The Case for ITIL 4

ITIL logo on purple

The ITIL v3® framework was created in 2007. Then in February 2019, AXELOS introduced ITIL 4®. The question may arise for some...

Why should I care about the ITIL 4 update?

There are many reasons why an individual or an organization should consider ITIL as a framework for their IT best practice.

Emphasis on Integration

To start, simply the fact that ITIL has been around since the late 80s and the last update was in 2007 is a reason to understand an update. ITIL has undergone four iterations, as indicated in its title: ITIL 4. For the framework to stay relevant, it needs to continue to evolve. Therefore, version 4 was updated in alignment with several other frameworks, including:

Business and IT look to prosper together, which makes that alignment even more relevant.

It's All About "Adopt & Adapt"

Second, ITIL has remained the leading framework in Service Management since its start, so you would have to agree they know what they are doing. ITIL has always focused on: Adopt and Adapt. Adopt the best practice and adapt it to how your organization works.

Keep Your Knowledge Current

Third, Axelos, the owner of ITIL, has responded to the need for several concepts which move away from the linear lifecycle steps of v3 with this update. Adding these concepts in ITIL 4 keeps you current with what is relevant.

Some changes include streamlining the Guiding Principles from 9 to 7, which were first introduced in 2016 in the ITIL Practitioner. They have added the Service Value System (SVS), which begins with Opportunity / Demand and ends with Value. Then, on the outer edges of the SVS sit The Guiding Principles and Continual Improvement. Finally, governance and Practices surround the inner core, which is the Service Value Chain (SVC).

The Service Value Chain is the heart of Service Management. This consists of Plan, Improve, Engage, Design and Transition, Obtain and Build, together with Deliver and Support. So, you can see that some of v3 is still incorporated in ITIL 4.

Other changes are the wording of the definition of Service from delivering to co-creation, acknowledging that all stakeholders have a part to play in the Service, not just IT. Also, relationships are vital in achieving Value.

The 4 Dimensions

The 4 P's have been removed and replaced with 4 Dimensions:

  1. Organizations and People
  2. Information and Technology
  3. Partners and Suppliers
  4. Value Streams and Processes

These dimensions are subject to the PESTLE factors: 

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Technological
  • Legal
  • Environmental

Processes become Practices for better or worse, and the Practices are split into General, Service, and Technology.

The Future of ITIL

With the 4 ITIL specialist modules, combined with ITIL 4 and the Managing Professional, ITIL's future will align with the business to co-create Value and ensure that ITIL 4 links with the new and emerging IT frameworks such as DevOps & SIAM.

Learn More about ITIL Certification & Training



This piece was originally posted on September 11, 2019, and has been refreshed with updated styling, links, and information. ITIL®, PRINCE2®, PRINCE2 Agile®, AgileSHIFT®, MoP®, and MSP® are registered trademarks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.