ITIL 4: preparing organizations for digital transformation

image of planet earth with graphic overlays of digital transformation icons

Digital transformation is about improving your digital footprint, digitalizing processes and most importantly – changing your company culture.

The preparation for – and execution of – transformation is critical which means setting both clear goals and defining an approach to undertaking the change.

A key part of that is being agile before, during and after the transformation. Agility means being present, able to act quickly and ready to create a prototype or minimum viable product to obtain feedback early, rather than waiting for months.

In 2021, digital transformation is not only a “must”, it’s inevitable; and, if you don’t succeed, you are likely to end up in chaos and with a myriad of new problems.

Therefore, understanding what your objectives are is vital for both clarity and momentum – and ITIL® 4’s principles offer a good reference point from the outset of any digital transformation programme.

ITIL 4 and the four dimensions

When thinking about digital transformation, it’s key to cover the four dimensions of service management:

  • Organizations and people
  • Information and technology
  • Partners and suppliers
  • Value streams and processes.

This makes sense, firstly, because when digital transformation changes a company then the culture and competency need to change along with it.

But – as the four dimensions show us – organizations are interconnected and customers/providers are interlinked. This means you can’t do digital transformation in isolation, which is why it also needs to involve partners and suppliers.

And though ITIL 4 is still relatively recent, I’ve seen improvements and positive trends in the relationships between partners and suppliers.

Value streams – the secret weapon in ITIL 4

Within the four dimensions, I believe the value streams are the greatest “secret weapon” for digital transformation.

If you aren’t clear about your value streams, processes, value chain and practices that support the streams, you will start your transformation on the wrong foot, it will be difficult to define your future mode and you’ll be shooting in the dark.

Within ITIL 4’s service value system, decisions are made not on second-hand information but by speaking directly with people and demonstrating empathy: understanding what they’re doing and how digital transformation can help them from a people as well as company perspective.

The vital element here is starting a major change initiative with defining principles as well as agreeing goals. By setting principles from the start, people will understand how you want the game to be played, which should include explaining how things will happen, speaking directly, being present and showing empathy.

Coming back to the four dimensions, it’s about the people, not just the technology – and people work better not just with goals but with principles to follow.

ITIL 4 Managing Professional – going beyond IT

If digital transformation initiatives fail, it’s often because goals and budgets were ill-defined, but also because people didn’t have clarity on how to approach the transformation.

Personally, I’ve found the knowledge contained across the ITIL 4 Managing Professional modules address this issue and offer many approaches that go beyond IT. For example, the principles of internal marketing to create motivation among stakeholders.

Equally, understanding the competencies of the “T-shaped professional” (broad areas of knowledge plus a specialist skill) as explained in ITIL 4 is important to recognize the ideal type of people you need for successful digital transformation.

ITIL 4 Managing Professional offers the right toolbox for adapting to your organization’s current needs and, if you’re in the driving seat of a digital transformation, you should be taking yourself on this journey.

Future-proof your organization with ITIL 4

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