ITIL Version 3 changes everything for ATOs and consulting firms.

We have spoken at length on this blog about the unseemly commercialisation of ITIL. Many firms feed at the trough right now, but the IT Skeptic predicts the trough is about to get higher and harder to reach.

ITIL V3 drags the big picture back to the centre instead of conveniently marginalising it as in V2. Now ITIL implementation is business strategy and process implementation. What do any of the ITIL service providers know about

  • business value networks
  • governance of outsourcers
  • reorganising the business with IT as an integral part
  • feedback systems
  • pricing models

This is really going to open the ITIL market up the consulting giants that have been sniffing at it for some time. It is no accident that one author is from Accenture.

Especially in large, complex organisations, emptors should caveat: purchasers should check closely the references and qualifications of consulting providers. They need to bring pure business consulting to the table to play in large ITIL Version 3 implementations. I put it to you that all but one or two of the current ITIL consulting firms, including the big software vendors, can’t.

Secondly, ITIL Foundations training has already become commoditised. People do it over the web. The market has discovered that anyone with a few brains and a bit of self-motivation can pass without paying for expensive training. The entire training market is fiercely competitive - I would say verging on over-supply – and Version 3 is not going to help matters, despite the fervent hopes of the industry.

Sure there will be a feeding frenzy of “bridging” training, but then the party may be over. Not only will the broadening of ITIL bring more big players into the market (see above), but there is the little matter of the Advanced layer.

I predict the Advanced training, yet to be specified, will be designed for delivery by “real” training institutions: universities and colleges. It is only a matter of time before some offer a Batchelor of Service Management. Then all the existing V3 diploma qualifications (the old Manager’s and Practitioner’s) will be offered as year one papers, only with more prestige.

So ATOs and ITIL consulting firms better eat up now while the trough is still low enough for them to reach it.


Dumbing down ITIL exams

From a comment on LinkedIn by John Oxley who has done ITIL V3 Expert via the ITIL V2 Manager (still the fastest and cheapest path folks!)

The V3 Expert exam was fairly easy.
The V2 Manager Certificate was tough.

Pass rates for V2 Service Manager declining

Agree, V2 Service Manager is tough (6 hours handwritten 5 question essay exam graded on a rubric. Scuttlebutt I get is that pass rates have been going down. So while V2 through Service Manager Bridge might be cheapest/fastest, it's not without it's own challenges.


Being ITIL V3 Expert is proof of NOT understanding ITSM

APMG exams are a test of remembering details. EXIN did a better job, to become a Service Manager one has to understand some basic things of ITSM. Anybody studying for Expert should have seen the numerous errors and quit before even starting the class.

OGC should terminate their contract with APM Group, more about that in my article at ITSM Portal


bachelor of ITSM

Dear Skeptic,
spot on - once again. Although it may take quite some time to get there. In the Netherlands we've already seen several bachelor and higher curriculae for IT Service Management since a couple of years.
Over 5 years ago, "the IT service manager" was acknowledged as one of the 5 graduation profiles of bachelor level schools. And since two years we have an advanced level on ITSM at a regular edicational institute. We alo have universities and spin-offs teach on Master levels.
In 2005 I've set up a forum for academic and bachelor level instructors to discuss the development of these ITSM curriculae. This group currently covers higher schools, universities and other kinds of institutes from NL, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, UK, USA, Korea, France, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal and South Africa, indicating the global interest in this. There's not much happening in the group, indicating that most are still at the beginning of their learning curve. But for sure: some already have the bachelor level in ITSM as a regular item in their program, and others already work on master levels. And this is not restricted to NL...

To illustrate the developments in NL education, I'll quote from the group:
**************************** start quote *********
There are two types of higher education in the Netherlands. The universities prepare students for independent scientific and scholarly work in an academic or professional setting. The hogescholen are universities of applied sciences that prepare students for a wide variety of careers in seven sectors agriculture, engineering and technology, economics and business administration, health care, education/teacher training, social welfare, and fine and performing arts. This type of higher education is known in Dutch as HBO (hoger beroepsonderwijs). At present there are 13 universities in the Netherlands and 59 universities of applied sciences.

The differences between the universities of applied sciences and the traditional universities have become less marked in the course of time. Nevertheless, a number of differences remain. Universities of applied sciences offer four-year programmes, leading to a Bachelor's degree, which are strongly geared towards practical training. The programmes focus on specific occupations and include traineeships or work placements that provide students with practical work experience. Universities of applied sciences also offer an increasing number of programmes that lead to a Master's degree.

In September 2002, the Bachelor/Master degree structure was officially introduced in Dutch higher education. The new degree structure is the result of the decision of the European ministers of education, made in Bologna in 1999. The aim is to harmonize the various degree systems that exist across Europe by introducing a system of higher education consisting of two cycles (undergraduate and graduate). The undergraduate cycle leads to a Bachelor's degree; the graduate cycle leads to a Master's degree. All students who have successfully completed an undergraduate degree programme at a university of applied sciences after 1 September 2002 will be allowed to use the title of Bachelor.

All degree programmes will have to be accredited. For this purpose, a national accreditation body has been created.
************************end of quote**********************

ITIL tertiary qualifications in America

and it's happening now in the USA. No surprises it is at Carnegie Mellon, given that the prof is one of the authors of ITIL3 Service Strategy, but I'll bet there are other examples readers can come up with.

The struggle for dominance of the Diploma will be a fascinating battle to watch between the tertiary institutions and the traditional ITIL training providers.

My job just got harder

Very intriguing course. The fact that it is taught by an ITIL author makes it even more alluring. How often do you get to carefully learn a product from someone directly involved with it's creation? I'd love the chance to sit in but, alas, my university days are long over. Maybe in another life.

I had the privilege of meeting several of the authors during the road show stop in Sydney, including the two strategy authors. I was highly impressed with both. It was no mystery why they were selected as authors.

I've been consulting ITSM/ITIL for nearly a decade. When I cornered the pair during a break in the session, I challenged them with a few questions and concerns about some of the strategy material. I thought I was quite clever and half expected thin replies. Their responses instead left me feeling as if I was a rank amateur.

I wonder what the impact of a course like this will be on the next generation of ITSM consultants. I worry my job just got harder.

Very clever strategy

A contact of mine near the publisher mentioned that both Harvard and LSE were inquiring into adding the SS book into their respective programmes. It appears OGC has found another recurring revenue stream.

Over the ATOs' dead bodies!

Over the ATOs' dead bodies!

As I said above, there will be a battle royal between the ATOs and the universities over the Diploma-level certifications. And if the universities win, then I for one wouldn't be going to an ATO for the Foundation and practitioner papers either, I'd be doing 100 and 200 level papers at varsity.

Not just a western initiative

Even Universities in Thailand are heavily engaged in the science of IT services:

Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology of Thammasat University, Chulalongkorn University, Silpakorn University, Rangsit University, Rattana Bundit University, Mahanakorn University of Technology, Sripatum University, and Asian Institute of Technology, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA).

Check out for more info.

the bar just got lifted

As I said in the Sheep from the Goats, the bar just got lifted. Actually I talked more about the greater breadth of knowledge required as strategy and busines aligment comes to prominence, but the expectation for theoeretical underpinning and rigourous thought is also higher with V3 I feel.


As I cross-searched for ITIL and CMU, this paper surfaced:

My first reaction was the joy of discovering a gem. Then I became greatly annoyed. This paper is three years old. Why doesn't this kind of advanced thinking make its way into the itSMF conferences? Why are we banging on about "what is best practice" or "pragmatic ITIL training" when these sorts of advanced methods are taking place under our noses. The writer was likely a 23-year old kid whom I doubt ever sat for a foundation course.

I don't know whether to be angry, embarrassed or just spit. But I have come to realize we have much too many smug experts in this community.

we'll see all kinds of alternatives

This kind of program is indeed kind of a commodity in the Netherlands, you can find it at many universities. Just have a look at to see the programs of one of the academic institutes that specializes in senior IT management courses. And if I look at the CMU programs, I expect the CMU courses to be rather theoretical compared to the Dutch ones - if they make 'significant references to the Service Strategy volume of ITIL Best Practices in Service Managemente', I hold my breath..... Now, it's always good to have a solid theoretical background, but I doubt whether just that will "provide students a 'sense for services' that will give them an edge at the workplace", as CMU claims.
The interesting thing in the Netherlands is that there has been considerable progress in teaching at just one level below the university. That's where 'the real thing' is tought and practiced. Students that have gone through this kind of practical program may be much more qualified to be good service managers than academic students.

I am a graduate of that CMU

I am a graduate of that CMU program and hold ITSM certifications. I completely disagree with your “vocational over academic” logic. You imply that service managers have more in common with carburetor mechanics than engineers. It is this “pragmatic” philosophy that ensures service managers are indeed treated as devoid of the ability to see deeply, imaginatively or unconventionally.

Academic theory and practice are not separate spheres in true pragmatism. One of the fathers of pragmatism, John Dewey, explained it is not theory versus practice but rather of intelligent practice versus uninformed, stupid practice. Learning is not doing. Learning is reflecting on doing. Or as the poet T. S. Eliot wrote, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

ITSM experts all too often prescribe one kind of solution for every situation. Who goes to a doctor who prescribes one kind of pill? An intelligent practitioner is a powerful tool but no practitioner can be better than the conceptual frameworks he or she uses. This is true pragmatism. This is the “edge” CMU gave me that I’ve yet to find in ITSM vocational programs. With all due respect to executive education from Delft, I cannot see how you can call the CMU program a commodity.


Carnegie-Mellon’s reputation reaches all the way here to Singapore. It is viewed as one of the top ten schools on the planet for technology-related topics. It has a singular reputation for producing ideas (some at the Nobel prize level) that are very practical in business and IT. Not to mention the birthplace of CERT, CMMI and emoticons. ;-)

I concur. A comparison of CMU graduate degrees to an executive education program is misguided. If CMU is acknowledging ITSM and ITIL, not to mention getting into the ITSM pedagogy game, this is very positive for the legitimacy of the ITSM profession. I remember a similar turn of events for the profession of Computer Science.

Another good example is MBA

Another good example is MBA. remember when no university would be seen as a "business college"? Well, actually most of you will not be old enough to remember, but there was a time when. Then universities became profit centres, and around the same time they saw the money being made by the pioneering few, of whom I believe CMU was one. The rest as they say is history...

wrong... not everything changes...

Why is everyone banging on about the commercial aspects of this refresh?'s been commercial for years.

The itSMF charge people to attend sessions and conferences and made a mint from vendor sponsorships and registrations at annual seminars, for years - all on the back of ITIL.

The big players (Accenture, etc.) will still promote their frameworks as the same as or better than ITIL, it's been like that for years. The IT Manager will still like the idea of controlling his own destiny, by telling everyone to follow what is laid down in ITIL - even if it's more "complex" than before.

And I predict that you're wrong about the training being designed for delivery by Uni's/colleges, etc ! (yes, I work for a company that provides training).

I really hope I'm right.

I really hope I'm right. it is high time the IT industry in general and ITIL in particular had some robust qualifications beyond some facile multi-choice at the end of a few days lecturing labelled as training. Oh wait, that's what they've turned the Manager's into isn't it? I had a lot of respect for the fact that the old Manager's exam was one of the few real exams in the industry. Now we've dumbed it down to the illiteracy levels of the new market: the USA.

So if they dumb the Advanced down too that would be tragic. On the other hand, what am I thinking? No way are Pink and Fox and HP and others going to let them hand it over to universities, for reasons described above.

Guess we'll have a half-baked Advanced too.... sigh.

back to your original point...

it's a commercial world out there !!

So, you have to be a big firm to be a consultant, heh?

I'm not exactly sure that Peter Drucker would have agreed.

Accenture, IBM Global Services, BE, et. al. just bring a horde of inexperienced youngsters.

ITIL v3 Foundations relevant?

I think organizations will quickly arrive to the conclusion that it does not make sense to send staff to ITIL v3 Foundations. Most of it will be to high level that they will not be able to link that to their current work. Operational IT staff will not be interested in most of ITIL v3... which means a lot less ITIL Foundation courses. Not a bad thing based on the fact that too many people in organizations are spending money on ITIL Foundation training (instead of targeted training) without understanding the value.
This will create a need for non-certification workshops that are focused on the needs of organizations and I agree with you on this, the management consulting firms can add some real value. Not a bad thing...

Peter Lijnse

ITIL v3 Foundations relevant?

I think that companies will still send staff to ITIL foundations training, either classrooms or web-based, since the majority of the ITIL v2 foundation course will still be part of the ITIL v3 foundation course. Of course you are not going to train the average IT-staff in Service Strategy, but you´ll still have them trained in the basics.
There is no such thing as an ITIL v3 foundation, you will only see ITIL foundation training. The current foundation v2 training is already replaced.

ITIL v3 Relevance...everything old is new again

I have finished a first read through and like the V3 content. But I must confess to some confusion. Having read and used the original library in 1999 - 2000, then the V2 versions over the last 8 years.....I don't see much difference between the library of books and how we advised clients to use it as a framework.

An upgrade in language, reformat to the service management lifecycle, okay. But I learned most of these concepts in Understanding and Improving, and Managing in times of radical change.

If you used the whole library in the past, the new library is an evolution of a concept. But if you thought ITIL was just Service Support and Service Delivery, then you are having a paradigm shift.

Relevance is conditional on need, the only significant change I see for V3 is an educational and training focus on testing and proving expertise for all the content. Until now, V1 and V2 narrowed the focus to what was needed in daily support and operations. That is what the market desired....
The question I have still, does anyone out there see a driving business case or desire for the Strategic elements.

One last point, from everything I have read in the V3 books to date, my job as a consultant just got easier, the templates and examples serve as a foundation for making tanglible change in organizations. I am with the skeptic, I like the books, just not sure if everyone is going to read and use them all.

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