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Author  Chris Gallacher

VP & Principal Consultant, Forrester Research and contributing author to ITIL 4 Digital and IT Strategy

July 4, 2022 |

 8 min read

  • Blog
  • ITIL

How much has alignment between IT strategy and business objectives/outcomes improved and how have the learnings from the ITIL 4 Managing Professional/Strategic Leader modules helped this?

Organizations are certainly focusing on delivering value more quickly and this means questioning what IT is doing for the business; ultimately, IT organizations have been put on notice to show value or risk being displaced.

And this includes translating strategy more effectively into delivering services to customers and users.

ITIL 4’s guidance – especially in the ITIL 4 Specialist: High-velocity IT (HVIT) and ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy modules – aim to address this through objectives and key results (OKRs) which chunk strategic plans into specific, time-bound goals which help define and track objectives and their outcomes.

Putting ITIL 4 guidance into practice

There are a variety of ways I’m seeing the ITIL 4 guidance deployed in organizations.

First, the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) – as outlined in HVIT – is making headway, with aspects of iteration, building, adapting and improving solutions. This is enabling value to be delivered faster and become more responsive to changing business needs.

Organizations are doing better when thinking about their product/service usability factor: taking incremental steps and getting customer feedback in a more consistent way.

While IT organizations have, traditionally, been “inside-out” in their approach, they are now becoming more “outside-in”, thinking about and engaging with customers throughout the whole development process. This requires a different approach by with adapting existing process to be more transparent and engaging.

Customer/user/employee experience

Design thinking, as outlined in ITIL 4, is about the importance of getting different perspectives in IT – such as bringing someone in from a business function. This enables teams to develop innovative ideas and eliminate barriers to provide a better experience for customers, users and employees.

Interest and focus on customer experience (CX) is increasing across all industries, with organizations looking enterprise-wide to see how to meet customer needs. And there is recognition that you can’t deliver great CX if employees are unhappy and don’t have the tools to be productive and have access to data and insights needed to deliver a seamless experience. Therefore, employee experience (EX) is about empowerment: employees knowing what’s important and believing in the organization’s core mission and values, along with enablement – having the resources to get things done.

Finally, user experience (UX) – with its focus on how people interact with systems – is the common denominator in driving productivity. It should be easier to automate and increase efficiency if systems are designed with the user in mind. As more organizations digitally transform, UX is one of the key differentiators for how organizations can drive and sustain growth.

Optimizing IT-enabled products and services

From the theories contained within ITIL 4 Managing Professional and Strategic Leader designations, organizations are defining clear visions for their organizations which drive action.

Consequently, this includes looking at the tactical nature of addressing day to day issues while also having a more strategic view. This means using journey mapping and prioritizing actions based on customer needs rather than IT demands; and using value stream mapping to identify the steps in a process that can be eliminated or refined to reduce re-work and wait-times and improve efficiency.

ITIL 4’s reference to the value proposition canvas helps organizations pinpoint the value creators and pain relievers which lead into the products and services their customers will value most.

Finally, the portfolio management practice has also become crucial to organizations. This is important to know what services need improving, where investment needs to go, what is driving value and what services need retiring. After all, a portfolio of services and products isn’t for life.

With the vast array of methods and frameworks available to organizations and their practitioners, ITIL 4 provides a broad spectrum and a rich view of different approaches they can call upon.

IT and service management must be adaptive and ITIL 4 offers options that can be customized for the variety of problems an organization has.