ITIL update: Evolution and Integration

Drawings of shoots growing into lit lightbulb

Wrin CasteelITIL® has always been dynamic. It has evolved over time to reflect changes to the way organizations work, different service management concepts and priorities and our understanding of the different capabilities required to deliver value.

Now it’s time to update ITIL again. We want every organization on the planet to see how service management applies to what they do and that they can leverage ITIL’s ideas and guidance to increase efficiency and effectiveness; to not have to reinvent the wheel and to improve the customer experience.

And there is agreement in the ITIL update team – the Lead Architect Team – that we need to ensure that ITIL is compatible with, and harnesses, the advantages of other approaches such as Agile, DevOps and Lean.

Guidance not prescription

From its inception, ITIL has existed to provide guidance that can be adapted to the needs of an individual organization. This wasn’t always well understood and some people ended up feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information they believed they needed to follow to the letter. We will be putting a lot more focus on outcomes and options in the next edition.

Having trained more than 8,000 people in ITIL and worked with organizations for more than 20 years to optimize their service management capabilities, I’ve witnessed some of the great achievements people and organizations have reached using this guidance. Above all, it has helped them gain clarity about what they are doing and to see the potential in leveraging good ideas that other organizations have already tried and tested. As organizations have evolved, so has ITIL, each maturing the other.

Service management and integration

For the next ITIL update, one area of focus is service integration for multi-provider services, including what this means from both an organizational governance and a management perspective. For example, we need to ensure that all organizations participating in multi-supplier services can hook together easily like LEGO to support the service lifecycle.  To be successful these hooks will need to be in place at both the governance and the management level.

Another aspect of service management evolution involves organizations understanding that we don’t need to segregate IT services and other service types in terms of how we manage the service lifecycle. For some time we have worked with the concept that almost all services are IT enabled and invariably require managing people, processes and organizations as well as technology.

Over the past 10-15 years more and more organizations have been using ITIL for enterprise service management. I have seen many examples of ITIL applied across every imaginable industry sector and service type. We also made a deliberate decision over 10 years ago in developing the first edition of ISO 20000, to use the term service management rather than IT service management. The scope of ISO management system standards is the organization and 20000 is applicable to all services.

So, I think we need to emphasize in the next edition of ITIL that service management and the capabilities needed to manage the service lifecycle can be applicable to all services, as well as all types and sizes of organizations. However, as has always been the case, the guidance should be adapted to each organizational situation and people can pick what will best work for them.

Today, service management is becoming increasingly integrated with other disciplines: for example, considering the information security aspects of each part of the service lifecycle rather than as something to be managed separately, integrating risk management into everything we do, etc. There is also better integration across the organization as different disciplines participate in and contribute to the service lifecycle. More organizations and functions think of their activities as services. I love it when an HR Director talks about providing HR services, or a finance department offers cost benefit analysis services to their colleagues in other departments. I’ve seen a reference to drilling services in a service catalogue for a construction company. That is evidence of both evolution and integration.

The concept that all organizations are participating in service management – combined with new, more agile ways of working, new service models and of course the proliferation of multi provider services and closer integration across disciplines – means it is time to reflect these changes by adding new content to ITIL.

We need to clarify how ITIL can be used differently, at different levels of detail or applied to different industry sectors or service types, for different organizations. One way to do this is providing relevant examples that show ITIL being used in very different contexts but with equal success.

Staying relevant and viable

My involvement in developing the architecture and content of ISO 20000 means I’ve spent the past several years thinking about, researching and working on what service management needs now for organizations to be successful. These ideas have matured as I’ve tested them in the organizations I work with to ensure they deliver consistent value across different organizations and service types. I find that simple and elegant is a good general principle to ensure that service management practices remain relevant and viable.


One thing I love about service management is that not only is it always evolving, but I am always evolving with it. So my aim, along with my fellow ITIL update team members, is to bring clarity and updated guidance about today’s service management and organizational governance, focused on what organizations need most urgently, what they’re prioritizing and how they’re delivering value to customers and their own organization.

For more information, see our ITIL Update section.

More AXELOS Blog Posts about the ITIL Update

ITIL® Update: Mapping IT services with ITIL to drive business value

ITIL® Update: New effective ways of applying old ideas

ITIL® update: Putting principles before process

ITIL® Update: IT Service Management Evolved

Read Erin Casteel's previous AXELOS Blog Post, Using ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL to deliver business value.

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12 Dec 2017 Pawan Dwivedi
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Thank you for updating about. It’s always been essential to know about the procedure before attempting anything. It will be very handful for anyone who aims to be a project manager in future. Capability Track is a Practitioner’s approach & Lifecycle Track is for manager’s way of doing. The focus of Service Capability stream is to provide a strong understanding of processes required to design and implement ITIL. A lot of my friends are preparing for it in ExcelR Solutions ( I saw him developing with times as Excelr provides everything to a student who needs to crack the exam. So again I appreciate your effort in providing your valuable information.
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