From v3 to 4 – This is the new ITIL

Number 4 at the centre of image based on ITIL purple hexagons

Ten years ago, Bitcoin was launched, and James Cameron released his innovative film Avatar. And now think of all the changes we have lived through since then. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created such a fast-paced and complex environment that organizations and individuals had to change their way of thinking. Be more agile, be ready and equipped to adopt new ways of working – or fail.

This is why we are now launching ITIL® 4: to help organizations connect and align these challenges that affect not only ITSM professionals, but a wider range of professionals working in the digital world.

ITIL 4 still uses elements from previous versions that our research told us are still very much fundamental. But at the same time, it is expanding and ITIL 4 now provides a brand new digital operating model.

What has changed?

The changes we have made mean that ITIL 4 offers a practical and flexible basis to support organizations on their digital journey. We have considered the impact of technology on business and how the framework integrates with Agile, DevOps and supports digital transformation.

The key elements of ITIL 4 are the four dimensions, the guiding principles, the move from processes to practices, and the Service Value System, providing a holistic approach to the co-creation of value through service relationships.

Service value system

The service value system (SVS) is a key component of ITIL 4, which facilitates value co-creation. It describes how all the components and activities of an organization work together to enable value creation. As the SVS has interfaces with other organizations it forms an ecosystem and can also create value for those organizations, their customers and stakeholders.

At the heart of the SVS is the service value chain – a flexible operating model for the creation, delivery and continual improvement of services. The service value chain defines six key activities: plan; improve; engage; design and transition; obtain/build; and deliver and support. They can be combined in many different sequences, which means the service value chain allows an organization to define a number of variants of value streams, e.g. the v3 service lifecycle.

The flexibility of the service value chain allows an organization to effectively and efficiently react to changing demands from stakeholders.

The four dimensions

A holistic approach to service management is key in ITIL 4. It defines four dimensions that are critical to the successful facilitation of value for customers and other stakeholders.

The four dimensions are:

  • Organizations and people: An organization needs a culture that supports its objectives, and the right level of capacity and competency among its workforce.
  • Information and technology: In the SVS context, this includes the information and knowledge as well as the technologies required for the management of services.
  • Partners and suppliers: This refers to an organization’s relationships with those other businesses that are involved in the design, deployment, delivery, support, and continual improvement of services.
  • Value streams and processes: How the various parts of the organization work in an integrated and coordinated way is important to enable value creation through products and services.

It’s essential that an appropriate amount of focus is given to each of these dimensions so that the SVS remains balanced and effective.

Guiding principles

ITIL 4 has seven guiding principles. The guiding principles as such are not new, and they are meant to help IT professionals adopt and adapt ITIL guidance to their own specific needs and circumstances.

The ITIL 4 guiding principles are:
  • 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

They allow professionals to define approaches and navigate difficult decisions and should be followed at every stage of service delivery.

ITIL 4’s focus on collaboration, automation, and keeping things simple, reflect principles found in Agile, DevOps and Lean methodologies.

From processes to practices

ITIL has so far used “processes” to manage IT services. The update expands the processes so that elements such as culture, technology, information and data management can be considered to get a holistic vision of the ways of working.

This is known as “practices”, a fundamental part of the ITIL 4 framework. The SVS includes 34 management practices, which are sets of organizational resources for performing work or accomplishing an objective.

The ITIL practices share the same value and importance as the current ITIL processes but follow a more holistic approach.

The holistic approach

ITIL 4 puts service management in a strategic context. It looks at ITSM, Development, Operations, business relationships and governance holistically and brings the different functions together. By doing this, ITIL 4 has evolved into an integrated model for digital service management.

Why ITIL 4?

There is a simple answer to that. ITIL 4 will help IT professionals compete in an increasingly complex market and insure that they stay relevant. Start building your career with ITIL or reaccredit from ITIL v3 to demonstrate your digital skills and meet your career goals.

To find an ITIL 4 Foundation course, use our Training Provider search.

ITIL 4 Webinars

To find out more about ITIL 4 watch our Introduction to ITIL 4 webinar on demand now:

Current rating: 4.8 (12 ratings)


28 Feb 2019 Corde Wagner
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I just completed the ITIL4 Foundations through GoGoTraining.Com and this summary is spot on.

As a practitioner who has been leveraging ITIL processes in my day-to-day work since v2, I genuinely believe the evolution to "practices" and the value stream system in v4 is important.

This new version is terrific and I look forward to seeing the other improvements that are also in the works.

7 Mar 2019 Balaji Kandasamy Shanmugam
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Can't wait to take my ITIL v4 exam.

It's a really good idea to integrate DevOps, Agile and Lean methods within ITIL.
10 Mar 2019 Kibet
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The combination of collaborative and practices is ideal for the digital content managment. ITIL V4 is it

Am impressed
14 Mar 2019 Wajahat Rizvi
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An excellent article on the new version.

I'm planning to take ITIL 4 exam soon, but want to do it without registering with any training center for the preparation. I want to do self preparation and then directly take the exam.

Would really appreciate if you could please guide me, where to get the good quality FREE material on ITIL 4 to get myself prepared well?

Thanks a lot in advance.

15 Jun 2019 Adrian Galvan-Lara
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I invested more than 5 years on my ITIL V3 path and I am concerned about current IT trends like Cloud, AI, Big Data and Security as well as DevOps. I am starting a deep dive into ITIL V4 and excited of the outcomes.
16 Dec 2019 Simon Kerry
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Interesting read especially for a person that has been out of the industry for a few years and is now back in the industry
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