ITIL 4 – Does It Support Organizations’ Journey Of Digital Transformation?
Earlier this year there was a new release of ITIL i.e. ITIL 4. A statement on their website summarized the changes of the release, describing that “ITIL 4 expands on previous versions by providing a practical and flexible basis to support organizations on their journey to the new world of digital transformation”. As you may be aware, Sofigate is a specialist in organizational digital transformation and we were intrigued by the evolution ITIL has taken from ITIL v3, where digital transformation was not a key aspect, to ITIL 4 where digitalization is a main influencer.
It could be said that ITIL 4 brings a new philosophy for service management, seeing the new service value system and how the service definition has been updated. Instead of focusing on creating outputs from a linear process of service creation, which ITIL v3 could lead you to believe, ITIL 4 more accurately states that the actual value from services occurs when services are consumed. This means that as an organization, your focus should be in creating services that enable value creation for the customer, which ITIL 4 calls “outcomes”. Another change supporting this philosophical shift is the way ITIL 4 introduces practices as opposed to processes to invite aspects like resources into the same picture. However, the fundamental thoughts behind ITIL remain essentially unchanged, but with stronger statements of supporting co-creation and customer experience required by the modern digital world. The role ITIL 4 takes in digital transformation is to provide guidelines to support organizations on how to create services in in a digital world.
The white paper “ITIL 4 and Digital Transformation” discusses the broad concept of digital transformation and provides examples of what organizations should take into account when developing their services. The author stresses the importance of adapting the services depending on its context and provides a list of characteristics that the classical ITIL guiding mantra “adopt and adapt” is operating on to create unique customer experiences. There are three main characteristics, that should be considered for technology-powered services:
- Speed-to-market, the flow from an idea of a service to reality is quick and requires close collaboration between business and technology.
- Modular, the service is based on loosely coupled components often focused on “minimum viable service”, which can quickly benefit from real-world feedback. One of the advantages is that it allows incremental changes in small batch sizes, which reduces risk and increases change velocity.
- Data-driven insights, a service could leverage on individuals’ data for mass personalization and identify hidden insights based on huge quantities of data. This does not only put pressure on information security, but also requires good understanding on how to draw insights from a lot of data.
The new playground spawned from digitalization clearly creates new possibilities and challenges for organizations when discovering how to enable the highest value for customers in their given context. We believe it will be interesting to follow how ITIL 4 is received by the service management community in supporting their digital transformation. One of the tools at our disposal in supporting organizations in achieving their digital transformation journey is the Business Technology Standard.
The Business Technology Standard (BTS) is an open-source framework, which defines how to plan, build and run information technology in a way that brings value to the business. It enables you to build the capabilities needed to drive your digital transformation. From what we have seen in ITIL 4 Foundation, there is nothing standing in the way of both following the guidelines of ITIL 4 and implementing the BTS. Therefore, we are looking forward to the upcoming details provided by ITIL and how they complement and work together with the BTS.