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What is ITIL® Version 3?

N.M. Shanley
N.M. Shanley

Information Technology Information Library (ITIL®) Version 3 is a set of best practices for Information Technology (IT) managers and professionals. The goals of using ITIL® Version 3 are to better manage workflow, raise service levels, save money and save time. ITIL® Version 3, also known as ITIL® V3, was introduced in May 2007.

Since technology and business needs change over time, ITIL® courses and training materials are updated as well. The result is different versions of ITIL® best practices. ITIL® Version 3 focuses on a lifecycle approach to service management and the importance of IT’s integration with all other areas of a company.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

ITIL® V3 introduced a new four-tiered system of certification for ITIL® practitioners. Students earn credits upon passing exams for different modules throughout these levels. The levels include the Foundation Level, the Intermediate Level, ITIL® Expert and ITIL® Master.

For IT professionals who started the certification process under the previous version, ITIL® Version 2, bridge courses are available at the beginner and intermediate levels. These courses allow candidates to continue the certification process without starting over at the beginning of the Version 3 curriculum. Additionally, some Version 2 credits can be used to reach the newer ITIL® Expert level, which was introduced with V3.

As of August 2009, ITIL® V2 credit holders had the option of continuing with V2 courses if they did not want to change to V3 courses. ITIL® notes that V2 could be withdrawn at any time. Generally, six months notice would be given prior to the discontinuation of V2. Even after discontinuation, V2 credits would not expire immediately. Students could still take the bridge courses to update their studies and be able to continue with the ITIL® V3 coursework.

In addition to certification, ITIL® developed a smooth workplace transition plan from V2 to V3. As IT staff and managers are trained and certified, V3 can be rolled out in different stages at each company. To further help companies implement Version 3, a new ITIL® software certification was also introduced.

Developers who create software that is compliant with ITIL® Version 3 can apply to have the software evaluated. If approved, the software vendor may receive one of three levels of certification. These levels are bronze, silver, and gold. The certification level that is awarded depends on a number of factors including, if the software has been purchased, if it is in use, and if proof of its use can be provided. Information on how to apply for software certification is available on the official ITIL® website.

ITIL® Version 3 includes a complete restructuring of service management best practices compared to Version 2. Companies will have to make an investment in time and money to complete this transition to V3. ITIL® Version 2 was developed in 2000 and had an eight-year lifespan. Due to updates in technology during that time, companies may find that rolling out the newer Version 3 can save more money and effort over the long term.

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