How should an organization undertake the transition from ITIL® v3 to ITIL 4?
But before the “how?”, maybe we should talk about the “why?”. ITIL 4 is the latest evolution in the best practice framework that has supported IT service management professionals and their organizations for more than 30 years.
Today, ITIL is about addressing new service management challenges in the context of changing technology and the co-creation of value.
The Guiding Principles
One readily-available answer to the “how to transition?” question lies within ITIL 4 itself – the Guiding Principles.
Following the seven Guiding Principles, is as valid for the transition process as it is for the management of services, and, as every organization is different, the principles are flexible enough to be adaptable to each individual circumstance:
- Start where you are: look at what you’re already doing well under ITIL v3 and ask where you want to be. And you don’t need to throw out what you’ve already learned. You are probably already doing good things, so don’t lose them.
- Progress iteratively with feedback: ultimately, ITIL 4 best practice reflects what’s working currently with new technologies and trends. Yes, there are many new concepts to consider and you can’t change all current ways of thinking and working overnight; how do you “eat an elephant” – one bite at a time! So, define where you want to be and begin with small changes. For example, you could offer awareness learning, send people on an ITIL 4 course. Afterwards, get feedback from staff and identify what needs to change in the current operations. Also, seek feedback from stakeholders – have they noticed any difference?
- Focus on value: what value are you adding by adopting the new best practice activities? Value might be financial, regulatory, reputational, improving customer experience or benefiting stakeholders. If what you are doing doesn’t deliver value – and that includes steps in processes – then why are you doing it?
- Collaborate and promote visibility: people are naturally resistant to change so if you’re going to be working differently with ITIL 4, you should talk to people and explain the benefits to them and the customer. For example, it might mean freeing them up with greater automation to concentrate on more valuable activities. Human nature means we often think the worse, so bring people with you on this journey and remember the important question: “what’s in it for me?”
- Keep it simple and practical: how can you simplify what you’re doing? Look at the objective in detail, find out all you need then simplify so that nothing is lost but irrelevancies are removed.
- Think and work holistically: as no service stands alone, if you plan to change something then what else will be affected in the organization?
- Optimize and automate: are you producing value? If not, don’t do it anymore. Also, do you have a manual process that could be automated? Repetitive and repeatable tasks are a waste of your most valuable resource, people. Automate where possible to free them up to do more productive work.
Alongside using the Guiding Principles, having ITIL 4-trained “Evangelists” can help to move a transition process forward.
Even before that, you need a clear overview of where you want to go as an organization. Therefore, this needs key people involved to identify where training is needed. Getting this senior-level buy-in is important in the overall adoption of ITIL 4, because of the central importance in the framework of culture change.
Enabling the necessary culture change means you will be using the ITIL 4 guidance in a more agile way – something which reflects the changing trends and technologies faced by the majority of organizations today.
ITIL 4 is an exciting look at how service management is progressing, so enjoy your journey.