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ITIL 4 and eTOM White Paper

White Paper

ITIL 4 and eTOM White Paper

White Paper

  • White Paper
  • Agile
  • DevOps
  • IT Services
  • Service management
  • Value
  • ITIL

Author  Saurabh Jain and Renato Fichmann

June 14, 2020 |

 11 min read

  • White Paper
  • Agile
  • DevOps
  • IT Services
  • Service management
  • Value
  • ITIL

As communication service providers adjust to economic impacts, innovative practices, and technological change, they must also meet increasing consumer demand. Bodies such as the Telecommunications Management Forum (TM Forum), AXELOS, and itSMF provide guidance to help organizations address these challenges and create significant value faster through evolving technologies.

eTOM and ITIL® are both choice frameworks for IT service management. They have been successfully implemented by organizations who recognize that a growing dependence on IT should correlate with increasingly high-quality IT services. ITIL 4 and eTOM are also becoming ever more relevant because of the rapid development of technologies such as 5G wireless, software defined networking, and growing IOT. From operations perspective, ITIL and eTOM could be critical to the success of organizations’ investments in these technologies.

This paper explores how eTOM and ITIL 4 drive value creation and is a practical guide to how to blend the two frameworks into one holistic approach.

The recent evolution of eTOM and ITIL 4

This section explores the recent updates to eTOM and ITIL. Each has evolved to include methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, and site reliability engineering, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

ITIL 4 incorporates the service value system (SVS), shown in Figure 2.1, and has a broader perspective on service management than past versions. ITIL 4’s holistic approach raises the profile of service management in organizations and industries, setting it within a more strategic context. It focuses on end-to-end product and service management, from demand to value.

eTOM is an acronym for enhanced Telecom Operations Map. It is a key industry framework for enterprise processes in the telecommunications industry and was created by the TM Forum.

The TM Forum is a global industry association for service providers and their suppliers in the telecommunications industry. It was founded as the OSI/Network Management Forum in 1988 by eight companies to collaboratively solve systems and operational management issues with OSI protocols.

In 2008, the organization changed its name to TM Forum, and it now provides an open, collaborative environment along with tools and information to help its members in their digital transformation initiatives.

TM Forum’s work includes the Open Digital Framework, Open Digital Architecture, a suite of over 50 REST-based Open APIs, Frameworx, Business Process Framework (eTOM), Frameworx Shared Information/Data Model, and Telecom Application Map.

Figure 2.1 ITIL service value system
Figure 2.1 ITIL service value system

eTOM is a key component of the Open Digital Framework, which is TM Forum’s blueprint for enabling successful business transformation. It consists of a wide-ranging set of templates, ranging in levels of detail, that organizations can use to map their process elements and flows so that they can visualize end-to-end workflows. The framework consists of three hierarchically arranged levels of processes. Level 1 is the most high-level, and Level 3 is the most detailed. At level 1, eTOM is conceptually composed of three focus areas:

  • strategy, infrastructure, and product (SIP)
  • operations
  • enterprise management.

These focus areas are shown in Figure 2.2.

eTOM has responded to the growing complexity of value chains in the telecoms and IT industries by developing an enterprise-wide view of business processes.

ITIL and eTOM are complementary. They can be used together to create one holistic framework that will improve organizations’ IT and service management capabilities to create value. Delivering ITIL 4-inspired ‘best practice’ services using process flows built with eTOM is both feasible and practical.

Because ITIL 4 and eTOM have both recently been updated, there is increased value in using them together. For example, it is possible to derive higher-level and more comprehensive ITIL practice processes from the detailed processes that are modelled in eTOM. This idea is explored more in section 3.

Figure 2.2 Business Process Framework (eTOM)

Mapping eTOM and ITIL 4

Mapping eTOM to ITIL 4, or vice versa, helps organizations to use both frameworks effectively and minimizes the number of conflicts between the two as they evolve. In some cases, the frameworks align without intervention; for example, both frameworks consider service relationship management activities as joint activities that are performed by a service provider and service consumer to ensure continual value co-creation based on agreed and available service offerings.

The first framework mapping that should be explored is the link from an opportunity/demand to value, which provides a common, linked view of the relationship between services and products in ITIL and eTOM. The ITIL service value chain facilitates value by identifying interconnected activities that an organization performs, which can be mapped to eTOM’s Level 1, 2, and 3 processes. The eTOM process levels explain and provide details about the prescriptive template workflows; the levels get more detailed as you progress from Level 1 to Level 3. This mapping incentivizes service providers to analyse their workflows and transform in order to reduce costs and deliver services faster and more reliably.

eTOM allows organizations to directly support ITIL good practice services by implementing eTOM process flows overlaid on ITIL 4 best practice, as shown in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 Using eTOM and ITIL together
Figure 3.1 Using eTOM and ITIL together (Click for larger image)

Within eTOM’s enterprise management focus area, an initial set of the practices in the eTOM Level 2 processes and their location in the enterprise management Level 1 process areas has been defined. This provides immediate and direct visibility for how users can leverage ITIL and eTOM together. ITIL’s 34 practices can be mapped to eTOM enterprise management Level 1 and 2 processes because they augment the enterprise management activities.

ITIL’s value streams allow practitioners to visualize and understand the dependencies between activities. ITIL’s value chain activities, shown in Figure 3.2, can be mapped to eTOM as follows:

  • obtain/build maps to SIP
  • design and transition maps to eTOM’s operations support and readiness
  • deliver and support maps to eTOM’s fulfilment, assurance, billing, and revenue management.

Figure 3.2 ITIL service value chain
Figure 3.2 ITIL service value chain

This is illustrated further in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 Mapping ITIL 4 and eTOM
Figure 3.3 Mapping ITIL 4 and eTOM (Click for larger image)

The ITIL service value chain is an operating model that outlines the key activities required to respond to demand and facilitate value co-creation through the creation and management of products and services. It can be used alongside eTOM workflows in swim lanes, as shown in Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4 Value stream mapping
Figure 3.4 Value stream mapping (Click for larger image)

The next step is to use eTOM swim lanes to map service relationship models. Swim lanes make the details of a process more recognizable to eTOM users. In ITIL 4, these service relationship models enable service consumers to use new or modified resources to create products, thus becoming a service provider. In evolving, data-driven environments, this helps organizations to simplify and understand interfaces, inputs, and outputs in order to drive continual improvement. Figure 3.5 shows an example of this for eTOM’s operations swim lane using ITIL’s service relationship model.

Figure 3.5 The service relationship model
Figure 3.5 The service relationship model (Click for larger image)

Both ITIL and eTOM explicitly reference incidents and problems. In eTOM, this is part of Level 3 and 4 prescriptive workflows, which indirectly refer to incident management and problem management in the relevant process elements within the assurance and fulfilment areas that align with ITIL 4.
Lastly, as an organization’s environment evolves, its leaders can use ITIL’s guiding principles as a basis for corporate direction or policy. The guiding principles are:

  • focus on value
  • start where you are
  • progress iteratively with feedback
  • collaborate and promote visibility
  • think and work holistically
  • keep it simple and practical
  • optimize and automate.

Using the guiding principles in this way links eTOM with the ITIL principles within SIP, operations, and enterprise management in order to build individual process flows in their respective, defined areas. This is done by using ITIL as background ‘swimlanes’, and eTOM process elements as foreground process flows.


This paper has explored the opportunities available for organizations to adopt ITIL alongside eTOM. With broader participation and contribution from both the TM Forum and ITIL communities, ITIL 4 can be implemented directly through evolved eTOM process flows.

In most industries, there is no desire for a single framework. Instead, practitioners prefer a hybrid approach and an effective mapping of the two based on the micro- and macro-economic factors that influence their organization. eTOM encompasses aspects which are unique to service providers, covering similar topics as ITIL 4. Therefore, the two frameworks can be used together according to the needs of each individual organization to facilitate value creation.

About the authors

Saurabh JainSaurabh Jain is an ITSM practitioner and an ITIL Global Ambassador with expertise working with global service providers on operations transformation. He is a qualified ITIL 4 Expert and Product Manager. Saurabh has a solid history of managing large transformation projects with some of the largest national and international, globally recognized organizations.

Saurabh is a product manager at Cisco Systems with over 25 years of industry experience. He is also co-founder of Ezesolutions. Saurabh’s goal is to improve technology adoption towards the way we work, live, and play.

Renato Fichmann is a digital transformation consultant with 20 years of professional experience in the technology space. He has worked with customers around the globe, particularly in Latin America, the Pacific and the United States. In his current role at Amazon Web Services (AWS), he helps customers migrate workloads to the cloud, transform/enable their businesses with innovation and state-of-art technologies, and to build new digital businesses.

Before Amazon, Renato worked for Cisco Systems, BMC Software, Westpac Banking Corporation and other organizations in Brazil and Australia.

Renato FichmannRenato combines technology expertise with business skills, helping translate requirements into solutions navigating through conversations from C-level down to the technical teams. He holds an MBA from Baylor University and have certifications from AWS, ITIL, and TOGAF.

Renato has worked most of his career in telco, financial, and professional services industries, where he spent most of his time as a professional services consultant, Cloud and IT service management expert. He has worked in different areas of IT, including infrastructure, software development, IT service management, sales, and business development.

Further reading

AXELOS (2018). ITIL® Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition. TSO. London.

TM Forum. Business Process Framework (eTOM). Accessible at: [Accessed 18/06/2020]

TM Forum (2014). Building Bridges: ITIL and eTOM v1.1. Accessible at: [Accessed 18/06/2020]