ITIL 4: All that you need to know about the latest version

ITIL 4 queries

a) What is ITIL 4?

ITIL 4 release is not a jump from ITIL v3, the transition is from ITIL 2011 version to ITIL 4. Yet ITIL 4 expands on the previous versions and is compatible with the existing certification scheme. 

The whole aim of new ITIL 4 is to address challenges in digital space by organizations. ITIL 4 retains basic concepts from ITIL V3. 

b) Difference between ITIL v3 and ITIL 4 approach

ITIL 4 shifts focus from value stream in ITIL V3 service lifecycle to end-to-end value system for service delivery. 

This is referred to as the Service Value System (SVS) which leverages the service value chain. 

ITIL 4 focuses on practices over processes. Practices are means of accomplishing an objective by leveraging organizational resources. For example, people, skills, partners, suppliers, tools, information, knowledge and so on.

c) Do you need ITIL 4?

Yes, if you are an ITIL practitioner, consultant, service delivery manager. This is also applicable to someone who deals with people, process, technology, and tool. 

d) Why do we need ITIL 4?

With time organizations have adopted newer technologies, tools and complex processes. This calls for changing the way we support and manage service delivery. 

The ITIL 4 focuses on all such aspects of service delivery. Key aspects are rapidly increasing complex digital platforms, SIAM, DevOps, Agile and SAFe. 

It addresses new technology-based services. For example docker and Kubernetes based applications, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud-hosted applications.

ITIL 4 training is mandatory for Managing Professional and ITIL Strategic Leader certifications. 

e) Is ITIL 4 aligned to ISO 20K standard?

As per AXELOS ITIL 4 architect team members are associated with ISO 20K. And AXELOS believes ITIL 4 will align with compliance needs of ISO 20K standard.

ITIL 4 certification level & scheme

a) What are ITIL 4 Certification Levels?

There are 5 levels under ITIL 4 certification. ITIL Foundation, ITIL Specialist Modules (3), ITIL Strategist, ITIL Leader, and ITIL Master.

There are two designation streams under ITIL 4. ITIL Managing Professional (ITIL MP) and ITIL Strategic Leader (ITIL SL). 

Certification levels


One can choose the desired designation based on his learning and career plan. For more details, you can refer to the following link –

b) What are the release dates of various certification levels

The ITIL 4 modules will be released according to the below top-level timelines. More detailed release dates of the modules and new exams will be made available to ATOs with the launch of ITIL 4 Foundation. ATOs will be provided with accreditation details, guidance and sales enablement information in sufficient time to be able to support the release of the further ITIL 4 modules.

  • ITIL Foundation – 28 February 2019.

  • ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Module - 3 October 2019.

  • ITIL 4 Managing Professional Modules (ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver and Support, and ITIL 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve) - November 2019

  • ITIL 4 Managing Professional Modules (ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value, ITIL 4 Specialist: High Velocity IT) - Q1 2020

  • ITIL 4 Strategic Leader Module - more information to be released in the second half of 2019.

c) What is the path to becoming an ITIL Managing Professional certified?

Path to ITIL MP is – 

  • ITIL 4 Foundation

  • ITIL Specialist: Create, Deliver & Support

  • ITIL Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value

  • ITIL Specialist: High-Velocity IT

  • ITIL Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve

d) What is the path to becoming an ITIL Strategic Leader certified?

Path to ITIL SL is – 

  • ITIL 4 Foundation

  • ITIL Strategist: Direct, Plan & Improve*

  • ITIL Leader: Digital and IT Strategy

e) I am ITIL v3 expert, do I need ITIL 4?

ITIL V3 expert serves as a consultant or practitioner to an organization. It is vital to keep himself updated with the new focus ITIL 4 guides.

You can choose the certification path based on learning and career plan.

An ITIL V3 expert can opt for ITIL Managing Professional Transition Module to achieve ITIL MP designation. Later he can also opt for ITIL strategic leadership. One can opt for this module after he is ITIL MP certified. 

ITIL Master can be achieved after securing both ITIL MP and ITIL SL certifications.

f) Is ITIL V3 discontinued?

AXELOS will not drop ITIL V3 before June 2020. This will help end learner to collect/use ITIL V3 credits for progression on to ITIL MP.

The transition from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4

a) I have ITIL V3 foundation, how to transition to ITIL 4?

There is no bridge to ITIL 4 foundation from ITIL V3 foundation. You can take the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. This will help transition to ITIL 4 Managing Professional and Strategic Leader path.

b) I have 17 credits from ITIL V3, how to transition to ITIL 4?

You can take the ITIL Managing Professional Transition module to migrate to ITIL 4 scheme. 

c) I am ITIL V3 foundation certified and have 3 to 4 credits from intermediate modules. How to transition to ITIL 4?

You can take the ITIL 4 foundation and then choose further modules based on your career plan. The choices are to become ITIL Specialist, Strategist or Leader.

d) How ITIL 4 will help me?

ITIL 4 will help an individual enhance his knowledge with the new approach of creating a value system. It will position you for multiple career options. With applied knowledge of ITIL, it stands you out from the crowd. 

It will help you execute your daily job with improved efficiency at work and gain confidence in ITIL space.

e) How ITIL 4 will help organizations

ITIL is a globally recognized framework. It has been successfully adopted by organizations like Microsoft, IBM, Shell and so on.

It will help organizations to improve their service delivery and value creation for their customers. The reduced cost, and agile services and products are straight benefits for organizations adopting ITIL best practices.

Exam preparation 

a) I am new to ITIL. Which ITIL exam I should take and why?

To start with one should go for ITIL 4 foundation. It helps your understanding of an IT organization and its operating model. 

Then depending on your current role, you can decide your certification plan. 
For example, if your current role is into day to day operations, you can choose the ITSM specialist module. 

If you aspire to become ITSM consultant then you take the path to ITIL Managing Professional. 

b) How to prepare for ITIL 4?

This completely depends on your learning and career plans. If you are processing practitioner, you can pick ITIL 4 foundation to start with. Later you can plan further modules complementing your learning and career plan.

If you are someone who manages a service delivery, you may want to become a specialist in your area. For example, change management, release management, Incident Management, Problem management and so on. 

c) Where can I get ITIL 4 Sample papers?

As per AXELOS practice papers will be available in Q2 2019. 

AXELOS will make one sample papers available to the public on 

Please keep in mind though ITIL 4 is the latest version of ITIL, you can always refer to ITIL V3 sample papers. 

The idea is to keep your basics of ITIL clear. This will come handy for ITIL 4 exams and further certifications towards ITIL MP and ITIL SL.

d) In how many languages ITIL 4 will be published?

ITIL 4 will be published in German, Spanish, Japanese and French. More details on this will be published during the latter half of 2019. 

e) Tips to clear ITIL 4 foundation exams

1. First of all, reason your intent to take up ITIL 4 certification. Analyze certification path for your day to day job and career aspirations in ITSM.

2. Get your ITIL terminologies clear. It will prepare you to understand the more complex aspects of further modules.

3. Learn concepts of ITIL and try to relate everything you learn to your organization.

4. Go through sample papers to understand the exam format. And take as many as practice test papers. 

5. Don’t rely on practice papers, they help you memorize concepts not learn or understand them.

6. Use ITIL flash card-based apps for Android/IOS to learn and revise concepts.

7. Though the foundation is self-paced, it is vital to go for classroom training. 

The audiovisual environment will make your learning much easier. If you cannot take classroom training, subscribe to online learning. 

There are a few very good learning platforms available. One such platform is

8. Plan your learning commitment and then commit to the learning plan. Remember, commitment and hard work go hand in hand for the desired success. 

9. Read as many articles of ITIL success stories as possible. This will enhance the interest in the subject which would make learning a lot easier.

10. Last but not least, revise concepts every morning for the next several weeks. This will put concepts in your long term memory.

ITIL is the most broadly adopted ITSM framework in the world, and with the release of ITIL 4, this is unlikely to change. The extensive adoption of this framework has made ITIL-certified practitioners profoundly worthy. Organizations use their experience, skills, and perspective to assist in developing new services and to increase the significance of everyday IT services. 

Looking to upskill to ITIL 4? Take the course now!

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David Prasad