ITIL Intermediate: Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO)

Group of IT service managers looking at data on their laptos and tablets

ITIL® Intermediate’s Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO) module compels practitioners to think about the practical details of providing an IT service.

In other words, once you have crafted the right service design what are the practicalities and implications of implementing the service? Are you aware of the capacity available and resources to support that service?

Failing to think about such important, practical topics can have an immediate impact on the customer, potential customer or user.

Here’s one example for you: Imagine a car hire application that requires the customer to send a photo of their driving licence to reserve a vehicle. Already, this single decision has the implication of restricting the market to people who know how to take a photo with their device and send it via email or another messaging system.

PPO and IT services in organizations today

PPO governs the practical realization of a service design and, for that reason, it remains relevant as ever to organizations in 2019 – particularly in view of the increasing adoption of cloud storage options and security requirements.

The skills contained in PPO allow you to gain a full understanding of what you need to support a service and therefore influence the agreement with a cloud service provider before going live.

If you can agree capacity plans for cloud services in advance, the more cost-effective it is in the long-run. Having access to the cloud gives you the ability to pay for what you need without over-paying for surplus capacity; a shift from the previous system of mostly on-site resources that were over-scoped and therefore over-charged.

PPO – specific skills

Those ITSM practitioners who are studying PPO and are mainly process-driven can learn more about the technical implications of services, while the more technical among them can obtain an even deeper dive into the technology elements.

In particular, certifying in PPO gives you an insight into:

  • A deep dive into service availability
  • Planning for capacity
  • The difference between capacity and availability
  • Security – fast becoming a topic important of itself and emphasized in PPO
  • Disaster recovery – seeing things from the perspective of modern IT architectures.

And there is a direct connection with other IT methods and frameworks: for example, ISO27001 information security standard, AXELOS’ M_o_R® (Management of Risk) and PRINCE2® for resource management.

Frankly, I think PPO is a “career changer” for people working in IT and responsible for service availability. Solution architects are only one group that would greatly benefit from PPO, but there is plenty on offer for a whole range of different practitioners across many IT roles.

Read more Blog Posts in our series covering the ITIL Intermediate modules

ITIL Intermediate: Service Transition – making IT change less painful

ITIL Intermediate: Service Strategy – towards better business and customer outcomes

ITIL Intermediate v3 Service Operation – keeping the lights on

ITIL Intermediate v3: Service Design – enabling value creation

ITIL Intermediate – Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)

ITIL Intermediate: Release, control, validation – many happy releases

ITIL Intermediate: a pathway to ITIL 4 – Continual Service Improvement

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Nikola Gaydarov

Agile ITSM: speed, transparency and customer involvement

ITSM into 2018: drinking from the well of training and development

What is Agile ITSM and what does it need to be successful?


The content of ITIL v3 Intermediate modules is key for professionals working in ITSM today due to the essential knowledge they contain, creating increased understanding and the ability to handle immediate work challenges more effectively.

Also ITIL-certified practitioners wanting to gain accreditation in the new ITIL 4 guidance can get a helping hand from the existing v3 credit system. By obtaining 17 credits from any combination of the ITIL Intermediate modules or ITIL Practitioner you can take the new Transition Module to achieve ITIL 4 Managing Professional. More information about ITIL 4 Managing Professional will be released throughout the second half of 2019.

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ITIL Intermediate Service Strategy Core Guidance

Read the Planning, Protection and Optimization handbook to learn more about the content of this ITIL Intermediate module.

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