What began in the 1980s as a collection of good practices for better managing IT organizations and serving IT customers has grown into a body of knowledge that, with more than two million certified ITIL practitioners, is used by more than 90% of Fortune500 organizations around the world. With the rapid pace of change in emerging technologies and customer needs, ITIL also continues to change. A recent AXELOS research program found “ITIL is becoming more and more important to enable Cloud and Big Data strategies.” The FORBES Insights: State of ITSM 2017 report also touts the value of ITIL, with 88% of IT executive respondents stating that ITSM is important to their digital transformation efforts. As a result, AXELOS and the greater community have embarked on the creation of ITIL 4. What follows is everything you need to know about this newest version of ITIL.
ITIL v3, initially released in 2007 then updated in 2011, expanded upon version 2’s inclusion of 10 IT processes and a team or “function” (that of the Service Desk):
ITIL v3 introduced the concept of the IT Service Management Lifecycle along with five phases (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations, and Continual Service Improvement); and publications were released for each of the five ITSM lifecycle phases.
ITIL version 3 also introduced 15 additional processes organized according to these five phases, which were frequently used by IT organizations at the time to help provide IT services to customers. These additional processes included the following:
ITIL version 3 also included details around additional teams or functions that support the work done as part of IT Operations, including Technical Management, Applications Management, and IT Operations Management, which included sub-teams for IT Operations Control and Facilities Management.
ITIL 4 is an evolution of ITIL v3 concepts, not a replacement. The good practices from previous versions of ITIL are still valid, however, the ITIL 4 publications have been updated to include additional modern practices and approaches for delivering valuable products and services to customers. The table below includes a summary of three key differences between ITIL version 3 and ITIL 4:
|ITIL version 3||ITIL version 4|
|36 Processes, organized according to the ITSM lifecycle phases listed below.||34 Practices, each of which may include several processes, loosely organized into three practice types.|
|ITIL Service Management Lifecycle
||Service Value Chain (VC):
|4 Ps of Service Design:
||4 Dimensions of Service Management:
Is it really that simple? Did ITIL 4 just change the name from Process to Practice? It may appear so, simply seeing the mapping from one to the other between versions, but there are some key differences that need to be understood. First, ITIL 4 still uses the term process, and the definition has not changed. It is still the activities involved in transforming inputs into defined outputs. So, what is a Practice, and how is it different? To better understand this, think about one of the most well-understood ‘Processes’ from ITIL v3: Incident Management. This is something every IT organization has been doing since there have been IT organizations. But is it just one way of transforming inputs into outputs? Or is it many distinct, dynamic workflows that are dependent upon the situation at hand? This is where ITIL 4 has elevated the idea of an IT practice. In ITIL 4, the Incident Management ‘Practice’ represents all the organizational resources (people, information and technology, partners, and processes) that come together to perform the highly distinct and dynamic workflows involved in resolving Incidents.
Are you struggling with the elimination of the ITIL v3 Service Lifecycle? Why did ITIL 4 do away with it and replace it with the Service Value Chain (SVC)? The simplest answer is flexibility. In some ways (while not prescriptive), the Service Lifecycle made many practitioners feel fenced in by an ever-reiterating set of processes. The Service Value Chain, by its very nature, doesn’t represent any specific order of activities. All six of the SVC Activities, or any combination thereof, may be undertaken to create value. Activities may be revisited at any point, and the depth to which an activity exerts influence on a single stream may change depending on the situation. How we combine and order these activities creates value streams. These describe the processes and workflows by which we set about doing work. Rather than what may have seemed like a very single-stream set of processes in ITIL v3, ITIL 4 embraces a flexible model, which allows all areas of the organization to develop useful value streams, leveraging any number of practices and activities to co-create value with their consumers.
Some will recall the Four P’s (People, Processes, Products, and Partners) of Service Design from ITIL v3. These were four aspects that needed to be considered during the Design Phase of the Service Lifecycle. ITIL 4 expands on that notion, making the Four Dimensions a linchpin in the planning, design, delivery, and management of every service. Each dimension lends vital insight for both service management and brings balance to the Service Value System itself. If any of these dimensions is not properly addressed, the connected service may become unavailable, not meeting the expectations of quality and efficiency.
Unlike the release of ITIL version 3, ITIL 4 will be iteratively released throughout 2019 and 2020. The ITIL 4 Foundation course, exam, and publication were released on February 28, 2019 – more advanced courses, exams, and publications will be released in Q4 2019 and 2020. ITIL 4 materials, including additional details around the 34 Practices, will be more frequently updated than in prior versions and made available online for ITIL practitioners. Those involved in the development of ITIL 4 content are creating material that is:
ITIL 4 introduces several new concepts, which include the following:
ITIL 4 also includes details on new(-ish) emerging technologies like cloud computing, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), machine learning, blockchain, etc. and weaves in concepts from Lean, Agile, Scrum, DevOps, and other modern ways of working. The topics included here will be further detailed in the following sections.
This concept replaces and expands upon the concept of the 4 Ps described in the ITIL v3 Service Design publication. It shows that there are several parts of an organization that need to be considered when delivering products and services; and that there should be a balanced focus between each of the four dimensions.
Note that ITIL 4 has moved Products—or more precisely, Products and Services—front-and-center as the final output of the 4 Dimensions. This makes sense, as each of these concepts is considered to co-create value. Additionally, Information and Technology has been added as a key component in this model. Information represents the knowledge necessary to manage services. While ITILv3 presented technology as important process enablers, ITIL 4 recognizes that technology itself is now being provided as a service. Software, storage, infrastructure, even information security can now be consumed through third-party suppliers and partners, making this dimension a critical component of the overall Service Management framework.
In ITIL v3, value was described as something we created for customers. ITIL 4 takes a different perspective, putting more of a concentrated focus on the idea that service providers and service consumers must work together to create value, thereby co-creating it. Service providers cannot and should not create products and services (see diagram below) in a vacuum. Instead, we should actively collaborate with our customers on what is of value to them.
Within the ITIL 4 publication, a service is defined as:
There are also two types of key stakeholders defined within ITIL 4:
Just as there can be different provider roles, consumers are also divided into different categories, namely:
In some instances, the same person may serve in several roles. In other cases, different people may fill the various roles. As a Service Provider organization, it’s helpful to understand who fills each these roles.
There are often multiple service relationships involved in providing products and services to customers; and a service provider for a consumer of that service may be a consumer of a service with a different service provider (as shown in the diagram below). The ITIL 4 Foundation publication provides an overview of the different types of service providers, including service customers and other stakeholders.
In ITIL 4, there is a much larger emphasis on enabling customer value; and value is now defined as:
In evaluating whether a product or service has value for a customer, they are looking at the outcomes (What does this product or service allow me to do? What costs or risks does this product or service remove?), not just the output of the work. ITIL 4 defines the difference between the two:
ITIL 4 also distinguishes cost from value. Where value is defined through the service consumer’s perception, cost is defined as:
There are two types of cost from a consumer perspective. First, there are costs that are removed from the consumer by the product or service. This might be costs associated with staff that has been outsourced, technology provided as a service (cloud services), etc. Second, there are those costs that are imposed on the consumer by the product or service. Examples may include training, network or storage utilization, procurement, etc. This is commonly referred to as what a consumer must ‘invest’ to consume a service. In the end, the advantages of using a service (the removal of costs and risks) need to outweigh the disadvantages (the addition of negative outcomes, costs, or risks).
Risk may also be defined as uncertainty of outcome. When assessing the value of a service, risk may be used in the context of measuring both negative and positive outcomes. So, we also describe two types of risk. The first are risks removed from a consumer by the service (positive outcomes). This might include hardware failure if the consumer is moving to a cloud model, or staff availability if a function is being outsourced. Risk may not be entirely eliminated, only reduced, but the consumer may consider such reduction sufficient to support the value proposition of the service. Second, there are risks imposed on the consumer by the service (negative outcomes). This might be realized as a data security breach of the service provider.
For ITIL practitioners that are familiar with ITIL v3 processes, the table below provides a breakdown of the changes in terminology from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4.
As the below table shows, not only have there been changes to naming conventions, the Practices have been divided into three broad domains, based on where the practice originated:
|General Management Practices||Service Management Practices||Technical Management Practices|
|Architecture Management||Availability Management||Deployment Management (previously named Release and Deployment Management)|
|Continual Improvement Management (similar to the ITIL v3 phase CSI)||Business Analysis||Infrastructure and Platform Management|
|Information Security Management||Capacity and Performance Management (previously named Capacity Management)||Software Development and Management|
|Knowledge Management||Change Control (previously named Change Management)|
|Measurement and Reporting||Incident Management|
|Organizational Change Management||IT Asset Management (previously named SACM)|
|Portfolio Management (previously named Service Portfolio Management)||Monitoring and Event Management (previously named Event Management)|
|Project Management||Problem Management|
|Relationship Management (previously named Business Relationship Management)||Release Management (previously named Release and Deployment Management)|
|Risk Management||Service Catalog Management|
|Service Financial Management (previously named Financial Management)||Service Configuration Management (previously named SACM)|
|Strategy Management (previously named Strategy Management for IT Services)||Service Continuity Management (previously named ITSCM)|
|Supplier Management||Service Design|
|Workforce and Talent Management||Service Desk|
|Service Level Management|
|Service Request Management (previously named Request Fulfillment)|
|Service Validation and Testing|
The ITIL 4 certification path, similar to that of ITIL v3, has an ITIL 4 Foundation exam and associated credential. There are less ITIL 4 intermediate courses than in ITIL v3 (see diagram below), which now include three ITIL Specialist courses, an ITIL Strategist course, and an ITIL Leader course as follows:
ITIL 4’s Intermediate courses will each be three days in length, and there is no recommended order in which to take the courses. Students that hold PMI’s PMP designation will earn 24 PDUs for each ITIL 4 intermediate course. Once you earn the three ITIL Specialist credentials and ITIL Strategist credential, you will automatically earn the ITIL Managing Professional (MP) designation. This is similar to how in ITIL v3, when a student passed the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam, they automatically earned the designation of “ITIL Expert”. When a candidate earns the ITIL Strategist and ITIL Leader credentials, they will automatically earn the ITIL Strategic Leader (SL) designation. Note: The “ITIL Strategist” that is shown below and is included in both the MP and SL tracks is a single course, exam, and publication. The ITIL intermediate courses, exams, and publications will be released Q3/Q4 of 2019.
ITIL version 3 will be retired in 2020. Those that hold the ITIL v3 Foundation certification and want to get certified in the current version of ITIL will need to take the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. Those that hold 17 credits of ITIL v3 certifications will be able to take an “ITIL Managing Professional” bridge course and exam and bridge to the MP designation. For those that hold some intermediate ITIL v3 certifications, but do not yet have 17 credits, will be able to take ITIL v3 courses and exams until 2020 and can still bridge to MP. Here’s a little more on how your existing ITIL v3 credits can translate to ITIL 4.
ITIL 4 does not have the designation called “ITIL Expert”. The equivalent to the ITIL v3 “ITIL Expert” credential is ITIL 4 “ITIL Managing Professional” or MP. There is an advanced credential entitled “ITIL Strategic Leader” or SL that can be obtained, if a candidate already holds the MP designation, by taking an “ITIL Leader: Digital & IT Strategy” 3-day course and passing the associated exam. ITIL 4 has an “ITIL Master” designation; and details on how to obtain this designation will be coming out later in 2019.
The ITIL 4 Foundation exam is similar in format and level of difficulty to that of ITIL version 3. Here are the highlights:
60-minute time limit
40 multiple-choice questions
Students must get 26/40 correct to pass (65%)
There are 4 question types:
For students looking to enroll in an ITIL 4 Foundation course, this is a 2-day offering with exam. Students that hold PMI’s PMP designation will earn 16 PDUs with BEYOND20’s ITIL 4 Foundation course.