We now live in such a fast-paced and ever-changing world that both businesses and individuals need to be more agile, be constantly ready, and equipped with the right skills in order to survive. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought digital disruption and new technologies with it, and one consequence is the need to adopt and accept new ways of working.
For us at AXELOS, one consequence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is ITIL 4 – an update to ITIL v3 (2011 Edition) – that will help organizations, IT service management (ITSM) professionals, and others working in the digital world tackle the challenges brought on by digital disruption.
What’s new in ITIL 4?
ITIL 4 still includes those elements from previous versions of ITIL that remain very much fundamental to service management and ITSM. But it also provides a new digital operating model – a basis that’s both practical and flexible, which is designed to help organizations on their digital journey. Plus, the impact of technology on business, and the integration of ITIL best practice with Agile, DevOps, and digital transformation all play a role in the new framework.
The key elements of ITIL 4 are the four dimensions, the guiding principles, the move from processes to practices, and the ITIL service value system.
ITIL 4 puts service management into a strategic context by looking at ITSM, development, operations, business relationships, and governance holistically. And because ITIL 4 brings these different functions together it has evolved into an integrated model for digital service management.
Service Value System
The service value system (SVS) is a key part of ITIL 4 and facilitates value co-creation. It shows how all the components and activities of an organization work together for the creation of value. The SVS has interfaces with other organizations, and thus forms an ecosystem through which it can create value for those organizations, their stakeholders, and customers.
The service value chain is the centerpiece of the SVS. It’s a flexible operating model for creating, delivering, and continuous improving of services. There are six key activities within the service value chain: plan; improve; engage; design and transition; obtain/build; and deliver and support. These activities can be combined in different sequences. Therefore, the service value chain allows an organization to define a number of variants of value streams, such as the service lifecycle from ITIL v3.Source: AXELOS, “ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 Edition” (2019)
As the service value chain is flexible, it means that an organization can effectively and efficiently react to changing demands from stakeholders.
The four dimensions
ITIL 4 is all about a holistic approach to service management. Because of this, the framework defines four dimensions that are critical to creating value for stakeholders including customers.
These four dimensions are
- Organizations and people – the corporate culture needs to support an organization’s objectives, and the right level of staff capacity and competency.
- Information and technology – within the SVS, this refers to the information, knowledge, and technologies that are needed for the management of services.
- Partners and suppliers – the suppliers that are involved in the design, deployment, delivery, support, and continual improvement of services and their relationship to the organization.
- Value streams and processes – are the different parts of the organization working in an integrated and coordinated way? This is important for the creation of value through products and services.
An appropriate amount of focus needs to go into each of these dimensions such that the SVS remains balanced and effective.
The guiding principles are not new. ITIL 4 now has seven (rather than the previous nine), which are meant to help IT professionals adopt and adapt the framework to their own needs and circumstances. They should be followed at every stage of service delivery and enable professionals to approach and navigate difficult decisions.
The seven ITIL 4 guiding principles are:
- Focus on value
- Start where you are
- Progress iteratively with feedback
- Collaborate and promote visibility
- Think and work holistically
- Keep it simple and practical
- Optimize and automate.
From processes to practices
ITIL has previously used “processes” to manage IT services. ITIL 4 expands the processes into “practices.” These share the same value and importance as the current ITIL processes. Through the processes, elements such as culture, technology, information, and data management can be considered to get a holistic vision of the ways of working.
The SVS includes 34 management practices. They are sets of organizational resources for performing work or accomplishing an objective.
From ITIL v3 to ITIL 4
ITIL 4 will help IT professionals compete in an increasingly complex market and ensure that they stay relevant. Start building your career with ITIL or get reaccredited from ITIL v3 to demonstrate your digital skills and meet your career goals. It’s only a small step from v3 to 4 but it will be a big step for your career.
Akshay Anand is an IT service management professional, with over 13 years' global experience in designing and implementing ITSM , and managing IT services. He has extensive experience in delivering ITSM transformations, leveraging tools such as ServiceNow and holds the ITIL Expert Certification. He is currently the ITSM Service Architect and Product Manager at AXELOS.