First we will look at the portfolio of Axelos as this is containing many different standards that were very popular during the last 25 years. The products are in fact owned by a joint venture from Capita, a UK based company and the Cabinet Office, a UK Governmental organization. The products of Axelos are the following.
ITIL® is the leading standard for IT Service Management and from the early nineties until now there were more than 2.500.000 persons certified on different levels, however that is also a reason for nuance! The number of certified people on the highest level is very limited. There are no figures available but one can take for granted that there are only about 20 to 30.000 certified Service Managers on Expert level. On this level a person can say he/she is a certified Service Manager. Only a few years ago a Masters level was introduced where people who have passed all needed exams, can be assessed. At the moment there are not much more than hundred persons certified on that level.
The ITIL program is quite complicated because one can make a choice from 9 different modules to go to the highest level. In fact one needs to pass at least 4 exams to go to a module named Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC). For any person who wants to go to the Expert or Masters level, the Foundation Certificate and MALC are prerequisites, next to the other three or four exams that one need to pass. The model is based on a credit system and the condition is that for the expert level one needs to have 22 credits. On the website the credential profile is shown.
Training for ITIL is on different levels as the model says. Jobs and job roles are related to Service Management, like Service Desk or Help Desk worker on the basic level and IT-Service Manager on the top level. In the intermediate level we can say, certified persons are specialized in a specific process, like Configuration, Change and Planning and Control. They are Practitioner, so to say, however that is not a role that you can find in the frameworks that we refer to. The level of these persons is difficult to point as they can be specific managers for the process in big Organizations, or responsible for IT processes in smaller Organizations. The level model that the ITIL model is referring to is the Bloom Taxonomy. This model is going from 1. knowing (Remember), to 2. Understand (Describe, Explain) 3. Apply 4. Analyze 5. Evaluate and 6. Create
ITIL Foundation is related to level 1-2, the Intermediate modules to levels 3-4 and the Expert level to level 4/5
The ITIL Masters level should go to level 6 and does suggest that certified persons have a Masters title. Normally the Masters title is related to Academic education. Universities can use ITIL integrated in their programs, however we see in practice that the ITIL Masters did their training in different ways, not related to any University or Academic Organization.
Relating levels to certifications is quite difficult as the level of workers is not only depending on the education and certifications they have gained. It is a mix of experience, coming from practices in the field of the relevant discipline and education.
PRINCE 2 and other Axelos standards
As said Axelos has a portfolio that includes other programs. Most well-known next to ITIL is PRINCE2. (PRojects In Controlled Environment). PRINCE2 is coming from the original products that were developed by the CCTA, a governmental organization in the UK. Later on it was called The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and after that The Cabinet Office. In 2012 The Cabinet Office decided to go to a joint venture structure with Capita as their partner and the new name became Axelos. Axelos started the activities from 2013.
PRINCE2 as one of the products was originally specifically for IT projects. The addition of “2” was done to show that the new version was a general standard, not specifically for IT. By doing this PRINCE 2 became the competitor for IPMA and PMI.
PRINCE2 has a basic level, PRINCE Foundation and a Practitioner level. PRINCE 2 as a product, next to others that have to do with IT, shows that Project Management plays an increasing role in the way IT projects are organized. Of course in the first place in a structured way and also including Risk management, Planning and Control, Procurement and other topics that are relevant for the Management of Projects.
Next to the Axelos website there is a specific site for PRINCE2: www.prince-officialsite.com
Other products of Axelos are:
All above standards are more or less related to the Management of IT business, but it can be used for other disciplines as well.
The government model of Axelos is based on a license system for Examination Institutes (EI’s) that are able to distribute the exams coming from Axelos. The EI’s need to pay license fees to Axelos for every taken exam-; passed or failed. For retakes the fees are the same. Most important EI’s that have a global structure with local entities and/or local representatives are: APMG, EXIN and PeopleCert.
Training Providers can be accredited by more than one EI. Some are doing business by licensing other Training Providers for their courseware.
The global platform the IT Service Management Forum, ITSMF has more than 50 Chapters. ITSMF played an important role in organizing a community to discuss the qualifications and to act as the representative of the members, most of them coming from the IT Service Management world. Most of the ITSMF’s do organize events and congresses in their country. Most well known are the UK and the US. See www.itsmfi.com as the website for ITSMF International.
The next column will deal with trainings provided by PMI and IPMA