ITIL® V3 stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, Version 3. It is a widely used best practice approach to Information Technology (IT) service management that originated in the United Kingdom, but the ITIL® standards are now used by corporations and public service bodies all over the world. ITIL® is a registered trademark of the United Kingdom Office of Government Commerce (OGC).
The original version of the ITIL® software standards was developed between 1986 and 1992 as a series of booklets. The service management approach was then refined and developed further between 1996 and 1998, resulting in nine separate volumes covering different aspects of IT service management, including such subjects as asset management, change control, disaster planning, and financial management. ITIL® version 3, issued in 2007, differs from the earlier versions in its focus on the entire service management lifecycle rather than purely emphasizing best practice approaches for individual elements for IT service provision.
ITIL® V3 consists of five major volumes: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. The final book is often considered the pinnacle of ITIL® V3, and mainly concentrates on improving business processes across all the areas covered in the first four volumes in the series. Goals of the Continual Service Improvement module include improving the quality and efficiency of services, finding ways to work smarter within the confines of existing IT service models, and better meeting the needs of the client or end user of the IT system or service that is being delivered.
The first level of the ITIL® V3 certification scheme is the foundation examination. The foundation course and exam cover the basics of the ITIL® standards, and aim to provide a sound grounding in the processes, the concepts, and the terminology used in ITIL® best practices. The foundation exam is a prerequisite that all candidates must successfully complete prior to embarking on any higher level ITIL® qualifications.
Once a candidate has successfully passed the ITIL® foundation exam, there are three further levels of qualification available: ITIL® Intermediate Level, which a candidate can achieve via either the "Lifecycle Stream" or the "Capability Stream;" followed by ITIL® Expert; and finally ITIL® Master, the highest qualification available in ITIL®. For candidates who completed a foundation examination prior to the publication of ITIL& V3, there is also a bridging examination available which provides a fast track from ITIL® V2 to ITIL® V3.