If you thought ITIL 3 made your IT service management (ITSM) more efficient, wait until you get a look at ITIL 4.
Introduced in February 2019, the fourth generation of this popular framework for maximizing your ITSM is designed to help your staff become even more agile, ready to embrace change, and prepared to succeed in a world where the pace of innovation is rapidly increasing.
And it could not have come at a better time.
According to CIO's guide to the IT infrastructure library, ITIL was originally developed by the British government to help agencies, businesses, and organizations make the most of technology--and it was incredibly popular. It consisted of more than 30 books (yes, books), which were developed and released over time. Of course in the world of IT, things don't stay the same for very long, so subsequent versions of ITIL were released, the last (until now) being a modest update to ITIL 3 in 2011.
That was eight years ago, and a lot has changed about IT since then--cloud applications have taken over, cybersecurity has never been more important, and IT professionals have to be ready to embrace change like never before. Hence the need for ITIL version 4.
As with previous versions, the changes made to the system are aimed at helping you modernize your ITSM with a specific focus on making sure your IT team remains a value-driven asset to your organization.
Here's a look at some important changes you need to know about ITIL 4:
Silos cease to exist
One of the biggest changes introduced by ITIL 4 is the fact that it takes a close look at company culture. In fact, it presents culture as one of the cornerstones of a successful ITSM program.
Traditionally, IT departments have been viewed as islands, left alone in a sea of work that wasn't really integrated into the overall business strategy or structure.
That changes under ITIL 4.
The new version provides guidelines for removing siloed ways of working and encouraging collaboration between IT and other departments, which benefits every department.
Agility is embraced
In the past, ITIL put a premium on "change management advisory boards." And while good in theory and even in practice, the boards weren't always able to facilitate fast deployment.
The new version of ITIL focuses heavily on helping businesses build ITSM strategies that are more agile and flexible. It accomplishes this by leaning heavily on "agile infrastructure" and "DevOps" practices, which result in collaboration between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle.
It builds a foundation for change
If there is one thing that is sure to stay the same in the world of IT, it's that everything is sure to change ... and fast!
Maybe it will be Blockchain. Perhaps it will be A.I. Or maybe it's something that doesn't even have a name yet. Whatever it is, it's bound to happen and sure to cause your IT department some consternation. But it doesn't have to cause a crisis.
ITIL 4 helps you build a strong foundation so that when change is necessary, your IT department will be better prepared to pivot and make the most of the next big thing without missing a beat.
The customer is critically important
ITIL has always encouraged companies to pay a lot of attention to customers, but the new version puts a premium on caring for the customer.
Thanks to all of the advancements of the digital age, customers have never had more opportunities to share their opinions about products, service, and even the perception of value.
ITIL 4 helps you take all of that customer feedback--from surveys, bots, social media, forms, and however else you're getting it--and use it to improve. It forces you to listen to customers, which helps increase the value you're able to deliver.
It's actually all about value
At the end of the day, it's all about value. It's about increasing the value of your organization, delivering value to customers, and creating value for shareholders and ownership.
And it's everyone's responsibility.
ITIL 4 focuses heavily on what is known as the service value system, or SVS. It is a method for making sure all parts of your business are responsible for and working together to create value.
SVS focuses on planning; improving; engaging; designing and transitioning; obtaining and building; and delivering and supporting.
It sounds like the system includes a lot of moving parts, and it does. But once your employees have mastered SVS, your business will be delivering better value to everyone. And that's what it's all about.