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ITIL4, Just another upgrade?

The world’s most popular IT Service Management framework has received an upgrade. ITIL4 has finally arrived. Amongst all the buzz and hype around the new ITIL4 release, the real question is naturally: does it bring any actual value? As is the case with many new products and upgrades, they do not always bring that much new to the table. Should you pay attention to the new ITIL4? At Sofigate Denmark we certainly believe it is worth a look. In this article we give you the highlights of what ITIL4 brings.

Sofigate DK participated in ITIL4 launch at Copenhagen Airport

28th of February, some of the Danish Sofigaters participated in the official ITIL4 Launch at Copenhagen airport. As part of the launch, we had the opportunity to hear from David Cannon who was member of the ITIL v3 editorial team. He shared the ITIL story and his views on the new ITIL version. In addition we also heard from Stuart Rance, one of the lead authors of ITIL4 who told us the new ITIL4 story. It was an insightful day, with many good discussions clarifying what ITIL4 actually is and how to utilize these into existing ITSM practices.

From delivering services to value co-creation

The main element to notice in the new ITIL is the shift towards a focus on value creation rather than simply delivering services. This is the core purpose of what they define as the service value system. ITIL4 defines services slightly different from its previous versions:

“A means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks.”

The essential change here is how services are referred to as outcomes that co-creates value. Value is no more simply the perception of the service provider nor is it what the customer think it is. Value is co-crated by both the customer and the service-provider.  The result? Both the service provider and the customer benefits from the services. Let’s face it, some of the common IT/business complaints in organizations are: “IT has no understanding of business priority,” “IT is too internally focused,” and “Business always thinks everything is high priority”.  With this new approach and the core of ITIL4 being the service value system, practitioners are challenged to think about how all the different elements of delivering services can work together and help in co-creating value for customers. It encourages fewer siloes, increased collaboration fostering communication across the whole organization and thereby discarding the “Them and Us” culture.

From processes to practices

One of the critiques of the ITIL3 was how highly prescriptive its 26 processes across the lifecycle could come across. The new ITIL4 looks away from processes and the service lifecycle and adds a layer called practices in its service value system. The practices are organized in three categories: General management practice (14), Service Management practices (17) and Technical Management Practices (3). What distinguishes practices from processes is that they are:  “a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective.” This does include processes, but in a much broader sense as it also considers the resources needed. These resources are grouped into the four “dimensions.” You probably recall these as the four Ps, which were people, process, product, and partner in the previous ITIL version. They now become (in ITIL 4):

  1. Organizations and people
  2. Information and technology
  3. Partners and suppliers, and
  4. Value streams and processes.

This removes the highly prescriptive approach from the ITIL3 and allows organizations flexibility to tailor, design and name their processes as it fits them. The core practices from ITIL3 is naturally still a part of the new ITIL version, such as the change control and incident management. However, new valuable additions as organizational change management and business analysis have been made.

Our customers say: Holistic view and easy to integrate with existing frameworks

Having presented the new ITIL4 for a few of our customers, It was very well received with the message that it will be a lot easier to communicate ITIL to colleagues and to top IT and business management. The new concepts of the Service Value System including Value Chains, Practices and principles take a much more holistic approach and comes across easier to read and enhance. With the seven guiding principles as the top layer of the service value system, they believe that ITIL4 takes a much more pragmatic and simple approach. Finally, the second critique ITIL has always received has been the lack of considering integration with existing frameworks within IT Development. Our customers expressed how ITIL4 has actually considered the newest trends within software development and IT operations and included guidance on how to apply philosophies such as Agile, DevOps and Lean within the domain of service management. Hereby, ITIL4 really manages to look at the broader IT operation and gives a good foundation for collaborating with all stakeholders across the organization.

Our conclusion?

The fundamental ideas of service management remain the same. However, ITIL4 has considered the change in the corporate culture, the context and complexity of the environment today and therefore the changes will help organizations manage their services across the whole organization. The core message and concepts from ITIL V3 are still alive, however ITIL4 helps tie together the different components across the service value system, in order to co-create value efficiently and effectively. Thus, ITIL4 is not simply a change in terminology but it is a change in philosophy and approach. At Sofigate Denmark we believe this new way of thinking is absolutely necessary, being that IT departments increasingly become an integral part of a business’ success, communication and collaboration has become even more necessary in the business landscape of today.

Interested in ITIL?

At Sofigate Denmark we certainly believe that ITIL4 brings value. Connecting IT and business, co-creating value is the DNA of our new and upgraded Business Technology standard and how we believe IT should be managed. If you wish to know more about ITIL4 or curious on how we successfully manage business driven technology, we welcome you to reach out to us. You can find our new business technology standard here: