ITIL 4 High-velocity IT: the digital enterprise

Section of computer motherboard or circuit board with wires or lines extending across and upwards

What does de-centralized IT look like today and how is high-velocity IT (HVIT), as addressed in ITIL 4, enabling it?

Digital organizations need to provide rapid and immediate responses to customer needs because they demand quick action, whether they are internal or external. Unicorn start-up businesses are built on this HVIT concept because, if they don’t react, there are other companies who can and will steal their customers.

In this way, HVIT also becomes the cheaper and more efficient option; reducing cost to market, cost to service and bringing increased value through a quicker and better service.

Does HVIT mean just “faster” or is it more than that?

From a pure velocity perspective, HVIT means you should be able to make faster decisions about IT changes rather than waiting days or weeks to arrange a Change Advisory Board (CAB) meeting. Instead, meetings are more impromptu or managed via a social group like Yammer, creating a virtual CAB in hours.

However, it’s not about speed alone: it’s also about what you need when you need it, which is more dynamic and tailored to the user/customer than a broad-brush approach like offering service catalogue options.

For example, providing a digital response via a chatbot is – within a couple of clicks – a very personal, appropriate response and delivered in the desired format. This service both delivers value and encourages the customer to return – and you can’t ask for better value than that.

HVIT across the IT function

Today, working across digital platforms, IT teams need to be more agile when making changes, such as integrating new features. It’s unnecessary to have a whole, big project team with a waterfall approach; rather, you need agility with collaborative tools such as scrums and sprints to produce and release something. This way, the end user sees improvements regularly rather than every few months.

Consequently, service management teams can divert resources to whoever is available; so, when you have a queue for support, calls are automatically diverted to the most relevant person.

The ITIL 4 HVIT module in practice

What ITIL 4’s HVIT module gives people is a thought process for how to adopt agile ways of working and to understand how an organization can be more automated, smarter and accessible for the digital age.

For ITIL practitioners transitioning from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4, it improves their understanding of value streams and the co-creation of value; it puts into context what the end user is receiving and what they think is most important, regardless of the processes involved.

In my environment, I’m already using the concept of value streams more often which means adding value to a particular area by doing a specific activity. That could involve proactivity, efficiency and automation to get people where they want to go more quickly.

Once you show that you are adding value, it leads to getting lots of improvement done. It becomes easier after that to take people on the change journey, rather than launching projects that last months and don’t guarantee to deliver benefits or value.

HVIT becomes a real thing and people begin talking about value streams: what value are we going to add and, if not, why are we doing it?

Read Paul's previous blog post for AXELOS, ITIL 4 Managing Professional: agility and structure for the real world.

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