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Author  Sophie Hussey – Director, Lapis Consulting Services

June 15, 2022 |

 8 min read

  • Blog
  • ITIL Practices
  • ITIL

Almost exactly three years ago, ITIL 4 succeeded ITIL v3 in one of the biggest updates to the framework since 2007.

Since then, ITIL 4 – developed in response to the changing face of IT operations and service management – has brought things up to date by aligning with high velocity IT, delivering end-to-end services and taking a more holistic approach.

Looking back now, the launch of ITIL 4 couldn’t have been better timed. Those practitioners who have applied ITIL 4 principles to managing the impact of the pandemic have shown they were much better equipped to deliver strategic change at pace.

From hybrid working, through the introduction of eCommerce supply chains, adopting applications and the cloud, early adopters of ITIL 4 have had an edge; helping them remove the lines between IT and the rest of the business and create more agile ways of working.

Delivering high velocity IT needs a new partnership approach

While some companies have been agile enough to adopt and adapt ITIL 4, for many companies it takes time to transition from ITIL v3. The process of moving from owning processes to creating a service-focused value chain is an evolution. It’s not as simple as flicking a switch, especially true if your job roles and departments are named after processes from v3.

That’s why advocates of ITIL 4 agree that moving from ITIL v3 requires cross-functional collaboration, within and beyond the IT function, and broader stakeholder management.

This ensures that not only is IT delivering business change but that the change has a definite impact on the top line company strategy. IT is seen less as a cost by leaders, but rather a true partner and an enabler of great customer experience.

Creating a collaborative culture can’t be underestimated. In fact, ITIL 4’s guiding principle ‘collaborate and promote visibility’ is testament to this. When full transparency exists, people will continually think about the bigger picture and the overriding company goals - they feel valued and add value.

This is especially important today as people evaluate their career. People don’t want to be robotic; they want to know how their efforts fit into overall success and that it’s worth it. I’d go as far to say that investing in ITIL 4 is a way to retain talent and skills.

Adopt and adapt

It’s important to note, that every company is different and ITIL adoption works best when it is adapted. That’s why making the move to ITIL 4doesn’t necessarily mean leaving everything you know about ITIL v3 behind.

Evolving how you do things and adapting ITIL v3 principles to work with the best practice of ITIL 4 is still a valid approach. This evolution tends to happen naturally if you’re a service- focused organization.

But ITIL 4 supersedes ITIL v3 when companies are faced with the risks of delivering services quickly while optimizing costs. That’s because ITIL 4 provides both agility, structure and a safety net. You can move through iterations, even making mistakes in the process, but ensure they are ‘owned’ by the organisation and invisible to the customer. Service levels are far less likely to dip when building on strong service foundations and implementing remedies and new solutions that are based in continual service improvement.

Start where you are

I think the most important thing to remember, no matter where you are in the journey, is that ITIL 4 says ‘Start where you are’. Understand where you want to be and what you need to do. That mantra should always be considered regardless of how mature the company’s service management culture is.

Importantly, you must always set out to establish a shared vision between IT, HR, marketing, sales, customer service, finance, supply chain and so on – and ask how IT will support the functions in their quest to deliver an impeccable, end-to-end service to the customer. In short, what does the value chain look like?

Companies who invest in their people, including leaders, to complete an ITIL 4 Foundation level certification will tend to have a greater understanding of risk and how best quality services can and should be delivered. This embeds the value the ITIL framework and the expertise it gives them.

In turn, people throughout the company will make different and better decisions for the organization and ensure customers get the service they need and, more crucially, want to use.