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There have been countless webinars, overviews, etc… of the changes that have occurred since the released of ITIL® 4. This blog post describes three of the more significant changes that were part of the ITIL 4 update.

ITIL 4

Introduction of Guiding Principles

Having been involved in ITIL training and consulting for decades, there are a common set of questions that arise during training and consulting work. In fact, many of these questions become so predictable that good instructors can predict exactly when they’ll happen in a class. Additionally there are a common set of errors that organizations make when attempting to apply ITIL best practices.

ITIL 4 has taken a significant step forward with the introduction of a set of guiding principles. These guiding principles are important because they give clear answers to these common questions that people have always had about ITIL. For example, a very common question that people often have about ITIL is “where do I start?” The authors of ITIL 4 had clearly been exposed to this and have given clear concise answers in the ITIL 4 content that has been released to date.

There are several other guiding principles as well, which I believe long-term will help people understand ITIL more clearly, and help organizations more efficiently and effectively apply ITIL.

Deeper Description of the “4 P’s” of Service Management

Technically the old concept of the 4 P’s (people, processes, products and partners) is not described in ITIL 4. In prior versions of ITIL the 4 P’s was always a somewhat superficial description of a very important concept. That is, when we are doing important things in an organization, we must consider the organization as a whole.

ITIL 4 expanded upon the concept of the 4 P’s with the introduction of the 4 dimensions of service management. The 4 dimensions are:

1) Organizations and people

2) Information and technology

3) Partners and suppliers

4) Value streams and processes

These can be clearly mapped to the old concept of the 4 P’s from past versions of ITIL.

ITIL 4 does a much better job of showing how each of the 4 dimensions affect creation and delivery of our products and services, which ultimately influences value. Additionally, ITIL 4 describes how different factors, such as political and legal factors, affect the 4 dimensions.

ITIL 4

Introduction of Service Value Chains

This concept was to some extent already present in the concept of a service lifecycle introduced in ITIL v3. The problem with the ITIL v3 lifecycle was that it often wasn’t communicated effectively, which made it look like it was describing a “waterfall approach” to casual observers. It wasn’t.

ITIL 4 more clearly describes the concept of a service value stream, and it’s clear from the description that the authors were influenced heavily by the popularity and usefulness of the DevOps body of knowledge. In my opinion, that is good. ITIL needs to grow and change and help organization integrate the best of the best techniques from many available sources.

These are only 3 of the significant changes with the ITIL 4 update. There were many more changes and I’ll discuss those at some point in future blog posts.

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