IT Service management is a systematic approach to deliver value to customers through IT services. This involves visualization of the service lifecycle, understanding the service requirement (or demand for services), creating service conceptualization, strategy, design, transition, operation (monitoring and managing) and service improvement throughout the lifecycle of the services. Service life cycle refers to the entire life of a service from its inception to its retirement.
ITIL® has been the de-facto best practices for IT Service Management since its evolution in the 1980s, when the UK Government Central Computer and Telecommunication Agency (CCTA) recommended IT Management Practices after recognizing the pressing need for standard practices. The ITIL® was earlier owned by CCTA, OGC & Cabinet office and currently it is owned by AXELOS®. Various versions of ITIL® have been released over the years, considering the dynamics of the industry from time to time.
From the late 1990’s till up to the year 2011 many new versions of ITIL® have been released, namely ITIL® V1 released in 1986-96, V2 released in 2000-2006, V3 released in 2007-2011 & a revised version of V3 released 2011. The latest version released is ITIL®4 Foundation, which was released on 28th February 2019.
ITIL® is currently evolving from ITIL V3 to ITIL 4 with a clear transition journey from one scheme structure to the other. ITIL® V3 Foundation candidates are encouraged to move straight to ITIL® 4 Foundation to keep their skills up-to-date. ITIL® V3 Intermediate certified candidates shall continue their ITIL® V3 journey to build the skills they need.
The current certification offered by AXELOS® is ITIL®4 (Foundation only) and ITIL® V3 2011 certification (at all levels) that will be offered until the release of all the modules of ITIL®4. The candidates who are certified ITIL® V3 are encouraged to take up ITIL®4 Foundation to ensure their skills are up to date and relevant. Candidates who are certified at intermediate level continue their journey of ITIL® V3 and build on their skills. Later after introduction of ITIL®4 modules, they can appear for the bridge course (i.e. Managing Professional [Transition])
The below pictures depict the various certification levels in ITIL V3 2011 and ITIL 4, currently.
Figure 1: ITIL® V3 2011 Qualification Scheme
Figure 2: ITIL® 4 Qualification Scheme
(copyright of AXELOS®, reproduced under the license from AXELOS® Limited)
The learners holding some credits beyond ITIL® V3 Foundation have two recommended options to transition to ITIL 4 depending on their preference to achieve in the scheme.
OPTION 1: Candidates shall take-up ITIL®4 Foundation and any other module in their preferred area of interest or expertise, becoming an ITIL® Specialist or Strategist or Leader.
Candidates who do not have an interest in pursuing the ITIL® Managing Professional designation, are recommended to take-up the most relevant module in their area of practice/interest.
OPTION 2: If the candidate has achieved 17 credits from ITIL® V3 they will become eligible to take-up the ITIL®4 Managing Professional transition module.
The learner can continue to take-up the modules of ITIL® V3 exams until 2020, and accumulate the required points to take-up the Managing Professional transition course. This benefits candidates to fast track past the ITIL® V3 Managing Across the Lifecycle course and exam. (Note: The ITIL® V3 certification will be discontinued after 2020.)
The candidate has to ensure accumulating 17 credits to be eligible to take up the ITIL Managing Professional Transition module.
Candidates who has achieved ITIL® V3 Expert can take up the ITIL Managing Professional Transition module as soon as it is released to achieve the ITIL Managing Professional designation.
Further if the candidate is interested to achieve ITIL® Strategic Leader stream, they can take-up ITIL® Leader Digital & Strategy module. Once they have completed both streams, they are eligible to move towards ITIL® Master.
Technology is moving at breakneck speed and is a continuous evolution in all aspects of life, right from an individual’s preferences to consumer’s behaviour and technology advancements. This has also created a stress on organizations that feel the need to evolve, sustain and grow. As depicted in the below picture, it is evident that the time taken to adopt to modern gadgets or products or services has shrunk. This is also a global phenomenon.
Figure 3: Years taken until adopted by 25% of the US Population
To cope up with this ever changing demand, organizations are forced to continuously innovate & progress, and create value proposition acceptable to consumers.
According to the World Trade Organization, services make up the largest and most dynamic component of both developed and developing economies. Services are the main way that organizations create value for themselves and their customers. Almost all services today, are IT-enabled, which means there is tremendous benefit for organizations in creating, expanding, and improving their IT service management capability. (Reference: ITIL4 book of AXELOS)
IT Services are enabled through the technology products which are also advancing very fast in the modern world. Invention of modern technology like cloud computing (ex: Infrastructure as a services), Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, Analytics etc., are becoming common place for IT Service enablement. This resulted in challenges to adapt, adopt the change and transform organizations & their practices, to enable them to remain relevant and successful.
Organizations need to bring in a balance between stability and predictability with the raising operational agility and increased velocity. Organization’s capabilities are heavily dependent on the Information and technology. It has reached the stage where all the business organizations are relaying on these capabilities. The emphasis on cultural movement to break down the silos and establish cross-functional teams are spoken about more often. Leveraging on the opportunities triggered by new technologies, new ways of working have been adopted and appreciated.
Likewise, the best practices considering the changing scenario of business environment has evolved & updated from time to time. ITIL®, the de-facto best practice for IT Service Management has also evolved since its inception, to keep up with the evolving technology and business environment.
ITIL®4 the latest release of IT Service Management best practice considers the dynamics of modern business environment and aligns to the modern best practices & frameworks of Agile, Lean, IT Governance, Information Security, DevOps etc.
To create value to customers through IT enabled services, ITIL®4 considers Service Value System (SVS), that represent the various service assets (components) & Organizational activities throughout the service life cycle.
The Service Value System (SVS) depicted in ITIL®, facilitates and stresses on integration and coordination across the service value stream and provides direction to the organization through a strong and unified approach. It considers the need for flexibility, adaptability, and adoptability for organizations to enable sustainability and consistency.
The various components of ITIL® Service Value System (SVS) are;
Figure 4: The ITIL® Service Value System (copyright of AXELOS®, reproduced under the license from AXELOS® Limited)
Guiding principles: These are the recommendations which guide an organization in all circumstances, irrespective of dynamics (changes) in its goals, strategies, type of work, or management structure. There are seven principles which are mentioned below;
Governance: An organization needs direction and an established control system, to ensure the achievement of goals and objectives. ITIL®4 stresses the importance of governance for a successful IT Service Management and considers governance as one of the critical components of a service value system. Governance basically refers to the Evaluation, Direction & Monitoring activities of a governing body of ITSM.
Service value chain: In an IT service lifecycle there will be a continual value creation & realization which needs a set of interconnected activities, which are performed by service provider organizations, enabling them to deliver a product or service, which creates value to its consumers and facilitates realization of value.
Practices: Practices are a set of organizational resources which are designed for performing work or accomplishing the objectives of the organization through achievement of objectives of practices. There are 34 practices. They are
Continual improvement: Improvement of services, service performance, performance of service component etc., is needed for sustenance and growth of any organisation. In the absence of such efforts being put by an organization, it would fail to sustain and remain in the market. Continual improvements are needed to continually meet all the stakeholders’ expectations.
ITIL®4 focuses on continual improvement and has recommended the ITIL® continual improvement model.
Figure 5: Four Dimension Model (copyright of AXELOS®, reproduced under the license from AXELOS® Limited)
A holistic approach is essential for effective IT Service Management. To ensure this the four dimensions of service management are outlined in ITILF, from which ITSM should consider each component of SVS. The four dimensions are:
ITSM Organizations have to ensure & retain the balance & effectiveness of SVS, by giving an appropriate amount of focus on each of the four dimensions depicted. Each of these four dimensions will have influence from the various factors, which also need to be considered critically. These include Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Environmental & Legal (PESTEL) factors.
Agile is a methodology and an adaptive approach which allows for rapid response to changing scenario of service environment. It is time-boxed and flexible. Agile ways of working give the teams an autonomy and flexibility by allowing them to self-organize, and facilitate greater collaboration between customers, users and teams.
With the changing scenario of service environment, it is essential to become Agile while doing IT Service Management. Following ITIL® helps organizations to optimize costs over time, improve accurateness in time estimations, quality of service and service delivery. Having ITIL® in place, allows Agile teams become more effective and enable themselves to become faster and more stable deployments, in the production environment.
Further, organizations can also reduce ongoing costs of the services as well as improve the coordination between Agile projects and other areas of the service/business. This brings greater focus on delivering best value and to become more effective and efficient.
Further, DevOps embraces the thought of Agile, ITIL & Lean in the context of CALMS (Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement & Sharing) to create better values. DevOps is critical in today’s IT World, and ITIL®4 complements it.
To summarize, in this module we looked at the Introduction to ITIL4, list of Guiding principles, Service value chain, Governance, Practices, Continual Improvement and Four-dimension model.