An Expert Talks ITIL®4 - Q&A

Our lead ITIL® trainer, Adam White-Bower, kindly sat down with us to answer any questions that ITIL4 novices may have. He explains that it doesn’t matter if you’re already on board with the ITIL way of thinking - the latest iteration will make the difference in your services.

What is ITIL4?

Essentially, it’s an expansion of what the ITIL framework has always been - the world’s most adopted set of guidance on the creation, delivery and management of services. These services predominantly reside in the realm of IT, but it has much to give to any business that provides services.

What is a Service? Why does it need managing?

A service is best explained as somebody doing something for somebody else. It’s as simple as that. A professor emeritus at Carnegie-Mellon university once said that everybody is in service to somebody else - a point that ITIL4 makes specifically when trying to understand how services create value for their customers.

Value? What do you mean?

Value is what the customer gets when they make use of the services that we, the service provider, deliver for them. If we can assure them that the services we deliver will support the outcomes they seek, while controlling the associated risks and costs, then we are doing our job and helping them do the jobs they need to do.

So what does ITIL have to do with this then? And why ITIL4 specifically?

ITIL4 takes established best practice, which has been observed in many of the world’s leading organisations, distils it into a form which is generic and offers it up to be adapted to any business' specific context. This flexible approach has meant that for years ITIL has been the basis for businesses to create and deliver world class IT services. ITIL4 remains unchanged from that point of view and remains 100% focused on providing guidance that organisations can use to achieve value creation for their customers.

What does ITIL4 do that ITILv2 or v3 don't do then?

In short it’s an evolution. Some of the earlier guidance has predictably now been superseded. However, some of the fundamentals, such as the way in which we manage 'incidents', is so well established it hasn't changed. Bringing ITIL up to date has required engaging with new (or new-to-ITIL) management practices such as Lean, Agile and DevOps. Previous versions suggested ways of working which an experienced reader may have recognised as being in these areas but ITIL4 clearly spells out the role and basic application of these practices in a service management context.

So ITIL4 is worth looking at?

Most definitely! ITILv3 was released to the world back in 2007 and with a minor revision in 2011 has remained the same for the last 12 years or so. In that time Agile has taken off, DevOps has taken off, technologies such as Cloud and Serverless Computing, BlockChain, Mobile for Business, Virtualisation and Containerisation amongst others have become either available or preeminent. The way in which digital services are developed, presented and used as part of end-to-end 'digital services' is very different and ITIL4 reflects this change. It represents best practice in services for 'Industry 4.0' - The Digital Age.

We use ITILv3 and have invested heavily in it? Are you saying start again?

No, because ITIL4 remains evolutionary and while many organisations are structured around the ITILv3 lifecycle, the move to more Lean-focused, value stream-based activities for managing services is the next step. It asssures delivery of both new and existing services more efficiently and effectively. Take what you have and use it as a basis for next generation service improvements, using ITIL4 to expand your thinking on how to do so.

ITIL4 is the iteration to make the most difference in your services. If any of your questions weren’t listed here, why not get in touch? We’re always happy to talk ITIL and service management!

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