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Author  Barry Corles - Director Consulting Expert – Service Advisory practice, CGI

Director Consulting Expert – Service Advisory practice, CGI

July 4, 2023 |

 8 min read

  • Blog
  • ITIL

Almost four years on from the birth of ITIL 4, why would organizations still be using ITIL v3?

That could be like asking organizations using Microsoft Windows why they’re using still using Windows 10 when Windows 11 is available.

Similarly, if an organization has embraced ITIL – and it continues to work for them – they may not question which version it is. Unlike software, ITIL doesn’t fall out of maintenance or support; the framework works, even if there are concepts and vocabulary still present since its earlier iterations, e.g., it’s still a good idea to test a change before you put it live!

However, if you asked me whether organizations and professionals not using ITIL 4 are missing a trick, I would say yes.

What's the incentive to move to ITIL 4 now?

When ITIL 4 was designed, there were two specific areas important then that are even more important now.

Digitalization of core business and changing customer demands have been facts of life for some time – and ITIL 4 addresses both.  

Today’s digital and customer environments require organizations to remain relevant if they want to stay in business; many that refused to recognize this are no longer with us. The pressure to change in the digital environment is greater than in the industrial era, where replicating someone else’s idea took months or years. Today, that can happen in an afternoon.  

So, what does this mean for service management professionals and ITIL?

Organizations’ internal customers are becoming much more digitally savvy and recognize what good should look like. Therefore, if the service management function is not willing to change and respond to their needs, people start embracing “shadow IT” (the non-central adoption of software and applications). And they risk doing this without thinking through the possible impact on interconnecting systems and data, which poses real problems.

But there must be “carrot” as well as “stick” to be persuaded of ITIL 4’s value.

The organizational premium from shifting to ITIL 4

There are, I believe, three main areas where ITIL 4 has benefited the individuals and organizations that have shifted to it.

  1. An ability for service management to get a lot closer to other best practices

ITIL 4 doesn’t put itself in opposition to other methods or frameworks, such as DevOps, SIAM or Site Reliability Engineering. Rather, it focuses on how they can combine and start to talk the same language. Personally, I’ve used ITIL 4’s seven guiding principles to show a very close alignment with the scaled agile framework (SAFe) that enabled teams to collaborate through a common language and belief.

  1. A truly holistic view of the future

ITIL 4 is designed so that it takes a holistic view of every change and improvement. A self-important focus on processes is the last thing you can expect from modern service management. 

  1. Service management is spreading enterprise wide

Many more people are making the evolution from IT service management (ITSM) to enterprise service management (ESM) and ITIL 4 provides the framework to do this. Also, service management’s responsibility has moved more to the end-to-end customer experience, which fits well with ITIL 4’s outlook.

How do you get senior management buy-in for this?

It’s no accident that my next itSMF conference presentation is entitled: “The last great divide: selling service management into the C-suite.”

Fundamentally, service management has always had a logic, but it’s been sold without passion and emotion to senior management. Rather than talking technicalities, it should be about finding out what is keeping senior leadership awake at night and showing how service management can help cure the organization’s problems. The more you talk about their headache, the more they’ll want your aspirin.

Even in hugely uncertain times what most boardrooms crave is predictability and visibility – and these are significant benefits in service management and ITIL 4.

As ITIL has grown up, its approach has become much more holistic; at CGI, service management and ITIL is a major contributor to our Digital Backbone which looks at the entirety of a digital estate and how it integrates into the bigger organizational picture of business change and sustainability – in fact, everything relevant to the evolution of the organization.

To find out more about the Digital Backbone approach and how we use best practices to transform organisations, visit our webpage. Or please reach out to me via email: barry.corless@cgi.com.