business needs today, not to rewrite ITIL. Changing from seven books to five, moving from a process-centric to a service-centric approach, slimming down the core and spinning off content to complementary books, introducing the lifecycle, adding business strategy, peeling off requests from incidents … these things are not a re-write, they are just a "refresh". So, relax.


Your certifications under ITIL v2 will still be recognised under v3. Whether they will be the least bit competitive in the job or consulting markets is another question. Right now the job and consulting markets are booming so it won’t be much of an issue until the market starts to contract. Ooh, no, wait, some people think it already is.


Two bridging courses are available to allow you to migrate your certifications across: The ITIL Foundation Bridging Certificate In It Service Management (ITIL v1/v2 Foundation to ITIL v3 Foundation), and The ITIL Manager’s Bridge Certification In It Service Management (ITIL v1/v2 Manager to ITIL v3 Diploma). The v3 equivalent of an ITIL Manager is an ITIL Diploma, now called an ITIL Expert, and possibly to be renamed again.


All ITIL v3 exams are being developed by APMG, a private for-profit company and the new outsourcers of ITIL certification and trainer accreditation. The governing body advising APMG is mostly made up of the biggest vendors (HP x 2, Pink Elephant, Fox IT, BMC, CA, EMC, IBM, ITpreneurs, Itilics, etc.).


ITIL books are published by TSO, a private for-profit company. TSO does very little marketing, relying on itSMF volunteers and other vendors. In fact the ITIL v3 worldwide launch was organised, executed and funded by itSMF with sponsorship that reputedly did not shave significant contribution from TSO. TSO thanked itSMF by undercutting them in book sales to the biggest global organisations.


The core is supposed to be “slimmed down” from v2 and more will be put in the complementary books that go around the core. The original intent was that everyone will need the five core books. I suspect pretty much everyone will need one or more, but not all, of the complementary books too, though what is in the complementary set is not clear yet.


There will be an online portal at www.itil-live-portal.com (it says so in the Official Introduction on page 150). This may or may not provide the longed-for official ITIL community. It seems to be owned by TSO but there is nothing there yet. No hurry, I guess.


The books came out on May 31 2007. Only the books. Only the core books. We are still waiting for the Web portal, a full qualifications scheme, complementary guidance (other than the online glossary, Passing Your Foundation Exam, the pocket Key Element Guides, and a rewrite of Small-Scale ITIL), or the CMDB Federation’s interoperability standard, so you could argue that ITIL v3 isn’t fully out yet.


There is no process model for v3. It has been suggested at various times that there would be one, but what has been published so far is nothing of the sort. Boxes and arrows do not make a process model. At a minimum one expects that each of the boxes is a process, with defined inputs, actions and outputs. This is not true of the diagram labelled “process model” in the Official Introduction (p154) or the one on the OGC website (which is administered by APMG).


There is no rush. Everyone is getting excited but think about it: complementary books not appearing yet; few are certified in v3 beyond Foundations; nobody experienced in implementing v3 for some time yet.


Microsoft, IBM, marketing, HP, CA

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