ITIL is an abbreviation of the phrase “Information Technology Infrastructure Library”. It covers a set of practices and standards for IT service management. ITIL provides businesses with guidance on best practices for using IT within their organizations. ITIL started as a UK Government sponsored project to improve the methodologies used there for managing IT. It has since spread into business worldwide as it is seen to provide exceptional improvements in the use of IT. Current adopters of ITIL include NASA, Disney Corporation, the UK National Health Service, and HSBC Bank.
The Library is divided into logical segments that each concentrate on a specific IT function. Taken individually, they can provide great benefits. Taken together, the benefits grow enormously as consistent practices are applied across IT service management. ITIL is now on version 3, as it is regularly updated based on feedback from businesses that use the ITIL standards in practice.
The Foundation Certificate is the entry-level ITIL qualification which gives a general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including links between lifecycle stages and the processes they use. The exam uses multiple choice questions, with 40 questions per paper, and 26 marks are required to pass – 65%. The exam is 60 minutes in duration.
Normally, the exam is taken at the end of a three-day course, and is called something like “ITIL Foundation Training”. The course is typically run by a company accredited to the ITIL examination body by tutors who themselves have ITIL certification. It is strongly recommended that someone who wants to sit the exam DOES take a course beforehand, because the exam tests the candidate for specific knowledge of ITIL terminology and how ITIL concepts and processes are implemented. It isn’t practical to try and learn these without exposure to ITIL documentation and other information.
Typically, the course trainer will be an expert in ITIL and can assist the trainees to assimilate unfamiliar terms (there are lots of them in ITIL) and grasp the practical benefits of using ITIL.
If the course syllabus mentions that there is an opportunity to take a mock exam to assess your readiness for the real exam, this can be of great advantage. It will help you revise weak points before the end of the course, to improve your chances of passing the final test. Remember, the pass requirement is to score at least 26 correct answers out of the 40 exam questions.
A useful thing a candidate can do before attending the ITIL Foundation course is to use Google to search for a PDF document called “An Introductory Overview of ITIL V3”. This is a 58-page booklet which gives a summary of the approach ITIL takes to IT service management. Exam candidates should study this booklet. Although the publication date is 2007, this is the latest edition that has been produced. Usefully, the booklet provides a proper definition of “service management”, in case you’ve ever wondered.
A good place to start looking for information about ITIL is the UK Government’s official ITIL website: http://www.itil-officialsite.com . On the home page of this website is a sample ITIL Foundation certificate exam paper that gives you an idea of the way in which questions are worded. You can also find publications to purchase that might help with preparing for the exam. For example, one is entitled “Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam – The ITIL Foundation Study Aid”. Typically, though, you should be given a copy of this or a similar publication when you attend the ITIL Foundation course.