Deeper Insight into the Current State of ITIL 4 Adoption

ITIL 4 Adoption
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In my previous article – ITIL 4 Adoption Levels, the News Will Surprise Many – I presented the results of the ITSM.tools ITIL 4 adoption survey. Feel free to click through to read those finding first. For example, in the first half of 2020, 20% of organizations were already adopting or using ITIL 4, with another 32.5% planning to do so. I also promised to revisit the results to look at the correlations between the different questions. For instance, to establish the different views on ITIL 4 and its adoption across different role types.

This article presents some of the identified correlations. Many will be expected but some might surprise you. Please keep reading to find out more.

Here @StephenMann dives deeper into our recent ITIL 4 survey results to look at some of the correlations between the questions to help establish the different views on ITIL 4 and its adoption across different role types. #ITIL #ITIL4 Click To Tweet

A quick overview of the questions

To appreciate the correlations, there’s a need to know the five questions:

  1. What do you know about ITIL 4?
  2. What are your personal plans for ITIL 4?
  3. What are your workplace plans for ITIL 4?
  4. Do you expect organizations to realize benefits from ITIL 4?
  5. What is your IT service management (ITSM) role?

Some of the expected correlations

Most of us can use our common sense and our industry experience to predict how some questions will be correlated. For example, respondents who stated that they have “No interest in ITIL 4” will undoubtedly have “No (personal) plans for ITIL 4” (look at the orange in Chart 1). Plus, at a stretch, that they would also have “No (workplace) plans for ITIL 4” – because, otherwise, it would require them to have at least some interest in it personally. It should also be no surprise that those who “Don’t know their personal plans for ITIL 4” also “Don’t know their workplace plans for ITIL 4.”

Chart 1: Question 1 and Question 2
Chart 1 plots: What do you know about ITIL 4? versus What are your personal plans for ITIL 4?

Another expected connection is that a respondent who “Knows a lot about ITIL 4” is likely to have “Taken an ITIL 4 exam already” (look at the gray in Chart 1) and, from a workplace perspective, their workplace has “Already adopted or adopting parts of ITIL 4” or is “Planning to adopt parts of ITIL 4.” Or that those who “Know too little about ITIL 4” are likely to “Take an ITIL 4 exam” or “Simply read up on ITIL 4.”

Here @StephenMann takes a look into some of the deeper insights from the results of @ITSM_tools' five-question #ITIL4 adoption survey. #ITSM Click To Tweet

Again unsurprisingly, respondents that have “No interest in ITIL 4 adoption” think that “It will be wasted effort” (see the orange in Chart 2). Similarly, those with “No plans for ITIL 4” in the main think that there will be “No change” or “It will be wasted effort” (this is when question 2 and question 4 are compared). The yellow and the light blue in Chart 2 also show the link between having ITIL 4 knowledge and the expectations of benefits. Although, this can be thought of as a “chicken and egg” scenario. Did the benefits expectations drive knowledge acquisition or vice versa?

Chart 2: Question 1 and Question 4
Chart 2 plots: What do you know about ITIL 4? versus Do you expect organizations to realize benefits from ITIL 4?

As shown in Chart 3 below, it’s logical that respondents who have “No workplace plans for ITIL 4” are more likely to have “No (personal) plans for ITIL 4” or “Will simply read up on ITIL 4.” Again this is potentially another “chicken and egg” situation – although I’d imagine that workplace plans are more likely to drive personal plans than the other way round.

Chart 3: Question 2 and Question 3
This chart plots: What are your personal plans for ITIL 4? versus What are your workplace plans for ITIL 4?

A final “obvious” link, which isn’t shown in the above charts, is that respondents who have “Already adopted or are adopting parts of ITIL 4” or are “Planning to adopt parts of ITIL 4” all – without exception – expect ITIL 4 to deliver benefits (both “Yes, incremental benefits” and “Yes, significant benefits”). Which has to be a great sign of the ITIL 4 content inspiring ITSM improvement.

Here are some of the surprises

While much, if not all, of the above might have been expected, some correlations are at least interesting, perhaps even insightful. Many of these relate to role type. For example, the “Knows too little about ITIL 4” responses are distributed relatively evenly across role types (the light blue in Chart 4). Although, you would expect someone who “Advises on the development of ITSM practices” to “Know a lot about ITIL 4” (the dark blue). However, it’s interesting to see that the few respondents who have “No interest in ITIL 4 adoption” all “Lead or oversee the development of ITSM practices” (the yellow). Could this simply be an anti-ITIL mindset or is it a communication and education gap (or perhaps the result of previous bad experiences)?

An @ITSM_tools #ITIL4 survey shows that those who stated they have 'no interest in ITIL 4' all 'lead or oversee the development of #ITSM practices.' Click To Tweet
Chart 4: Question 5 and Question 1
This chart plots: What is your ITSM role? versus What do you know about ITIL 4?

Also, in the above chart, those who “Didn’t know there was an ITIL 4” are in roles that either “Apply the ITSM practices” or “Have no role with ITSM practices” (the orange). The latter is to be expected, but again is the former the sign of another communication gap? And proportionally fewer “I apply the ITSM practices” role types “Know a lot about ITIL 4” (the dark blue). They mostly know just enough – which is probably related to their immediate role needs.

Does this @ITSM_tools #ITIL4 survey data highlight a communication gap between the best practice and those who work in #ITSM roles? Click To Tweet

Interestingly, no one who “Didn’t know there was an ITIL 4” or “Knows too little about ITIL 4” thought “It will be wasted effort” (shown in the earlier Chart 2). And, as shown in Chart 5 below, the positive expectations of the benefits of ITIL 4 adoption are relatively equally distributed across all role types (the light blue and yellow). I’d bet few would have predicted this. It also backs up the fact that a good proportion of the respondents who “Have no role with ITSM practices” will still take an ITIL 4 exam. With no one in an “I have no role with ITSM practices” role-type thinking that ITIL 4 will be wasted effort (the orange in Chart 5).

Chart 5: Question 5 and Question 4
This chart plots: What is your ITSM role? versus Do you expect organizations to realize benefits from ITIL 4?

So, these are some of the deeper insights from the results of our five-question ITIL 4 adoption survey. Did anything surprise you? Please let me know in the comments.

Principal Analyst & Content Director at ITSM.tools | Website

Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.

Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.

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