Time for an ITIL Diploma

More people than ever are using ITIL. More people than ever are studying ITIL. It continues to guide service management activities in large and small organisations worldwide. But at the same time no end of people are wanting to talk of its demise.

This conundrum is far too complex for me to fathom – but I do know that the current qualification scheme does not help the popularity of ITIL.

The essence of the problem is evident in the ITIL exam statistics featured in a recent news item. Last year, 263,203 sat the ITIL Foundation exam (and 90% of them passed). So there is a vast army of people who are getting a quick overview of ITIL. There were 5,659 who sat the Managing Across the Lifecycle exam which is the final hurdle needed in order to become an ITIL Expert (66% of these candidates passed).

A summary of the trends in ITIL certification can be found on the FOCUS on TRAINING blog.

It can often take several years to complete all the steps to become an ITIL Expert so the 2% “conversion ratio” from Foundation may well increase over time – but this situation does not provide strong encouragement or recognition for the 98% stuck in the middle.

The Intermediate level courses and qualifications are modular (which is sensible) and each is a certificate in its own right. But there are many variants and they tend not to receive high recognition from employers. They are not sought after in the same way as say PRINCE2 Practitioner or PMP.

ITIL Expert was always positioned as a step beyond the old ITIL Manager’s certificate and I in no way advocate diminishing it through making it easier to achieve. However, there needs to be more tangible recognition for the many service management professionals who are highly effective in what they do, and have a deep knowledge of ITIL processes, but who are simply never likely to have the time, money, aptitude or inclination to make it to ITIL Expert.

There is a simple answer. Introduce a mid-point qualification which is awarded to those who achieve say 12 ITIL credits. Call it an ITIL Diploma (or perhaps re-introduce ITIL Practitioner). Promote this strongly through the service management community. Urge major employers to make this a milestone in their own skills development regimes.

A 12 Credit threshold is not insignificant. Beyond Foundation it would require successful completion of, for example:

  • 3 Capability Courses OR
  • 4 Lifecycle Courses OR
  • 2 Lifecycle and 1 Capability Course.

Perhaps marginally fewer if a candidate has other complementary qualifications recognised under the Credit System.

For those who want a fast-track programme which will update and validate existing skill sets it brings a substantive ITIL qualification back into the reach of an intensive 2 week training course.

Frankly we need to keep ITIL relevant to the work and careers of the many if its profile and popularity are to be improved.

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