The influx of new technologies has initiated a steep growth in the demand for a more modern, structured IT service management (ITSM) framework. Emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and many more are shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A report by CompTIA projects the global information technology industry will grow at a rate of 3.7% in 2020, and that IT jobs are at risk as companies move toward automation. However, with multi-faceted certifications like ITIL®, the IT teams will be better equipped to handle more responsibilities overarching the IT industry.
ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a common framework that standardized global best practices in IT. It is used globally by millions of practitioners and is relied upon by 90% of the Financial Times Stock Exchange 500 to optimize their IT operations. Its framework equips a service provider with a clear capability model, aligning them to the business strategy and customer needs. Yet, with shifting work practices, the silo-model of ITIL® has been challenging its practitioners to evolve. With its new version, the ITIL® V4, some of these problem areas are addressed.
Carefully curated with the help of 12 lead architects, 61 authors, and hundreds of IT practitioners, the latest additions incorporate a range of approaches from DevOps, Agile to SRE(Site Reliability Engineering). So what exactly sets apart ITIL® 4?
Traditionally, ITSM focused on continual service improvement (CSI) by collecting feedback and coming up with improvements in a project plan that spans anywhere between 6-12 months. However, with the advent of digital transformation, this approach has become obsolete. With its delayed turn-around-time or improvement model, customer-retention becomes difficult, and the overall pace is hampered as well.
The introduction of agility to this model ensures shorter cycles of projects and constant iterations to meet the customers’ or end-users’ expectations. Running 4-week sprints becomes a regular process, with mini-projects being stacked alongside – then passed to the Scrum Masters. Not only does this streamline the feedback mechanism to ensure continuous improvement, but it also helps in tracking the success and optimal usage of resources.
It is as simple as this: instead of doing something for 6 months, finding where it failed and then reworking on those aspects; using agile methodology one can continuously rework on what is wrong, while also progressing with the project and enhancing what is right. A perfect example of this is user testing and MVP (minimum viable product) in the case of IT services.
Agile also allows the setting of short-term goals aligned to the current business needs. With the entire team aligned to the end-result ploughing improvements on-the-go, overall productivity is also increased.
ITIL® 4 focuses on creating a shift in the ITSM mindset, both culturally and in the working methodologies, by breaking down barriers and silo-working. It helps in fostering a collaborative work environment right from the top and nurtures a holistic approach to work. By documenting processes formally and keeping track of consistency and progress, the dependencies involved in each process are transparent. Each team works to its strengths and supports the other in its shortcomings, creating a collaborative environment.
When such structures are implemented at the top level, it is bound to trickle down to the remaining parts of the organization.
ITIL® V4 has been primarily built on four dimensions of service management – people, products, partners, and processes. While the processes were largely overlooked by the previous versions, the ITIL® V4 embraces the core values of other frameworks like Lean, Agile and DevOps, making it more flexible and beneficial to the niche IT services.
With the support of ITIL® V4, ITSM is more structured around development processes and its adoption of agile methodologies creates space and autonomy in work within a consistent framework. Change is imperative for the growth of any organization, and ITIL® 4 helps them navigate it. Shifting gears from process-led delivery to value-driven delivery, ITIL® 4 ensures faster quality and quick growth for people and organizations.
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