What Does 2020 Hold for ITIL 4 and Its Adoption?

ITIL4 a Crowdsourced Perspective
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As with the late-2019 “ITSM Trends in 2020 – the Crowdsourced Perspective,” this article takes a crowdsourced approach to find out where we collectively think ITIL 4 is heading in 2020 and beyond. Again, I’ve asked a variety of knowledgeable industry people – from IT service management (ITSM) tool vendor personnel, through industry analysts, to a training service provider and AXELOS’s product ambassador – to offer up their thoughts for this crowdsourced article.

This article shares the views from a selection of #ITSM tool vendor personnel, through industry analysts, to a training service provider on what impact they think #ITIL4 will have in 2020. Click To Tweet

So, What Does the “Crowd” Think 2020 Holds for ITIL 4?

The question for everyone to answer was: “How do you see ITIL 4 impacting the ITSM industry over the next few years?” and the following contributions on ITIL 4 are listed in the order in which they were received – the good old fashioned first come, first served method. I’ve only edited them lightly.

Akshay Anand Photo

Akshay Anand, Product Ambassador, AXELOS

ITIL 4 is a reflection of broader, and often localized, trends in the IT and ITSM industry. These include increasing acceptance of risk, new ways of working and sharing knowledge, and reorientation toward a software-centric enterprise. Other trends to keep an eye out for are the adoption of new and emerging technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, etc.) and the rise of enterprise service management. ITIL 4 has been architected to help companies maintain an established way of working that has provided value for the last decade, as well as a way to meet these trends in the subsequent decade.”

ITIL 4 has been architected to help companies maintain an established way of working that has provided value for the last decade, as well as a way to meet these trends in the subsequent decade – @BloreBoy #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Claire Agutter Photo

Claire Agutter, Director, ITSM.zone and Scopism

“For most ITSM practitioners, the full impact of ITIL 4 is unclear because of the way in which the materials are being released. As I write this, the Foundation manual and associated training have been available for some time, but the higher-level courses and manuals aren’t fully available yet. The ITIL 4 Foundation contains some challenging material, and I do wonder if it can be seen as an ‘entry-level’ course in its current form.

Take up for ITIL 4 training and examinations has been good (although not as strong as the change from ITIL v2 to v3 – perhaps a reflection of the increased complexity of our market and showing that training budget is being spent on other areas like DevOps and Agile). The new courses need to be clearly linked to IT careers to be successful.

It’s going to take the ITSM industry a while to understand that ITIL 4 is a very different beast to previous versions. The focus is much more strategic, and there’s been a deliberate shift of focus away from the processes that many people associate with ITIL. Detailed practice guides are available via AXELOS.com, but the manuals and training place a much stronger emphasis on value streams and the service value system. How these changes are adopted in the real world remains to be seen and must be placed in the wider context of conversations about the future of service management and how it needs to evolve.”

It’s going to take the ITSM industry a while to understand that ITIL 4 is a very different beast to previous versions – @ClaireAgutter #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Geoff Rees, Director of Sales & Operations, Sunrise

“It’s refreshing to see IT practices embracing wider business areas and participants. To a degree, ITIL 4 is perhaps a little behind the curve of what so many of our customers are already doing; appreciating the values of other departments, looking to extend practices beyond IT, interacting with customers more, and sharing the benefit of management information across the organization. We welcome the formalization of a more open IT environment in all senses; ITIL 4 may not be a “big bang,” but it’s a recognition of current trends and provides a useful philosophy for the future of IT and its place within the organization. We expect to see its influence increasing more over the next few years.”

To a degree, ITIL 4 is perhaps a little behind the curve of what so many of our customers are already doing – @SunriserGeoff #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Roy Atkinson Photo

Roy Atkinson, Service Management and Support Industry Analyst, HDI

“Through the 2011 version of ITIL, one of its main effects was to give IT professionals a common language. Those of us in the industry can say ‘incident management’ and we have at least a general grasp of what’s meant.

The language changes in ITIL 4, I believe, are what will have the largest impact. Rather than focusing on getting the processes right, the language itself suggests that we should be focusing on the production and addition of value to both our business and its customers. IT is being prompted to see itself as having value and being part of the “co-creation” of value. Taken to heart, this is a large change and should make a difference to the way ITSM practitioners think about their work.”

The language changes in ITIL 4, I believe, are what will have the largest impact (on the industry) – @RoyAtkinson #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Scarlett Bayes Photo

Scarlett Bayes, Senior Research Analyst, Service Desk Institute (SDI)

“According to SDI Insight data, when asked which qualifications service desk professionals planned to undertake over the next 12 months, the proportion who highlighted ITIL 4 mirrored the statistic we saw looking to undertake ITIL v3 in 2017. Not only does this show that ITIL 4 is not necessarily more in demand than ITIL v3, but it also shows that ITIL v3 remained a relevant and consistently attained qualification until it was retired. This could signify that ITIL 4 will remain as popular over the years, and as this version will be frequently updated, perhaps uptake will increase as more iterations are released.”

When asked which qualifications #servicedesk pros planned to undertake over the next 12 months, the proportion who highlighted ITIL 4 mirrored the statistic @SDI_Institute saw looking to undertake ITIL v3 in 2017 – @SDIScarlett #ITSM Click To Tweet
Liz Beavers

Liz Beavers, Senior Solutions Engineer, ITSM, SolarWinds

“What I’ve noticed most since the release of ITIL 4 is that it has made ITIL a more approachable framework for IT teams. Regardless of experience or maturity, I frequently hear customers wanting to adopt or implement the ITIL framework. The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4 have opened up ITIL for broader interpretation as it aligns with a given organization. This enables teams to use these best practices as recommendations for how to make the services they provide better for their employees—regardless of which department is fulfilling a given service.

This cross-departmental involvement is another key impact following the release of ITIL 4. With this shift, there’s been an increase in IT teams including stakeholders from other departments at the start of ITSM evaluations. Involving these stakeholders early on speaks to the heightened collaboration and extensibility that ITIL 4 propagates. We’re seeing a breakdown of silos as teams recognize the importance of culture: allowing for processes to be adapted and tailored to suit the broader organization’s needs.”

What I’ve noticed most since the release of ITIL 4 is that it has made ITIL a more approachable framework for IT teams – Liz Beaver, @SolarWindsITSM #ITSM #ITIL4 Click To Tweet
Elad Baron

Elad Baron, Senior Professional Services Consultant, SysAid

“One of the key impacts I see ITIL 4 having on the ITSM industry in the coming years is a move from the theory (that was so sound in principle in v3 but not always so simple to adopt) into practice. With ITIL 4’s iterative approach, focus on the co-creation of value, and incorporation of other methodologies such as DevOps and Agile, it promises to be an approach that can be adopted by organizations of all sizes.”

One of the key impacts I see ITIL 4 having on the ITSM industry in the coming years is a move from the theory (that was so sound in principle in v3 but not always so simple to adopt) into practice – Elad Baron, @SysAid #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet

Ashwin Ram, ITSM Evangelist, ManageEngine

“ITIL 4 will allow business leaders to get the most out of digital transformation. For years, the process-driven delivery model has restricted IT’s role to fixing issues for other departments. But given the digital transformation mandate, CIOs and IT leaders are now shifting to a value-driven delivery model. In the coming years, ITIL 4 will be the guideline for businesses embarking on this journey. With the introduction of the service value system and the emphasis on value co-creation, ITIL 4 will change the way businesses design and deliver services to their employees and customers.”

ITIL 4 will allow business leaders to get the most out of digital transformation – Ashwin Ram, @ManageEngine #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Ian Aitchison

Ian Aitchison, Senior Product Director, Ivanti

“Firstly, very little. New ITIL changes tend to exist in the presenter/thought-leader/opinion-maker space for a long time while everyone else just gets on with doing real work. So, the impact mostly at this point is “Something New to Talk About.” But that’s not a bad thing, it’s an important topic.

Marketing teams will be (are) churning out tons of content, some very good, some less good. There is no shortage of things to say. It just needs time to percolate down into practitioner activity.

Although ITIL 4 is not really a vendor-led thing, it’s great that vendors were involved in the ITIL 4 creation process this time around. Tools mostly are already able to support and facilitate new ITIL 4 concepts. Look for vendors changing terminology, shifting to use practices and value chains and other ITIL 4 terms inside ITSM tools. We can expect the future ITIL 4 PinkVERIFY toolset assessment to drive vendor product-level changes in terminology and object-definition changes. But these are (mostly) cosmetic.

Of course, on top of this, vendors will be messaging their individual unique strengths that fit well against individually selected ITIL 4 competencies and practices.

As with earlier iterations, a good quantity of overall body of work remains training/education and rarely makes it into common real implementation. This is OK again. The core concepts define our industry, and some new concepts or direction in ITIL 4 certainly will impact our industry.

So, what impacts most outside of all these presentations, workshops, and webinars?

  1. The guiding principles. These are already being picked up and followed by service management professionals. They’re easy to apply and are changing behavior already.
  2. Within these principles, the biggest impact… automation. ITIL 4 finally recognizes the real importance of using technology deliberately to unify, automate, and integrate toward a Unified ITSM future.
  3. Also, I have to say, the excellent Create Deliver and Support guide. There are very good real-world recommendations into real working practices that everyone can start to implement today.

Will ITIL 4 have an impact? Yes, gradually. Is ITIL 4 important? Yes. Is it perfect? No, but the good bits are very good and – just like a delicious crispy apple – you don’t have to eat the bad bits.”

ITIL 4 will have very little impact on the #ITSM industry in 2020. New ITIL changes tend to exist in the presenter/thought-leader space for a long time while everyone else just gets on with doing real work – @IanAitchison Click To Tweet

Ravi Tharisayi, Head of Product Marketing, Jira Service Desk, Atlassian

“ITIL 4 represents a significant shift for IT teams from rigid frameworks to more flexible and adaptive approaches. Best practices for DevOps and Agile will continue to influence ITSM as ITIL 4 transitions from concept to proven practice. High performing organizations will shift focus from complex tools and strict processes to building a healthy team culture and practices based on collaboration, transparency, and iterative transformation. In the age of cloud and digital transformation, ITIL 4 practices such as change enablement, incident management, and release management are evolving to better manage the risk of not innovating fast enough.

You can access practical tips on bringing agility and collaboration into ITSM by downloading Atlassian’s Guide to ITIL 4.

ITIL 4 represents a significant shift for IT teams from rigid frameworks to more flexible and adaptive approaches – @rthar #ITSM #ITIL4 Click To Tweet
John Prestridge

John Prestridge, CMO and Senior VP of North America, EasyVista

“All organizations today are dealing with digital transformation and delivering value to their customers. ITIL has evolved with version 4 to provide organizations with an easier user framework for defining value streams that support enterprise service management and to support digital transformation. This new service and value-centric approach will increase interest in adoption. Over the next few years, there’ll be an opportunity for all size organizations to take advantage of ITIL 4 to optimize service management processes across the enterprise.

This expanded use of best practices frameworks across all sizes of organizations provides the ITSM industry an opportunity to deliver solutions that automate processes across the enterprise, including in HR, facilities, customer service, operations, and beyond. The new era of service management automation will require vendors to provide solutions that are much more agile and designed to deliver a better digital experience that connects ITIL processes with employees and customers in a way that offers significant value. Service management platforms will not only have to continue to deliver methods for building complex workflows, robust integrations with other systems, and reporting, but also leverage AI to support advanced analytics and natural language processing and the ability to support microapps for personalizing engagement with processes based on role in the organization.

It’s an exciting time for service management as more companies start to leverage automation beyond the service desk and begin to realize the benefits of the value-centric approach to ITIL 4.”

ITIL has evolved with version 4 to provide organizations with an easier user framework for defining value streams that support enterprise service management and to support digital transformation – John Prestridge, @EasyVista #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet
Alfredo Deambrosi, Perspectium

Alfredo Deambrosi, Content Marketing Manager, Perspectium

“The holistic approach to, and emphasis on, value creation – which summarizes the change from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4 – means that, over the next few years, ITIL-adopting companies will be adopting an even more holistic approach to ITSM strategy. Specific ITIL 4 updates reveal this emphasis:

  • The new service value system explains how activities across the organization – and into other organizations – collaborate to create that value.
  • Value streams and processes, one of the four new dimensions of ITIL 4, highlights the need for various departments within an organization to work in an integrated way.
  • The new guiding principles include calls to ‘collaborate and promote visibility,’ to ‘think and work holistically,’ and to ‘optimize and automate.’

With ITIL 4’s focus on value co-creation, companies will be giving even more attention to breaking down silos across the organization, and especially between the IT organization, their customers, and their providers. (Even the shift from ITIL v3 processes to ITIL 4 practices was made to account for a more holistic view of the organization.) Two practical applications of a holistically coordinated organization emerge:

  • First, businesses will be looking to automate the sharing of service management data, making that data visible and available to the relevant departments and external organizations that need actionable insights in order to collaborate.
  • Second, organizations will move toward automating connections between departments and between themselves and their customers and suppliers.

These enhancements toward a more holistic approach will help service management to be more agile, adapting to changing demands that the next few years will bring.”

With ITIL 4’s focus on value co-creation, companies will be giving even more attention to breaking down silos across the org, and especially between the IT org, their customers, and their providers – @ADeambrosi #ITSM #ITIL4 Click To Tweet

Peter Adams, Senior Director Enterprise ITSM Product Manager at BMC

“In the modern digital economy, enterprise organizations are constantly developing and delivering compelling services quickly and easily. To drive digital transformation in this holistic way, more enterprises are adopting DevOps culture and practices. This includes implementing pervasive intelligent, automation technologies to better learn, predict, and analyze the entire organization to maximize success.

By adopting DevOps and modernizing how they deliver services, service management excellence has never been more important. ITIL 4 represents a very significantly updated version of the framework, with a lot more focus on the role it plays in enabling DevOps to succeed.

ITIL 4 provides the necessary framework to both enable the acceleration for market success as well as establish the seamless management needed for security, legal and audit compliance, and other essential governances.

When adding AI/machine learning/cognitive automation to drive efficiencies, organizations need to ensure their processes and workflows are as streamlined and defined as possible. ITIL 4 guides them to make sure they have the organizational blueprint to drive efficiencies and value for the business.

In essence, the philosophy and even the guiding principles of ITIL 4 have already been implemented in the industry when digital transformation is the de facto standard for enterprise organizations. It has certainly hit the mainstream in the last couple of years – despite the books still being finalized today.”

TIL 4 provides the necessary framework to both enable the acceleration for market success as well as establish the seamless mgmt needed for security, legal & audit compliance – Peter Adams, @BMCSoftware Click To Tweet
Alex Hocking

Alex Hocking, Customer Success Manager and Consultant, Marval

“ITIL 4 has stayed true to its roots in being a practical common-sense approach. It now emphasizes the value of partnerships with customers and tried to again highlight how service management needs to be a holistic practice.

ITSM tools have been up to now very linear in their operation running processes through from one end to the other in a very conveyor beltway. They’ll now have to incorporate support for cyclical and iterative processes and sub-processes. The issue we’re going to have here is that with the number of potential interactions, and in-flight identification of when and how things need to be actioned within different practices, automation is going to become increasingly difficult. A holistic approach to service management is also going to need to be supported by tools – some of the simpler offerings with modular composition will make this very difficult to achieve.”

Alex’s colleague, Paul Smith, adds that:

“ITIL 4 is creating a buzz around our clients. Many are taking steps to upskill to the latest version at Foundation level, so we’re starting to hear lots of ITIL 4 terminology filter through into client meetings. An interesting knock-on effect has been that several clients are actively reassessing their current ITIL implementation or roadmap, and creating improvement plans for 2020, based on ITIL 4. Which is great to see.

I’ve had lots of encouraging discussions around value chains and practices, such as the service desk. But I’m really hoping our clients embrace the two game-changing practices: organizational change management and relationship management.”

ITIL 4 has stayed true to its roots in being a practical common-sense approach – Alex Hocking, @MarvalSoftware #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet

What This All Means

Hopefully, you’ll agree with me that the above contributions collectively agree that:

  • ITIL 4 is good for the ITSM industry
  • The approach’s focus on value is a gamechanger for ITSM and wider service management
  • Automation will play a key part in the future of ITIL and ITSM per se
  • Change – in terms of adopting ITIL 4 – will take time.

The intention of collecting these opinions and observations wasn’t to create a “puff piece” on ITIL 4 but to check the industry pulse from many of the people in the know. It’s therefore also worth stating that there was one ITSM tool vendor that didn’t want to contribute an opinion because ITIL was no longer seen as relevant to its customers – which is another valid opinion to consider in itself.

When @ITSM_tools asked #ITSM vendors what impact they see #ITIL4 having in 2020, there was one vendor that didn’t want to contribute an opinion because ITIL was no longer seen as relevant to its customers. Click To Tweet

Hopefully, you’ve found this very long article an interesting and potentially valuable read in the context of ITIL 4 adoption. If you want to share your own opinion or to ask a question, then please do so in the comments section below.

Principal Analyst & Content Director at | 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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