Let me boast a little first – I recently passed the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. I am very proud of myself. I would like to share this joy with you and introduce you to ITIL.

What is ITIL for and who is it for?

I will start by explaining this enigmatic acronym. ITIL means Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is a collection of best practices for managing an organization in the IT industry. Its first version (V1) is almost my age-mate as it was created in 1989. The most recent version (ITIL 4) was published in 2019 as a response to the challenges of modern business. It focuses on the topic of generating values and their importance for an organization.

ITIL is useful to all specialists regardless of their position. It enables them to understand the processes that take place in the IT world – not only in the IT department but also in other departments of the company. The ITIL certificates confirm qualifications in managing IT services. Preparing for an exam gives you a better understanding of trends and changes in IT services. You can also improve your skills.

Is ITIL useful in business analysis?

We already know what ITIL is and that it’s useful for every IT specialist. How does a business analyst benefit from it? In my opinion, in many ways. Analysts regularly participate in Agile projects and every project team has various roles and a range of complementary skills. I think I’m not the only one who, as a business analyst, sees the need to master the basics of project management. Knowing ITIL allows you to put your skills into practice, for example, in terms of planning or teamwork.

In everyday work, an analyst is in contact with many stakeholders, including senior managers. It’s important to be precise when communicating with them. The ITIL certificate guarantees that its holder is familiar with best practices in IT management. It also gives you tools to communicate effectively with project participants from different countries, cultures, and organizations. Knowledge of professional terminology allows you to avoid inconsistencies in communication. It positively influences your credibility as a business analyst and improves the image of the company you represent.

ITIL certificate: is it worth it?

We live in a dynamic world and the competition never sleeps. We are aware (I am, for sure :)) of the need for continuous development. We are constantly learning and preparing for the next exams. The ITIL certificate can be a great addition to our set of skills. It also gives an impulse to share our knowledge and support the team by promoting the best practices in the cooperation of IT with the business. More competent employees create a more valuable company – that’s in line with the spirit of ITIL, especially with the ITIL practice of Continual Improvement 😊

Are you still reading? 🙂 I would like to share my thoughts on exam preparation for ITIL 4.

business analyst working
ITIL certificate: what surprised me?

My subjective feeling is that the Foundation level exam isn’t very difficult. You take it online and the required pass score is 65% of correct answers, that is, 26 out of 40 test questions. The pass rate is high (I haven’t found official figures, but there are rumors among experts and in the depths of the internet that it is about 94%). I studied the material covered during the two-day course and did a few sample tests – it was enough for me to pass.

It was a pleasant surprise because I had taken many exams in my life and sometimes I had to work very hard to pass them (and I’m not talking about my driving test that I took so many times… 😊). There were no traps, or tricky questions but exactly what I learned from the course. Maybe I was lucky and got an easy set of exam tasks. Anyway, it was a nice surprise (I wish it had been the same in my driving examination center :)).

 

What was difficult (but also interesting)?

I will not trick you into believing that everything was so simple and pleasant. Unfortunately, the ITIL Handbook is not a gripping novel that you can’t put down waiting to see what will happen next. Some concepts are quite abstract and difficult to understand, especially for a newbie. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with it depending on your learning style. I am a visual learner, so all illustrations, colors, and diagrams are music to my ears (actually, my eyes and brain).

It is also easier for me to learn when I compare abstract concepts to some real-life events. For example, I really liked the illustrative analogies and comparisons the trainer used during the course. Let’s be honest, I don’t work with all of these concepts on a daily basis. There was a chance that after passing the exam, I would forget some of the material (according to the students’ SPF principle: study, pass, and forget). For example, it wasn’t easy for me to grasp the concept of the service value chain and the value streams related to it.

Let me quote this “exciting” description from the ITIL Handbook: “ITIL defines an operating model that includes all the key activities necessary for the effective management of products and services. This is called the ITIL service value chain. The operating model of the service value chain is generic, but in practice, it can take different patterns. These patterns within value chain operations are called value streams. The value stream is a combination of the activities of the organization’s value chain.”

Are you still awake? It sounds difficult but you can easily understand this concept thanks to a cool comparison. Imagine that the service value chain is a palette of available colors (a set of activities necessary for the effective management of products and services). A stream of values ​​is an image you can paint with the colors (different patterns within a value chain operation). Using the entire palette of colors, each painter can create a unique painting. Depending on the organization or situation, we use different combinations of available activities. Now it’s simple and logical, right?
Complex concepts can be tamed in various ways – this is just one of the interesting examples that I learned during the course. The colorful value chain will definitely stay with me 😊

 

Again: is it worth it? Yes, definitely!

In conclusion, learning the secrets of ITIL is worth the time and effort. I believe that if we want to become experts (and, after all, Craftware employs only competent and ambitious people), we should take up new challenges, even those that go beyond the area of ​​our daily duties. Knowing the ITIL framework definitely increases our competencies. Once you pass the Foundation level, you can go ahead and take other exams, eventually, reaching the Master level (and then it’s just eternal fame and glory!).

Therefore, in line with ITIL’s spirit of continuous improvement, I encourage everyone to take up new challenges (and, of course, boast about them on the forum). The sky’s the limit! 😊

Author

  • Małgorzata Trzaska
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • She has been with Craftware for several months, previously worked for international companies from the industrial sector. She enjoys continuous development through work with new technologies and contact with people. In her private life, she is an enthusiast of travel, broadly understood linguistics, and studio cinemas.

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