ITIL 4: getting in shape for modern service management

Team of IT service managers sat to the left of the image at table reviewing documents and plans for service management with laptop

What qualities define the practitioner who has studied and certified in ITIL® 4?

This person is what we call “T-shaped”: a specialist-generalist with great depth of expertise in one area but also a breadth of knowledge across other disciplines.

Why is this important in organizations as we enter the 2020s? To sum up in one word, the pressing need is “collaboration”. And, by coincidence, this is something the working world is learning about in real time. With virtual, online meetings forced to happen by the Covid-19 pandemic people are facing new challenges: to explain themselves clearly and understand better what colleagues in other disciplines are talking about in order to collaborate effectively.

However, the need for T-shaped people and ITIL 4 was already part of broader organizational trends. For example, if service managers looked at their peers in the development world, they’d see the value of going from a customer demand all the way through to a live release.

One UK Government department is already talking about “full stack service management” – running service management alongside technology development so it coincides at every touchpoint. This approach needs people who understand what the service management needs are along this journey and with an appreciation of methods such as site reliability engineering and DevOps.

ITIL 4 – the practical application

There are numerous practical capabilities that service management professionals can obtain from ITIL 4. These are my observations:

  1. Understanding a value stream from a service management perspective:
    With the world moving more towards agile, Lean and DevOps, the overriding idea is value, value, value.  
    One of ITIL 4’s guiding principles, focus on value, ensures that everything the practitioner does should add value. Therefore, the question “how does this add value?” should be the subtext to everything a service management professional learns and does.

  2. Using the guiding principles  
    ITIL 4’s guiding principles are massively important as a starting point for organizations wanting to move to 21st century ways of working and to influence how to manage governance in the context of technology and automation.

  3. Driving stakeholder value
    The ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV) module looks at managing stakeholders from a strategic, tactical and operational perspective.

    Every organization relies on a variety of partners and suppliers and they must be included as part of stakeholder value. So, DSV is a service delivery manager’s dream; embracing the complementary value of methods such as service integration and management (SIAM) and recognizing that this is happening in the real world.

Going beyond ITIL 4 Foundation

The argument for practitioners studying and certifying to higher levels than ITIL 4 Foundation goes beyond the need for people to have a “badge” of achievement.

Service management is deeply rooted in many organizations and bringing it into the 2020s will be something of an evolution. This requires practitioners to embrace further learning and to explore the practical knowledge, skills and capabilities contained in the ITIL 4 Specialist modules.

Getting in “shape” should be on everyone’s to-do list – just make sure yours is “T-shaped”.

Read more AXELOS blogs by Barry Corless

ITIL Intermediate: Release, control, validation – many happy releases

Built on ITIL: ITIL – the tool that just keeps giving

More than meets the I: How ITIL makes a difference in Mergers and Acquisitions activity

Why problem management in an agile environment is key in 2017

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