ITIL 4: A methodological revolution for IT service management


A new version of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) was published four years ago. A methodological revolution has taken place in the world of software and information systems with the release of the new version. As a result, ITIL 4 offers practices in service management, general management, and technical management that speak the language of customer value and adopt Agile and DevOps principles and methodologies. This article will briefly review ITIL 4's main innovations.

Co-creation of value

ITIL is a best practice for IT service management. In the previous version, ITIL taught professionals that service was the keyword, an idea that sought to bridge the gap between the language of customers and the language of IT professionals. In the new version, we are encouraged to create value based on service for the customer.

The ITIL 4 framework asserts that IT organizations cannot provide value to their clients if they do not create value for them. Therefore, both service providers and consumers need to understand how their services create value for their clients. Value is created jointly by service providers and consumers. According to the new version, whereas in the past, the value was created by the service provider and received by the consumer, the creation of value is both parties' responsibility (value co-creation). In today's world, it is already clear that the customer plays a significant role in many activities related to every product/service, from specification to training.

The core of ITIL is the service value chain, which starts with customer demand and ends with delivering value to the customer. Following customer engagement, there are a variety of actions, including “Obtain/Build”, “Design and Transition” and “Delivery and Support”, which result in services and products. All activities along the chain are accelerated by planning improvement.

In addition to being a principle-based and general process by which service providers and consumers together produce value, the implementation of the service value chain is subject to the organization's policies and practices (see below). As a result of the guiding principles, the service value chain is constantly being improved. The service value system includes the service value chain, governance, practices, guiding principles, and continuous improvement. Value system replaces the service lifecycle we've been familiar with since version 3.

The following seven guiding principles should be emphasized in this context:

·      The focus should be on the value

·      Start from where you are

·      Iteratively progress with feedback

·      Collaboration and visibility are key

·      Think holistically and work holistically

·      Make it simple and practical

·      Automate and optimize

It is these principles that should guide us everywhere and, in every situation, and they are universal and always true.

Each decision and step must consider four dimensions: organization and people, information and technology, value streams and processes, and partners and suppliers. As a result of these dimensions, the value system of the service presented above replaces the three dimensions of version 3 (people, processes, and technology).

Cloud, Agile, and DevOps: ITIL adjustments for the new era

ITIL's new version reflects the technological and methodological advances in the software and IT industries that have occurred in the last decade. It includes topics such as cloud computing, agile approaches, DevOps, and the Internet of Things, not just the glossary. In the document, each of these topics is explained in relation to ITIL. ITIL Foundations shows the impact of these trends throughout.

Cloud computing and the development of mobile apps have led to an increase in the trend of outsourcing core IT activities, also known as
"managed services". The ITIL process emphasizes this trend by emphasizing that service providers and service consumers can be within the same
organization or in different organizations and that the word product is almost
always used as a synonym for service. ITIL was previously geared toward
corporate IT that provided services to employees. However, the current version acknowledges that many organizations today provide IT services and software products to external customers, and their relationships are based on the same principles.

Agile approaches are also incorporated into ITIL's latest version. An example of its integration is the widespread use of the term product, a shift from the language of serial processes with "cascade" features, to the language of practices, and continuous improvement (which already existed). Among these, the principle of iterative progress with feedback from the customer, which is one of ITIL's seven guiding principles, shines out.

A new version of ITIL also incorporates the DevOps revolution. Automating the deployment activity separated deployment management from release management and moved it to the technical practices area. Additionally, ITIL defines Optimize and Automate as one of its seven guiding principles. Generally, it is evident that ITIL is trying to shed its bureaucratic image, among other things, by defining "keep it simple and practical" as one of its seven guiding principles. The meaning of this principle is that procedures and controls should be used only in places where their benefit is greater than their cost.

A change from 26 processes to 34 practices

Having reviewed the changes in the strategic layer, we'll briefly describe the changes in the tactical layer, since processes and practices make up the core of ITIL. Due to the demise of the service lifecycle, the processes have been divided into three groups: general management (14), service management (17), and technical management (3).

A new version of ITIL adds six new practices: measurement and reporting, risk management, organizational change management, workforce and talent management, architecture management, and service design. Information
security management was combined with identity and access management, technical management functions and IT operations management were merged into infrastructure and platform management, and three processes that dealt with planning, coordination, and synchronization (design coordination, change assessment, planning and transfer support) were replaced by project management practices. Two processes were split: Service Asset and Configuration Management was split into IT asset Management and Service Configuration Management, and Release and Deployment Management were split into two separate practices.

In 11 cases, the name of the process was changed to produce a better definition and to accommodate the new version's principles. Change
management, for example, has become change control, emphasizing that it is not about executing the change itself, but about governing and controlling it. Several basic definitions have also been refined and updated, including the definitions of Incident, Problem, and Known Error.

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