On October 21, Akshay Anand, Product Ambassador from AXELOS®, joined Pankaj Kumar Pathak, Simplilearn Product Manager for ITIL®, for an Ask Me Anything session about how ITIL fits with the four pillars of Digital Transformation. As a lead architect of ITIL 4, Akshay is uniquely capable of discussing the role of ITIL in the current digital economy.

Akshay started with the definition of digital transformation provided by Charles Araujo: a change to a business model where customers are highly empowered and digital technology is deeply involved.  One of the key aspects of customer empowerment is the disappearance of switching costs - for example, a user can switch from Spotify to Apple Music to Amazon Music at little to no cost. At the same time, the product has become valuable only as a channel to a service - a banking app on a smartphone, for example, has no value to the customer as software but a great value as a gateway to the customer’s banking services.

The Four Pillars of Digital Transformation

Regardless of your starting point, you will touch on all of the four pillars of Digital Transformation. These are:

  • Customer and Employee Experience
  • Organizational Culture
  • Business Model
  • Operational Excellence

Employee experience is an important aspect that is often overlooked. How the transformation changes the work of the employees is as critical as how it changes the customer experience.

Akshay spoke of two types of organizations. Many see IT service management as a technical operational capability or part of the infrastructure, which doesn’t reflect reality. These organizations are trying to catch up for underinvestment in ITSM to provide a solid foundation for other aspects of digital transformation.

Other organizations see ITSM as a strategic capability, oriented not to managing infrastructure but to managing the delivery of a service. Not all of these organizations follow ITIL, but all of them could benefit from adopting it.

The Evolution of ITIL

When ITIL V3 was published in 2007, it reflected the technology of the early 2000s. At that time, cloud computing and other technologies we now take for granted were in their infancy, and Lean and Agile methodologies were not as widely used. For the evolution of ITIL into ITIL 4, it was important to incorporate techniques to deal with new technologies and methodologies, and particularly to make ITIL itself lean and Agile.

The response to the introduction of ITIL 4 in 2019 has been very positive. ITIL provides a framework for structuring projects and services, and it combines with other frameworks from Lean, Agile, kanban, and other techniques.

Ask Me Anything

Some of the answers to audience questions included:

  • While the four pillars of Digital Transformation are not part of ITIL, they are referenced in the new ITIL volume, IT and Digital Strategy.
  • ITSM is the management of services delivered by technology. ITIL is one of several frameworks for structuring ITSM; others include ISO frameworks, COBIT, DevOps, and Agile.
  • Akshay discussed how the ITIL framework is published. The ITIL 4 books focus on higher-level management principles that are slower to evolve, while the practices are published in electronic form so they can be updated regularly.  
  • Akshay offered advice on managing upwards as practitioners seek to get management support and investment in adopting ITIL 4. It’s important to remind managers and executives that they are not running a technology business but a service business. The purpose of ITIL 4 is to support changes to the business and operational canvases to improve service delivery and business profitability.
  • For migration from ITIL V3 to ITIL 4, Akshay stresses the importance of sending managers and executives to ITIL 4 training before sending junior staff. This ensures that the people who have the scope of control to implement ITIL are the ones who get exposed to its value and understand why to adopt it, so they will be positioned to support their junior staff when they get ITIL 4 training.
  • Akshay also spoke of several approaches to transitioning to ITIL 4. One is to start with guiding principles and cultural change, which is a wholesale approach that requires significant investment but has a big payoff. The second is continual improvement, where staff take a few hours a week to learn and internalize the new framework. The third is to focus on value streams and processes, looking for ways to increase the value streams and streamline or eliminate processes for greater efficiency. You can also choose to do all three at once, engaging in continuous improvement and value stream mapping while training in a new ITSM culture.
Are you looking forward to becoming an ITIL expert? Check out the ITIL Foundation Certification Course and get certified.

Akshay and Pankaj covered much more in the session. You can see it in the webinar replay above. (Akshay also invited the audience to submit questions and case studies about ITIL at ask@axelos.com, and he said that while AXELOS cannot respond to all of those questions, they do read them all.)

Simplilearn has many more resources on IT service management, including articles and ebooks. If you are ready to look into ITIL 4 certification, check out the courses and Master’s programs Simplilearn offers.

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