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The ITIL update in a world of digital & service transformation: ITIL 4 - Evolution of ITSM Part 2

Purple graphic image of hexagons representing ITIL 4

The ITIL® update in a world of digital and service transformation

Today, what are the main challenges facing organizations around IT generally and ITSM in particular?

This is very dependent on the individual organization: on one hand, many are passing through digitization; this means IT organizations are faced with the fact they are no longer just a support mechanism for the business; they are the business and some of them are not prepared for that.

On the other hand, some organizations are still expected to supply the business with IT solutions but are faced with requirements from the business to be more adaptive. They try to either transform their traditional, plan-driven delivery models into more adaptive delivery models, or to, at least, add agile delivery tracks to their existing delivery model. This approach requires a much more dynamic interaction between IT and the business.

And, finally, most IT organizations accustomed to delivering systems and solutions are to an ever-greater degree being asked to deliver experiences and services: this is no small thing – it’s something very different, which comes with different focus and responsibilities.

So, what are the priorities organizations need to focus on now to stay ahead or – at least – keep up?

One major thing is the change from delivering solutions to delivering services – especially for outcome and experience. For example, in ITIL®, there is a focus on how to define and design a service, not only the enabling products and solutions. In fact, ITIL v3 put that more into the context of delivering what businesses really need.

In truly service-oriented organizations, best practices such as ITIL are there to help customers co-create value in IT products and services. And this is about looking at service outcome and experiences: “How do I create true business value and how do I design for the best interaction between the service provider and the consumer/user?”

By optimizing the service interaction between provider and customer – otherwise described as the service co-creation – you can create more value. However, the reality is that many IT organizations currently remain “blindfolded” about this.

You just need to look at organizations that are focusing on value creation for the consumer as well as the customer journey, such as Netflix rendering video tapes and DVDs obsolete. The key here is replacing goods and systems with services that simplify the life of the consumer; these are lessons we need to learn in IT.

But what is the role for best practice approaches in organizations facing these challenges?

In the Scandinavian countries about 60% of IT organizations use ITIL, and PRINCE2® is also commonly employed as part of employees’ training.

Simultaneously, about 10-20% are trying to adopt approaches such as Agile and DevOps, plus TOGAF and COBIT.

But how effective is their use? Before a best practice can become effective, organizations need the basic capabilities to use it or it becomes redundant. By this I mean practitioners require a basic capability to improve practice. That’s one precondition to obtain the benefit from best practice.

If you understand the DNA of the established best practices and have worked with them, you know that it has always been essential to filter and combine best practices to get the result you want.

For example, DevOps is a helpful tool and means for continuous delivery of software and is a very important discipline to do that in an agile way; however, it doesn’t necessarily replace other best practices and, in fact, it works in synergy with ITIL. It’s just a different beast in the tool box that has to be merged and used in conjunction with other relevant best practices.

The evolution of ITIL for IT service management

The latest evolution of ITIL – ITIL 4 – will stress the co-creation of value through services.

That means having access to guidance that covers the whole service journey while focusing more on what makes the real difference – a smaller number of key areas that will enable an organization to achieve competitive advantage.

For existing ITIL users, the good news is that ever since ITIL v1 the fundamental practices of ITIL continue to be prevalent because it is true best practice; and we’ll be using key elements of this best practice for many years to come, regardless of the fast pace of change. The central challenges such as how do you deal with a problem and ensure quality will ensure that a new generation of ITIL users will continue to know what to do and why.

Preparing for the future, changing demands of customers

ITIL 4 will help fill in some of the blanks that organizations are currently struggling with and enable organizations to transform into service providers. The emerging “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which demands greater organizational agility and adopting new ways of working, will benefit from the framework that ITIL 4 offers; allowing enterprises to tackle the challenges Industry 4.0 brings.

For further information about ITIL 4, visit our ITIL Update page.

Read more posts in this series

SLAs of the future: measuring outcomes, not IT availability

Combining different IT and ITSM frameworks for business benefit

Business value from IT goods and services in a digital world: ITIL 4

Best practice in IT, ITSM and the ITIL update

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