6 reasons why ITIL 4’s guiding principle of collaborate and promote visibility is important

ITSM colleagues sat around desk where one stands at the head of the table with marker and flipchart

How is the ITIL 4 guiding principle “collaborate and promote visibility” important to organizations today?

Many organizations remain siloed, whether by function, process, product, territory or other types. And within the silos, people tend to focus on their tasks and objectives while paying little attention to what is happening outside.

This is often enforced by management establishing objectives and enforcing them with KPIs and associated incentives. Between IT and the wider organization, this has further amplified ways of working, such as outsourcing.

This disengagement and misalignment leads, at best, to inefficient work and missed opportunities and, at worst, to organizations being unable to achieve their objectives and eventually going out of business.

Today the collaboration principle is more important than ever and here’s why:

  1. Collaboration and value co-creation
    Organizations are no longer self-sufficient. They work with partners and suppliers to co-create value for and with their service consumers. If these parties cannot work together effectively the expected outcomes will be substandard or won’t be achieved at all. Organizations may agree to collaborate in various ways, but the principle stays the same: work closely together and promote visibility.

  2. Refocusing from silos to end-to-end value streams
    This is possible only if teams contributing to the value stream work together effectively, understand each other and share objectives and information. This, in turn, requires higher level of trust and better communication.

  3. Increasing complexity of business and IT
    Unlike simple systems, where pre-defined procedures work well and everyone can do their part of the job, effective work in complex systems often requires dynamic reorganization of work and joint, ad-hoc decisions. This can only work if everyone involved works together, focusing on shared objectives and communicating openly.
    The first step to collaboration is agreeing on the common objectives through an open, face-to-face discussion. The first step of the ITIL continual improvement model is “what is the vision?” This can be decided together! 

  4. Collaborative customer relationships
    Not all organizations have collaborative relationships with their customers. But even if they have only a basic level of customer cooperation, people should be working together when it comes to specific service interaction, e.g. in the case of incident or normal service delivery. Usually, shared operational objectives are about creating value for the customers, which means they will be interested and engaged.

  5. A universal principle
    Collaborate and promote visibility is a universal principle: applicable to relationships within teams and between teams in an organization, between service delivery partners and with service consumers; even with an organization and its regulators and auditors. 

  6. The two senses of visibility
    Visibility is used in two senses here within the ITIL 4 principle: first, this is about transparency – of intentions, actions, progress, results and risks. However, it also refers to visualization of workflow – for example, using Kanban. Optimization of flow is an important issue for many organizations and making the work visible is a key factor in the success of their initiatives.

Without effective collaboration, you cannot derive the benefits of Agile, Lean and service management methods. Having initiatives that involve the right people, with a greater level of information for decision-making and increased buy-in, means there is a heightened chance of long-term success.

Read Tatiana Peftieva's previous blog post for AXELOS, ITIL 4 – Guiding Principles: Focus on value.

Read AXELOS White Papers by Tatian Peftieva

ITIL Guiding Principles for Continual Improvement

ITIL 4 and VOCR: The Service Value Formula White Paper

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