ITIL exams dropped from Prometric: consider ISO20000 certification as an alternative?

The March edition of the IT Skeptic's newsletter, the Skeptical Informer, went out and it included the statement:

The certification industry still seems to have an attitude of "F*** the quality of teaching! Maximise profits!"

A little strong? That was before I knew that ITIL exams have been withdrawn from Prometric (a respected online provider of certifications). You should have heard me then! [Updated: now available again]

It seems to be true. ITIL has gone from the Prometric site. I saw it reported on the Datamation forum. As that forum points out, ISO20000 is on Prometric so consider this for an alternative personal certification.

No matter how hard you self study, to the best of my knowledge you now have to pay a vendor for training before you sit the ITIL Foundation exam.

According to someone who knows, EXIN may have been a bit premature in putting ITIL V3 exams on Prometric, and they have been taken down "until all Examination Institutes have received a copy of the database of questions and can then reach their own agreement with Prometric or other testing companies". Does that imply that the exams to date have been beta status?

Anyway, the implication is that ITIL will be back on Prometric sometime [Updated: now available again]. There are plenty of vendors who would rather this didn't happen but I can't see how they can stop it. I'll bet they can delay it though.


ITIL exams dropped consider ISO20000 cert

It appears that Prometric as an option for computer based ITIL exams for self-learners is disappearing. While normally share your disdain for the management of the ITIL certification business as it is today, I think you are off base with this criticism and solution. EXIN, and I suspect others, ARE offering the same computer based exams for the same prices as Prometic offered. While this is clearly a consolidating of the money making aspect of the exams - it is not being done by eliminating the opportunity to test with out taking classes, as you presumed. Further, ISO20000 Foundations is a far cry from the same learning goals or value of ITIL Foundations.

ISO20000 as an alternative to ITIl

ISO20000 duplicates the ITIL goals in an "effective mode": it's all about the deliverables, while ITIL has lots (!!) of text on the how/what. And I'll let you in on what I think is one of the best-kept secrets on the ISO20000 Standard: the entire ISO20000 Standard text is part of the ITSM Library title "ISO20000 An Introduction". Which means that you'll be able to get all the documentation of the Standard for the price of an introduction book ;-)

Achieving ISO 20000

Personally I would recommend, from a practical perspective, the "achieving ISO 20000" books

I would also say, speaking for myself, that the committee members give an incredible amount of unpaid time and effort to our work on the standard, so why shouldn't people pay the full price for it?

Its all about what auditors use to conduct an audit

James, Jan
At a past itSMF USA conference I presented on how to prepare for an ISO 20000 audit. A bunch of willing IT organizations shared their experiences with me and at its core was audit 101 practices... Confusion abounded, I was accused of being 'inaccurate' and it was clear to me we all need to study from the same references - and the one used by auditors - period!

A simple test is to open the debate on how many requirements there are to meet? How many are there? If we can't get that straight how can we certify anyone to a common level? My liberal view of the standard itself, used in conjunction with the guidance part, and counting 'shoulds' and 'ands' rocketed past 400. Others claim its only @170...

Its like preparing for a driving test - what handbook do we study - what are the rules? If you fail a test what remedial policies are there - pass/conditional (x months to resolve voluntarily), and so on.

In a number of posts (elsewhere) I have asked communities of interest if there is a standard set of criteria, requirements, that an organization must aspire to, as used and referenced by an auditor - the silence was deafening.

So with all due respect, and until someone can point me in the right direction - the publications available don't help unless they are 'blessed' by whomever is training and certifying auditors and that the requirements are posted somewhere. This is not a case of cheating - so don't go there - its all a case of understanding there is a yardstick we can evenly apply.

The ONLY value I see in ISO 20000 certification at the personal level is in it helping prepare someone to help an organization to prepare for and pass an audit...

Oh and by the way - is anybody tracking the working group plans to extend the standard - considerably - within the next 12-18 months - another refresh....?

I'm in trouble, deep deep trouble...


Personal view, because I can's speak for ISO or BSI:

I think there is a possible disconnect between the thinking of the authors and the way ISO auditors see the world.

I don't see any value in ISO 20000 at a personal level because it isn't about the personal level.

As a member of the working group I'm well aware of the plans going forward - I'm not sure I would say they are about extending the standard so much as about clarifying it., which can only be a good thing. Primarily expect to see a basic maturity model and guidance on scoping.


EXIN, ITSM & The Standard

Dear Ian, James, and all other readers of this wonderful blog,

In the midst of this highly interesting discussion on ITSM, the ISO/IEC 20000 standard and EXIN's latest qualification program ('ITSM according to ISO/IEC 20000'), I hope to contribute a little bit by trying to explain the program's intention and benefits.

Basically, the qualification program is about IT Service Management, based on best, real or super practices (not limited to any framework in general), with the ISO/IEC 20000 standard for good measure. Because for instance a foundation student only needs to learn the essentials and get a set of acquired skills immediately. This is something EXIN had envisaged when the ITIL V2 foundation exam was introduced in 1994.

Our qualification program is certainly not aimed at company ISO certification; although this could be useful, real quality starts with the people that operate the company. Quality comes bottom up and the EXIN program acknowledges that. A common understanding among all staff involved in IT services is a key success accelerator of the quality approach towards IT Service Management. ISO standards have of course proven to place great emphasis on customer needs, expectations and improving business performance through delighting the customers. Organizations that have trained staff at all levels will not only gain the most success, but will also reach certification, if aimed for, easier and faster.

So, to get back to the discussion, the EXIN ITSM qualification program is not about getting a company ready for ISO/IEC 20000 certification (although it can help); it is about improving the quality and performance of ITSM in an organization, with measurable results.

What are the the benefits?

• Role based:
Preparing students for a real life role in IT service provision, aimed at enlarging practical ITSM skills. Learn today, do it tomorrow!
• Framework neutral:
Focused on the essential quality requirements for IT service management as defined in the international standard ISO/IEC 20000
• International:
Developed by EXIN and TÜV SÜD Akademie under supervision of an international committee (Jenny Dugmore, Erin Casteel, Lex Hendriks and many more) and globally available in multiple languages
• Flexible:
Easy to hop on with your ITIL (V2 or V3) certificates and various other interesting side entries in the program
• The program has been officially accredited for the ISO/IEC 17024 standard for qualification and is the winner of the ITSMF Innovation Award 2008

We are inviting everyone to discuss our ideas relating to ITSM, best practices and the standard on the LinkedIN group: 'ITSM according to ISO/IEC 20000'.

We very much appreciate all the support we are getting for the program and we hope to support the community in taking IT Service Management to a higher quality level, continually.



It looks like a major extension to me...


How does the addition of a 'basic maturity model' qualify as clarification - smells like an extension to me.... and what is a standard doing with a maturity model embedded in it - can you point e to another that shares this characteristic...? When does a standard become a basis an assessment - two VERY DIFFERENT methods....?


Ian for an overview of how ISO sees capability assessment

The focus of the current work on the standard is the removal of the ambiguity that arose from the original fast-tracking, and to align it with other ISO standards.


If you are saying that ITIL and ISO 20000 both fail the customer because they don't focus on outcomes then I'm right behind you. That doesn't take anything away from either of them.


ISO20k refresh?

Thanks. So its a refresh? Again how does the addition of a capability maturity model 'align it with other ISO standards'? I have yet to find one in another standard - if anyone knows of one please post teh url here.

My understanding is that there is a 'standard' method for developing standards and that fast-tracked standards, of which BS15000/ISO20k is one, bypass this method and eventually need to be refitted... BSI17799 is a great example of what happens following 'fast-tracking'... the industry is subjected to multiple refits over 3, 5 or even more years.

No I am not saying ITIL and ISO20k fail customers - else I would have said it in my blog. All I have asked for a number of years now, and from folks involved in the standards development and auditing process - is if there is a single, consistent set of requirements used to conduct audits....

If so, where is it, and is the guidance we hear of in publications and posters grounded in that same set of requirements?

I'll leave the question as to why fast tracking is allowed given the consequences it obviously has on certification scheme for another day...

Tidy up

Dare I say the activity going on is evolution not revolution?

As I mentioned in the earlier post the capability model it will be aligned with is ISO15504 which also defines an approach to assessment.
There will also be greater alignment with ISO 12207, 9001 and 15288.

Whilst 20k was fast tracked it had a long gestation period - going back at least to the BSI P0005 Code of Practice from 1998. The main result of the fast tracking has been that the language does not always conform to ISO's strict editing rules that strive to avoid ambiguity. Those who are involved in the process would, I suspect, all agree with me that ISO time scales are positively glacial

I think it was Jan who said ITIL and ISO 20000 don't by themselves meet the real needs of customers.

15504-8 may help?

My understanding is that the ISO/IEC 15504 standard is a 'harmonizing' standard for process assessment, and that ISO has proposed a suite of related standards and reserved numbers for the suite as a whole. The proposed framework would have multiple ISO 15504-conformant products that would be submitted for endorsement as a 'Publicly Available Specification (PAS). This would include measurement framework, Process Reference Models and Process Assessment Models.

Seems to me that IOS15504 and specifically the planned 15504-8 (based on ISO20K) would seem to be a big help, even for customers who were not planning on ISO certification but wanted to measure progress. See more at
Exit Here for Standards-Based Process Assessment

John M. Worthington
MyServiceMonitor, LLC

On the money

And I'm looking at the ISO 20000 PRMs and PAMs as we speak

complexity drives the big consultants

.. and most of the other advisors (although not all).
ISO20000 is valuable for who wants to adhere to a formal standard. It's close to 'the best you can get' (which is a very relative statement).
HOWEVER - it has very limited value for those who want to do a decent job for their customers instead of making hours (=money) at the cost of the same customers.
Most of the major consultancy companies of this world only want to make more hours and they have found the ideal way to do that: just deliver more and more complex solutions and more and more complex theories & frameworks and your customers will never be able to do anything without you again.
In that perspective, ISO20000 also is already far too complex for any customer to be of serious value. It's often only working for the service providers to show off. Or to support the selection criteria in an outsourcing competition. So all the beautiful plans of the ISO20000 committtee will actually only lead to the enhancement of the complexity of the standard. Which imho is not a "Good Thing".

So: IF you want to apply ISO20000 for any reason, the "Implementing ISO20000" book indeed provides the best practical quidance.
And IF you just want to get hold of the ISO20000 specs at the lowest (legal) price possible, you can read the "ISO20000 Introduction" book. All the additional guidance will simply be for free, since you already saved a lot of money on the original Standard text.
But in the end the only thing that really counts is the question "how much did you really help your customer". And neither ITIL nor ISO20000 will be a product you can apply there. They are and will be no more than "reference models".

ISO 20000 is not as complex as V3

Those books are useful. I'm treating the ISO 20000 introduction as the improved itil. I think it gives a useful framework and guidance to prcatitioners. A lot of it seems to be common sense, so that many organizations can find them to be ISO 20000 compliant on some itil processes (=functions) that they had not implemented as process but have functions for, like Availability, Capacity, Finance etc.

ISO 20000 adds some useful areas but is far more compact than the overarching V3. I also hope that there will not be an enhancement of the standard too soon.

This business needs an internationally accepted standard framework and for that purpose ISO is much better host than the greedy OGC, TSO, APMG trio. As such, ISO 20000 is an useful tool, slightly improved from V2 and much better than V3. Today there are 337 organizations that have an ISO 20000 certificate and the number is growing, a year ago there were 180.


Any takers - is there a definitive list of ISO20K requirements?

Has anyone out there in the Skeptic ether possess a definitive list of requirements that do, or should form the basis for an ISO20K audit... and how do you 'implement ISO20K'??? I thought this was a conformance test... a comparison.... is it not more a case of transforming existing practices so they satisfy a set list of 'shall dos' detailed within a standard?

Jan - does your book contain this list?

The standard itself

My approach to this is that I have listed all shalls from the standard text and check with the client how well they are doing against the requirements. We do it in a workshop where we discuss what the "shall" means and the give it a percentage. It is a combination of self-audit and ISO 20000 class. The workshop is based on Jan's books. Works well. There are about 210 requirements as some shalls contain several things.

The should's are just guidance, not a requirement.


ISO20000 poster

We use the ISO20000 poster in practical cases and classrooms: the poster shows all the activities, inputs, outputs, shalls and shoulds, in one over-all A1-size paper, with red/yellow/green stickers. It also shows all the implicit consequences in the very same sheet. This way you can visualize your progress and your coverage in a self-assessment. Works great, although you need a pair of good eyes to read all the details :-(

the ISO20000 books contain exactly that

Yes Ian - we made the books to provide the reader with a better understanding of how ISO standards are constructed, and then expleined 20000 in detail. I the Roadmap book we also provided very practical guidance on how the conformance test could be approached, and how the project would run. And we added several detailed cases of companies that had actually achieved the certificate: they all answered a long list of questions covering many aspects of your certification project.
ISO20000 is all about proving that you deliver service quality and that you are in control of that delivery, and it doesn't matter how you achieved that: using ITIL, MOF, COBIT, ISO9000, or any other instrument.

V3 Foundation Exam on Prometric

I've recently had an email from Exin stating that the V3 exams will be back on Prometric on April 10th.

I understand the withdrawal was due to APMG's syllabus revision early this year, which also led to the mix of questions in the exams being changed. (Less Strategy, more Operation)


ISEB V3 exams now on Prometric

I heard yesterday from ISEB that the V3 exams are now available on Prometric.
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

don't wanna pay

basically i just completed the itil foundation by self study .. i get the results tomorrow .. wish me luck, but i know i aced it .. because i really understood the topic .. having learnt it myself and not had some parasitic trainer give me a bunch of spin. I can't say the same for the prince2 course i did last year .. foundation and practioner in a week! it's not easy .. but it is alot tougher when the trainer spends the whole time talking about himself .. and telling you 'you'll be fine' and waving you off with his hand .. anyway .. not only did i have to spend the week listening to this guy drone on about himself .. he was also arrogant and condesending and he couldn't teach F all. seriously .. i was so disappointed that i learnt nothing on that course .. (and i mean nothing .. the guy even self marked the foundation paper and i know he put my score up) .. that i kicked myself for not studying more before i arrived .. anyway needless to say .. i wish i could continue with itil but if i can't find a self study course .. i don't think i could go through another training class like that .. a total waste of my own PERSONAL salary .. oh joy

that's fine and...

Learning basic knowledge needed to pass ITIL v3 exams can be done on your own. Nevertheless, not all people are capable of doing that.

Also, I firmly believe that training isn't (just) about receiving knowledge to pass such multiple choice exams. The pilots for the Intermediate Exams in ITIL3 have given us some insights into what comes after Foundation and this requires much more than just knowledge. I also think that training should zoom in on Attitude, Behaviour and Culture aspects of ITIL use. This can definitely not be achieved by reading a book or doing a self study course. IT Service Management is about human interaction and not about a library...

Maarten Bordewijk
Getronics Consulting

we have a right to choose

I can accept that training courses give more than self study, and that many people need that. But: either the exam tests whether they are a capable practitioner or it doesn't. if it doesn't, how does forcing them along to a training course help? if the training industry were willing to pay for proper human-marked written exams then the exams might properly assess candidates for ABC. in the case of ITIL Expert I think we should even consider an interview.

And if the exam does adequately assess competency, then if a person is already experienced enough or just clever enough that they can achieve that capability on their own then they should have the freedom to make that choice and sit the exam untrained. if they fail then more fool them and they can go seek a trainer. for the training industry to see it otherwise smacks of monopolistic practices and restraint of trade. At the very least it reeks of that Castle ITIL arrogance: "how can anyone possibly be a good practitioner without attending our course?" There are actually people out there unqualified who are as competent as the trainers or more so, and a lot more experienced.

Finally, if the training is about ABC as well as knowledge, then how much ABC does one impart in three or five days in a classroom?

Multi-choice competencies

Dear Skep,

You are a worthy partner for discussions such as these, especially since we seem to agree on many items...(alternatively, you coulc argue that this isn't a very interesting basis for quality discussion). Anyhow, firstly no multi-choice exam will test properly the competencies needed to be a good practitioner. Secondly, forcing people into a classroom isn't a solid foundation for learning. I think we agree on these issues. Representing an educational institute with a long track record in ITIL training, I can assure you that we didn't welcome the fact that In Course Assessment was dropped in ITIL certification. EXIN had a functioning scheme in place for assessing people's abilities to be a succesfull practitioner (especially in the Service Manager's exam). As a training institute we were very happy to perform these assessments and they were an asset in any training course.

About ABC..., my opinion is that the new 20 day training required for ITIL Expert, leaves more than enough time and opportunities to get into detail about how to make IT Service Management work.

Maarten Bordewijk
Getronics Consulting

ICA was not great

Hi Maarten

In my experience the In Course Asessessment (ICA) was not so well functioning. I was working in a company where trainers were mainly young and Dutch. They were supposed to be able to assess the managerial capabilities of 12-16 people from a different culture during the 5 day course. In many cases the trainees had far more experience on management than the trainers.


I object ! (being a Dutchman !!! )

Hi Aale,
The fact that the ICA sometimes is not well performed should not disqualify the mechanism. Trainers a Service Management Level should (according to me) be experienced professionals with a broad background. I strongly object to the fact that you write in the same sentence "young and Dutch". The fact that someone is Dutch cnould be an advantage as the Dutch are pretty well ahead in ITIL experience compared to other countries (my reference for the moment is France, which is on average running behind 10 to 15 years in ITIL maturity to the Dutch). Yound or old dos not say anything either. In my last ITIL Service Manager class I had a 28 year old guy who wat far more mature then some much older participants.

ICA is a lot of work, but then a Service Manager traning is not the cheapest. I think the ICA mechanism (and we talk about lots of things in those ICA conversations) adds value. I just think it's a pitty that APMG dropped the mandatory 2nd trainer for the Service Manager training.

Assessing a higher level of competence just by Multi Point Choice is ridiculous in my opinion, but as Skep wrote before: The Lords Of ITIL in Castle ITIL and the moneymachine in training business are not willing to pay that anymore. On the other hand I must say though that those scenario based MPC are indeed interesting, but not enough!


The nationality was not meant to be negative. Everyone who has been teaching ITIL and ISO 20000 to me has been Dutch. The point was that they came from a different culture than the trainees. Being an expert on ITIL does not make one an expert in managing people. I think one should have some experience in managing managers or special education before one could really do ICA's and that is not a requirement.

I agree about the higher level Multi-choices. According to Exin statistics, these new intermediate exams are very easy, pass percentages are quite high. What do these certificates prove?

How to pass multichoice exams

The application of a defined process, some logic, some intelligence, and a moderate knowledge of the subject allows one to pass most multichoice exams.

I'd love to prove this myself but I'm too poor right now to do ITIL courses. Instead I will attempt to prove another assertion: that lack of ITIL certifications need not hold one back from getting work. I fear the hypothesis fails at the current levels of competition for jobs. Last opportunity I went for I counted at least three ITIL Masters bidding against me (it's a small pond, Wellington - everybody knows).

Here Here!

At Sunningdale, running the courses in conjunction with Quint, we took the ICA very seriously, even though I was only 28 in those days!

For which audience are multi-choice questions best suited?

20 days may well be enough to inculcate ABC [sorry Paul from GamingWorks for using your term all the time - it is entering the general lexicon] but you can't prove it at the end :-D

Real ITSM [shameless plug] has an exam question that encapsulates my feelings:
7) For which audience are multi-choice questions best suited?
a) kindergarten
b) primary school
c) trade apprentices
d) gossip magazine sex questionnaires

I sense and sympathise with your frustration. But it isn't going to change. In-course assessment or human-marked essays or panel interviews would all be far to expensive for the training money machine. You'd have to use experienced senior examiners instead of kids-in-suits trainers and we can't have that - ruins the profit margins.

Count one for the Expert Diploma!

Well I can safely say the Manager Bridge is a doozy! I passed but it was ruddy tough - requires photographic memory of all aspects of the five books and frankly I am not sure I know how to design a class of 4 days to get folks through. My take is that this is the perfect course for online study - about 6-9 months! Any other experiences out there on this?

Oh by the way, recent announcements of my untimely demise (sorry - departure from ITSMI - the company I FOUNDED - not co-founded) are true. I've decided to do my own thing for a while and pay the rent by showing folks how Lean Thinking can dramatically improve the chances of a successful service management project. Its nice to get back out there amongst my customers. I also put on 20lb writing books - that did not sit well with my chair or my wife!

If you want to find me you can at

See you in Holland Skep!

Ian M. Clayton, ITIL Service Manager, CSMP, ITSM Master, ITIL V3 Expert Diploma (!)
itSMF USA Lifetime Award Recipient 2005

Managers Bridge Course

Congratulations. I passed on one of the pilot exams in December. I agree it is not easy. Currently we are running a pilot for the Manager's Bridge Course I designed. What I try to do is NOT cover all details required by the syllabus. Of course I discuss the topics, but mostly I let delegates discover the materials themselves by asking them to explain pictures to me and the rest of the class. Also, I let them read certain parts of the book (such as a part on Governance) and then explain it in 30 seconds. Yes, it is very much an exam preperation type of course.
I did the same with the group I preperad (along with myself) for the pilot exam...and we all passed. Certainly we are well-informed trainers, but still there is no evidence this shouldn't work.

Anyhow, preparing for this exam is something that, just like to good old ITILv2 Service Manager's examination needs a lot of self study. I do see added value in the class-based course. Discussing etc. makes you understand it (or at least understand the author's points of view), e.g. with the diagrams.

Maarten Bordewijk
Getronics PinkRoccade

shouldn't be compulsory

There is added value in the class-based course indeed but it shouldn't be compulsory.


in a knowledge based certification system, no class should be compulsory in my opinion. If you really want to train and certify competencies on the other hand...

Maarten Bordewijk
Getronics PinkRoccade

ISO 20000 Alternative to ITIL

"Anyway, the implication is that ITIL will be back on Prometric sometime. There are plenty of vendors who would rather this didn't happen but I can't see how they can stop it. I'll bet they can delay it though."

Yes, this stinks to high heaven. The stench of APMG that is, on behalf of their buddies.

Never mind access for the public. Never mind the benefits for those who like self study. Never mind anyone, except for the leaches who want to drag more and more profit out of ITIL.

Hopefully ISO 20000 will take off, and hurt ITIL cert badly. I suspect it will, and the sooner the better.

APMG's buddies?

On the contrary, it is APMG who is pushing for exams to be sat after self-study. All the new exams will be multiple-choice. You will need to have followed an accredited course, but this can be through distance learning. Multiple-choice may not give any indication as to whether anyone could actually begin to put any of this stuff into practice, but it is cheap to mark - so more profit for APMG. The training companies - the "leeches" - (many of whom, in the UK at least, are very small - 1 or 2 trainers, plus associates when required) will be competing with distance learning. No-one knows how much classroom classes (our business!)will suffer. Self Study obviously has a part to play, but in my biased opinion, the interaction with other students, as well as with the tutor, make classroom courses the better option.

I have yet to find anyone who would admit to being one of APMG's buddies!

Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Distance learning is not self study

Sorry Liz. i have to disagree on this one. i think we disconnect on what constitutes self study. An accredited course is not self-study. the distance learning providers still constitute part of APMG's customer base. Distance learning is not self study.

If someone is from the third world where even for well-paid IT people an ITIL course represents a month's pay, or if someone is smart enough to teach themsleves from the books and doesn't see why they should pay for training, then why should certification not be distinct from training.

i'll tell you why: because it is only in the interests of the trainees. it represents lost revenue.

oh, i agree that better trainees are produced from formal training courses. But that should be the buyer's option. Ultimately the exam represents the benchmark and if someone can exceed it without training, good on them I say.


I absolutely accept that self-study is a valid, and sometimes only decision for many. I was questioning who benefits from APMG's rules, and it is APMG who benefits. Very few training companies will produce distance learning courses. If passing the exams is hard, then every re-sit benefits APMG.
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

APMG's Buddies

["If someone is from the third world where even for well-paid IT people an ITIL course represents a month's pay, or if someone is smart enough to teach themsleves from the books and doesn't see why they should pay for training, then why should certification not be distinct from training."]

This is 100% correct. And it is what APMG hate, because they cannot squeeze their profit out of the situation.

It is why they have made it so hard to self-study, with latest twist being the scandalous Prometric withdrawel.

Drip by drip they are killing ITIL in the name of greed.

I still cannot believe the stupidity of the OGC in giving it to them, given that the whole process was showcased with the failure of Prince2.

How does APMG benefit?

Of course anyone can teach themselves from the books - and congratulations to those who do - I find that approach hard. But APMG makes no money from training courses - these are provided by accredited training organisations, who are accredited by one of the Examination institutes. APMG makes money from people sitting exams - and they make that money whether it is Pro-metric or an invigilated exam at the end of a course. APMG controls the questions for ALL exams. I am sure that they are very keen for the exams to be on Pro-Metric, because they will make their % on every exam sat. What they do NOT want is for exams to be restricted to invigilated sessions, or exams needing expensive moderation, because they have failed to get the quality right.

APMG want lots of people to sit the exams - and if they fail to resit them. That is how they make money.
I do not disagree with the remark about APMG's approach, but the Pro-metric withdrawal dammaged their income.
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

APMG's key constituencies

I'm not sure and I'd like to hear more. i find it unlikely that the ATOs pay nothing for accreditation, so one of APMG's key constituencies does not like self-study. Even if a simple revenue calculation shows one thing, the politics of the environment in which APMG operates will show another

Cost of accreditation

ATOs do pay for accreditation, but this money does not go to APMG. It goes to whichever examination institute gives you the accreditation. For ISEB, for 3 years it is £3000. You may be accredited with ISEB or EXIN or Loyalist or Dansk or Loyalist or APMG-the-Examination-institute (as opposed to APMG the Accreditor.) The Examination Institutes will lose money as a result of no longer setting or marking papers, but just ordering exams from APMG.

As an ATO, of course I believe in class-based teaching, but I am do not consider myself to be one of APMG's constituencies! far from it.

Richard Pharro, the MD of APMG attended a session of the ISEB Accredited Training Organisations last week. The Q&A session, although polite, clearly showed that we are not in thrall to APMG - instead there was a lot of criticism about lack of consultation, poor quality control etc.

Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

APMG's revenue base

Yes to be precise the trainees pay the ATO who pay the EI who pay APMG. I missed out one step in the chain, but ultimately I believe training is still a significant part of APMG's revenue base.

ISO20000 has been pretty slow so far

ISO20000 has been pretty slow so far. Just like ITIL V3, the only real interest is the big end of town. I suspect a bad mis-fit to the market's requirements. Will blog on this one day

ISO 20K certification

From what I have been told (I have to admit I have no ISO20K exam experience) the certification is not a gift, but I do not like the flexibility that's offered: In Holland, EDS has received the certification for one service for one customer ... I believe they (EDS) are not allowed to promote this certificate for other goals - given the specific and limited(?) achievement, but I think that area is very grey ...

This sounds to me as a "quick win" kind of compromise in order to obtain a minimum buy in from larger companies. If this is the way the ISO20K game needs to be played, I can't hide my doubts regarding the survival or even influence potential in the long run ...

Again, I am not an expert so I would love to stand corrected on the subject

Scope of certification


ISO are working on some guidance in this area. It is the responsibility of the certifying body to ensure the scope statement is accurate and clear and for the auditor to make a professional judgment about the applicability of the standard. There is some additionnal ISO guidance in the pipeline about the acceptable scope when part of a service is outsourced, and whether certification can be attained by the outsourcer or by the customer organisation. The key is that whoever is certified has to agve fill managment control over all the processes for a service.

A situation that has been highlighted, as an example, is where a supplier does provide all the processes, but not to all their customers. As an example they might provide a help desk as part of their service portfolio, but a customer might source their helpdesk from another supplier. Could they then still claim certification for the service they provide to that customer?

The quick win approach could be a valid one, if for instance you want to apply ISO/IEC 20000 to a new service you are introducing or a new contract. Or it could be, as one organisation I've worked with, that you treat the ISO 20000 services as an elite part of your service so that other service aspire to "join the club".

What is obviously not acceptable is to obtain certification for a small standaone service, and then portray to the world that it applies to all the services you offer.

Perish the thought

ooh imagine the marketing people from such a company - certified ISO20000 in one small area - implying that they were generally an ISO20000 company. I'm sure that would never happen. After all it has never happened with any certification before has it? i mean like, say, marketing people saying their products are ITIL "certified" by PinkVerify for example...

And I can't imagine their presales people ever casually dropping into a presentation how "we were recently ISO20000 certified in Holland" without stopping the presentation to ensure the audience clearly understood the finer nuances of that certification.

Perish the thought.

It takes time

It is not so easy to be certified, especially if you want to take it seriously. I have recommended ISO 20000 as a long term goal. It is not realistic short term goal for those who are struggling with the basic processes. ISO 20000 is a useful benchmark or yardstick. Actual certification is not important for internal organizations but they should try to achieve that level.

Certification can be highly contagious. First some service providers start using their certificate in marketing. Next phase is that the requirement appears in requests for offers and then all providers in the marketplace have to get it. In the third phase management wants to now why their internal IT department does not have the certificate that everybody is talking about.

someone please set me right

I'm not sure I'm right here - EXIN and ISEB are still on Prometric. A search on Prometric for "ITIL" yields nothing much, so at the very least Prometric your user interface sucks guys, but is ITIL V3 Foundation online certification available via Prometric? if I'm wrong or off beam here, someone please set me right.

Exams on Pro-Metric etc.

The V2 exams have always been available on Pro-Metric. The V3 exams were made available, then this was suspended, as further moderation was required before results were released.We were told this should be only temporary (in February) so I would expect it to end very soon.

Exin, ISEB and Pro-Metric are taking stick on this although it is completely out of their hands.
Expect the same to happen with each new V3 qualification
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Open Exams

Completely agree about the online exams being removed. Last time I checked it wasn't clear whether the V2 Foundation exam was V2 or V3 which I'm sure has lead to confusion.
In the UK there is an opportunity for self-study and then attending the Open Exam days run by APMG.

RE: ISO 20K & ITIL Cert Schemes

Fellow Skeptics:
Does anyone have an idea when Exin / ACPs will be inclined to offer ISO 20000 "Professional Level" certifications per their Certification Scheme? It is really hard to believe Auditors have any credibility if the "scheme" allows a direct path from Foundation to Auditor. On the ITIL "maximize profits" perspective: Absolutely correct - I am convinced their process is modelled after U.S. financial institution scams!

ITSM according to ISO/IEC 20000 Professional Levels

EXIN and TÜV SÜD Akademie have developed the Professional Level (5 modules) in 2008 which some training providers are already offering. Also, most of them are now preparing their courses for accreditation and more training offerings are to be expected in 2009.

Indeed the professional level is a necessary step in between to become an auditor. As a prerequisite for the internal auditor training & exam one is expected to have both knowledge and understanding of the ISO/IEC 20000 and ITSM in general. In practice this means one has to pass at least the professional exam for managing and improving plus two of the professionals for the process areas. If you have already certificates in either auditing or ITSM you can shorten your path by one of the many Side Entry routes in this program.

Best regards,


based on what???

Why would an institute like EXIN develop a professional level exam in ISO20k?

Based on what: on 15 pages of text? The only serious value-add book on ISO20k is the Introduction. For practitioners you may look at the Roadmap book. But those are not 'official' books, they just represent best practice guidance. Still, you find these and other books in the Literature list of the exams (even though they are erraneously attributed to the wrong authors....)

And based on what business case? As long as everyone still runs blindly after the ITIL machine, ISO20k will not stand a chance - despite of its quality. It's like the story of Sony's Betamax video standard versus JVC's VHS. The VHS system won that battle, but not because it was better....

EXIN obviously is interested in stimulating a market here: not because there is a decent business case, but because people need to be able to choose in an open market.

Online exams

EXIN offers online exams. You can go every day of the week to Utrecht and pass your exam online there or contact an EXIN Accredited Exam Center to pass your exam.
The AEC's have, as far as I know, freedom in accepting or refusing you if you come for an exam session only. The great advantage (compared to Pearson Vue or Prometric) of EXIN online exams is that if an exam exist in your local language, it's also available via the online exam feature.

The possibility of taking an exam without having followed training is restricted to the Foundation and Foundation Bridge exams

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