Using ITIL 4 to Manage Risks

ITIL 4 risk management

Let’s talk about ITIL 4 risk management. In this challenging time, leaders need to ask themselves two key questions: How do we cope with the COVID-19 crisis? And how do we ensure that next time we are ready? In a situation where physical interaction is not possible, and digital means of communication, collaboration, and work have become even more crucial than before, these questions are inevitably related to the ways an organization utilizes its digital capabilities. And when it comes to digital, ITIL is a source of advice. In particular, ITIL 4 risk management guidance.

To help – in terms of content areas – this article points to where to look for good practice for the volatile today and uncertain tomorrow.

In this article @jour_civil asks how do we cope with the #COVID19 crisis, and how do we ensure that next time we're ready? #ITIL4 Click To Tweet

How do we cope with the crisis?

As one could expect, the most obvious consideration is continuity management. Service continuity management should have ensured that the organization is ready for any disaster of high probability and impact. If this were the case, the organization would now operate in a “safe mode,” something which has been largely planned and tested. If not specifically for the current situation, then for this type of crisis. Unfortunately, many organizations were not sufficiently prepared and have had to adjust their work to the new circumstances here and now. ITIL 4 risk management would have helped too.

Which ITIL practices can help now? And not just ITIL 4 risk management

First of all, all of the following ITIL practices are focused on risks:

  • Risk management – this provides a common approach to the reassessment of risks and the planning of countermeasures.
  • Information security management, availability management, and capacity and performance management – applying these consistently ensures that the organization has sufficient understanding of its resources, vulnerabilities, and opportunities.
  • Architecture management, workforce and talent management, supplier management, and relationship management – these help to maintain an effective position in the business ecosystem and to ensure that the organization is adjusting to the external changes.

Then, due to the extra demand for digital services, the situation is putting extra pressure on incident management, service desk, infrastructure and platform management, and software development and management.

Essentially, every aspect of service management is affected, and every practice should contribute to an organization’s resilience, recovery, and evolution. The crisis will go away, and organizations will have to reconsider their strategies and architectures for the new version of normal. Which brings us to the next question and the introduction of ITIL 4 risk management.

The crisis will go away, and organizations will have to reconsider their strategies and architectures for the new version of normal, says @jour_civil #COVID19 #ITSM Click To Tweet

How do we ensure that next time we are ready?

Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (collectively known as VUCA in the ITIL 4 risk management guidance) within the business environment will never go away. The days of detailed long-term planning are long gone, and those organizations that were in denial about this are now forced to reconsider their position. Those that embraced VUCA earlier, are better prepared for the current situation.

Organizations now need to become agile and resilient. This means that, on the one hand, they need to be able to move and adapt quickly, flexibly, and decisively to support internal changes. On the other, they need to be able to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and adapt to both incremental changes and sudden disruptions from an external perspective.

This article from @AXELOS_GBP looks at how various ITIL 4 practices will help your organization to better assess and manage risks. #ITIL4 #COVID19 Click To Tweet

Resilient and agile organizations can cope much better with changes, including the large-scale ones: they’re able to adjust their operating models quickly and smoothly. This means they have a much wider range of “normal operations” and the need to activate a continuity plan usually comes much later.

The key ITIL 4 practices enabling organizational agility and resilience are:

  • ITIL 4 strategy management
  • ITIL 4 knowledge management
  • ITIL 4 architecture management
  • ITIL 4 workforce and talent management
  • ITIL 4 risk management
  • ITIL 4 relationship management.
The effective management of digital services will be crucial in ensuring an organization’s readiness for new changes and risks, says @jour_civil. #ITSM Click To Tweet

The current pandemic has so far highlighted the importance of digital technology for every organization and household. The effective management of digital services using IT service management (ITSM) will be crucial in ensuring an organization’s readiness for new changes and risks. ITIL 4 provides practical and up-to-date guidance which can help organizations to become and remain agile, resilient, and sustainable in our constantly changing world. Why not start with the ITIL 4 risk management guidance.

The ITIL 4 practice guides, including ITIL 4 risk management, are available in My AXELOS. Candidates who are sitting an ITIL exam get 12-months access to My AXELOS.

If you liked this ITIL 4 risk management article, the following ITIL articles might be of interest too.

Roman Jouravlev
ITSM Portfolio Development Manager at AXELOS

Roman is an ITSM Portfolio Development Manager, responsible for the ITIL continual development. He joined AXELOS in 2016 after working for more than 15 years in ITSM, mostly in Russia, as a trainer, consultant, quality manager, and service desk manager.

Roman has authored and translated several books and many articles on IT management. An ITIL v2 Service Manager and ITIL Expert, he has delivered nearly every ITIL certification training available since 2002.

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