ITIL and IT Service Management for the Digital Enterprise

What began in the 1980s as a collection of “good practices” to better manage IT organizations and serve IT’s customers has grown into a body of knowledge that with more than two million certified ITIL practitioners, 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.  According to a recent AXELOS research program, they found that “ITIL is becoming more and more important to enable Cloud and Big Data strategies.”  In addition, in the FORBES Insights: State of ITSM 2017 report, 88% of IT executive respondents stated 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.  This article answers frequently asked questions regarding this newest release of ITIL.

The Evolution of ITIL Version 2 to ITIL v3

ITIL version 3, initially released in 2007 and then updated in 2011, expanded upon version 2’s inclusion of 10 IT processes and a team or “function” (that of the Service Desk):  
  • Incident Management
  • Service Desk
  • Problem Management
  • Service Level Management
  • Capacity Management
  • Availability Management
  • Change Management
  • IT Service Continuity Management
  • Financial Management
  • Release Management (renamed Release and Deployment Management in ITIL version 3)
  • Configuration Management (renamed Service Asset and Configuration Management or SACM in ITIL version 3)
ITIL version 3 introduced the concept of the IT Service Management Lifecycle (see diagram below) 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, that IT organizations were frequently using at the time to help them provide IT services to customers.  These additional processes included the following:
  • Strategy Management for IT Services
  • Service Portfolio Management
  • Demand Management
  • Business Relationship Management
  • Design Coordination
  • Service Catalog Management
  • Security Management
  • Supplier Management
  • Transition Planning and Support
  • Service Validation and Testing
  • Change Evaluation
  • Knowledge Management
  • Event Management
  • Access Management
  • Request Fulfillment
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.

How is ITIL 4 Different from ITIL v3?

ITIL 4 is an evolution of ITIL version 3 concepts.  It is not meant to be a replacement.  The “good practices” from previous versions of ITIL are still valid, however, the ITIL version publications have been updated to include additional modern practices and approaches in 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 4 also moves away from an emphasis on IT delivering services to, often times, internal business customers to a focus on IT, along with all other areas of an organization, coming together to rapidly deliver valuable products and services to customers.  These, along with other key differences, will be outlined in greater detail below.

How and When is ITIL 4 Being Released?

Unlike the release of ITIL version 3, ITIL 4 will be iteratively released throughout 2019.  The ITIL 4 Foundation course, exam, and publication will be released on February 28th with more advanced courses, exams, and publications released in Q3/Q4.  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:
  • Modular - enabling more frequent updates
  • Lean - eliminating unnecessary content
  • Practical - including practice guidance, templates, and other resources
  • Evolutional - keeping what is relevant from prior versions of ITIL and provides consistency and clarity
  • Collaborative - driven by industry feedback
  • Flexible - linking to existing and emerging practices

What are some new concepts in ITIL 4?

ITIL 4 introduces several new concepts, which include the following:
  • Service Value System
  • Value Co-Creation
  • Service Relationship Model
  • Value, Outcomes, Costs, and Risks (VOCR)
  • Value Streams
  • ITIL’s Guiding Principles (updated from the ITIL Practitioner publication, released in 2016)
  • General Management Practices (which include the following new ITIL practices: Architecture Management, Measurement and Reporting, Organizational Change Management, Project Management, Risk Management, and Workforce and Talent Management)
  • Technical Management Practices (which include the following new ITIL practices: Infrastructure and Platform Management and Software Development and Management)
ITIL 4 also includes details on 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.

What is the ITIL Service Value System (SVS)?

A Service Value System (shown in the diagram below) is a foundational concept in ITIL 4.  The SVS shows how an organization takes opportunities and/or demand and rapidly provides value to customers using a combination of guiding principles, governance, service value chains (This concept is a subset of an organization’s overarching SVS and described in more detail below), practices, and continual improvement.  Further, in organization to be successful (and service management to work properly), it can no longer think in disparate silos, but rather needs to work as a larger system.  

What is the ITIL Service Value Chain (SVC)?

The Service Value Chain (SVC) is a sub-set of an organizations Service Value System and is defined as “A set of interconnected activities that an organization performs to deliver a valuable product or services to its consumers and to facilitate value realization”.  Each of ITIL 4’s practices interact with different parts of the Service Value Chain at different times, often several times in the delivery of products and services to customers.

What is Value Co-Creation?

In ITIL v3, value was described as something we created for customers.  ITIL 4 take a different perspective, rather, 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 below) in a vacuum.  Instead, we should actively collaborate with our customers on what is of value to them. ITIL 4 defines a service as:

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

What is the Service Relationship Model?

In today’s environment, 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 provides, including service customers, and other stakeholders.  

What are the 4 Dimensions of Service Management?

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 needs to be considered when delivering products and services; and that there should be a balanced focus between each of the four dimensions.

What is VOCR (Value, Outcomes, Costs, Risks)

In ITIL 4, value is defined as:
  • Value: The perceived benefits, usefulness, and importance of something
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:
  • Output: a tangible or intangible deliverable of an activity
  • Outcome:  results for a stakeholder enabled by one or more outputs

What are Value Streams?

A new concept in ITIL 4 is that of value streams, defined as a series of steps that an organization uses to create and deliver products and services to a service consumer. A value stream is the string of activities that we as an organization perform to deliver value to a customer.  Identifying and understanding the various value streams that an organization has is critical to improving our overall performance.  When an organization examines how they perform work and maps their value streams, it allows them to analyze how work is being done across the organization and identify any barriers to workflow and non-value-add activities (i.e., waste).

What are ITIL's Guiding Principles in ITIL 4?

ITIL 4’s Guiding Principles (pictured below) are as follows:
  • Focus on value
  • Start where you are
  • Progress iteratively with feedback
  • Collaborate and promote visibility
  • Think and work holistically
  • Keep it simple and practical
  • Optimize and automate

How do the ITIL v3 Processes Map to the ITIL 4 Practices?

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. Legend
  • The black text below shows where the practice has the same name as a corresponding ITIL v3 process
  • The blue text below shows were a practice has a changed or different name from an ITIL v3 process
  • The orange text below shows where a new ITIL practice has been named.  In some cases, a practice may have existed as a concept in the ITIL v3 publications (for example, Service Design existed as a Phase and Service Desk existed as a function in ITIL v3).

What does the ITIL 4 Certification Path Look Like?

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 Specialist: Create, Delivery, and Support
  • ITIL Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
  • ITIL Specialist: High Velocity IT
  • ITIL Strategist: Direct, Plan, and Improve
  • ITIL Leader: Digital & IT Strategy
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 BEYOND20 ITIL 4 intermediate course.  Once a candidate earns the three ITIL Specialist credentials and ITIL Strategist credential, they 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.

When will my ITIL v3 Credentials Expire?

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.

What Happens to My ITIL v3 Expert or ITIL v3 Master credential?

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.

How is the ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Different from the ITIL 4 Foundation Exam?

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:
    • Standard
    • List of four options
    • Negative (Questions that include words like “not”, “except”, etc.)
    • Missing word (This is a new question type for ITIL 4)
For students looking to enroll in an ITIL 4 Foundations 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.