Axelos is in the process of releasing more modules to its latest version of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, otherwise known as ITIL®. This new version, named ITIL® 4, was released in February 2019. More recently, Axelos released the ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Module, which gives professionals with all levels of experience various paths to certification. 

Read more : An Overview of ITIL Concepts and Summary Process

Naturally, the big question is (as it is for any product undergoing an updated version, come to think of it), what does this new release bring to the table? Let’s face it, not every new version of a utility or application is necessarily a better product (Windows 8 says “hello”). So what new features does ITIL 4 offer that would induce people to move away from previous versions of ITIL? Will this be worth the hype?

Learn about ITIL certification and a variety of fundamental concepts associated with this topic in this ITIL tutorial for beginners.

Previous ITIL® Versions

According to this article, the official ITIL nomenclature never used a version number; it was simply “ITIL”.  The first iteration of ITIL came out in the early 1980s and consisted of a series of books published over the span of a decade. ITIL 2 came out as the millennium changed, released in 2001, and dealt with 10 core processes and the service desk.

The next version came out in 2007, and many users referred to this new release as ITIL® 3, but the publishers chose instead to simply call it ITIL 2007. This version introduced a service lifecycle broken down into five stages: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement. Instead of 10 processes, the new version now presented over two dozen.

This brings us to ITIL 3, which has also been referred to as ITIL 2011, the most recent version before the upgrade. Aside from introducing the Business Relationship Management (BRM) process, this new version didn’t offer many changes. It was, however, easier to read, and with many inconsistencies edited out.

ITIL 3’s five core books are ITIL Service Strategy, ITIL Service Design, ITIL Service Transition, ITIL Service Operation, and ITIL Continual Service Improvement.

ITIL® 3 Framework

ITIL is a framework for providing IT service management that consists of best practices and processes that may be implemented (ITSM). ITIL has been one of the most extensively utilized frameworks for providing ITSM since its original release in the 1980s. The framework emphasizes enhancing customer happiness by offering good service delivery at a reasonable cost.

Various versions of ITIL have been released throughout time in order to keep up with evolving business requirements. The third edition of the ITIL best practices framework, known as ITIL 3, was introduced in 2007. ITIL 3 was updated in 2011, and as a result, ITIL 3 is also known as ITIL 2011 3. This current edition is more suited to today's corporate climate since it features strategic elements that better integrate IT service management with business needs.

ITIL® 4 Framework

ITIL 4 is a digital operating model that allows businesses to create effective value from IT-supported services and products. ITIL 4 builds on ITIL's decades of development, adapting known ITSM techniques to the larger contexts of digital transformation, customer experience, and value streams.

What is the Purpose of ITIL 4? And Why the New Version?

In the grand scheme of things, ITIL as a whole is used by any organization that wants to better align their needs with Information Technology services. It helps businesses conduct effective risk management, improve customer relations, foster better cost-effective practices, and create a dynamic IT environment that can freely grow and evolve.

According to Axelo’s own blog, ITIL 4 uses new techniques to bring IT to the next level of efficiency and effectiveness. The purpose is to align ITIL with other existing methods, including IT4IT, Agile, DevOps, and Lean, directly addressing one of the two biggest user complaints about past versions of ITIL.

What are the Differences between ITIL 4 vs ITIL 3?

This article tells us that the core elements of ITIL 3 will remain essentially the same. The differences that distinguish ITIL 4 from the older versions are the inclusion of additional best practices and new material on integration.

The new version encourages fewer silos, increased collaboration, facilitating communication across the whole organization, and the integration of Agile and DevOps into ITSM strategies. ITIL 4 is designed to be more customizable and flexible. In essence, the new version encourages a more holistic view of IT.

ITIL 4 focuses more on the concepts of costs, outcomes, risks, and value. Building on a good selection of ideas championed by ITIL Practitioner, the bedrock principles of the new version are:

  • Focus on value
  • Start where you are
  • Progress iteratively with feedback
  • Collaborate and promote visibility
  • Think and work holistically
  • Keep it simple and practical
  • Optimize and automate

The bottom line—ITIL 4 is a refinement of ITIL 3, reflecting changes in the corporate culture where teamwork and communication are given additional weight, integrating IT into the overall business structure.

ITIL 3 26 Processes vs ITIL 4 34 Practices

The most significant distinction between ITIL 4 and ITIL 3 might be a vocabulary adjustment rather than a significant structural change. Numerous discussions were made concerning the move away from the term "process" in favor of "practice" as news of the changes from ITIL 3 to ITIL 4 started to seep out to the ITSM community.

ITIL 3 has 26 processes, whereas ITIL 4 offers 34 practice "sets of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective."

ITIL 3 Processes 

We will be first discussing the ITIL 3 processes. The ITIL 3 is categorized into 5 main processes -

Service Strategy

The goal of the Service Strategy is to develop a service lifecycle strategy and guarantee that the service is usable and suitable for its purpose. The strategy should be in terms of the company's commercial goals as well as consumer requirements. The Service Strategy lifecycle step establishes which services the IT company will offer and what kind of capabilities need to be developed, starting with an assessment of customer demands and the marketplace.

The services that come under this are:

  • Financial Management for IT Services - Manage the charging, budgeting, and accounting needs of the service provider.
  • Strategy Management for IT Services - To establish a customer-serving strategy and evaluate the service provider's offers, capabilities, rivals, and present and potential market spaces.
  • Demand Management - To guarantee that the service provider has enough capacity to fulfill the requisite demand, understand, forecast, and influence client demand for services.
  • Service Portfolio Management - Ascertains that the service provider contains the necessary mix of services to achieve the desired business goals at a reasonable cost.
  • Business Relationship Management  - Identifies current and potential consumers' demands and ensures that relevant services are executed to meet those demands.

Service Design

The design of services and other accompanying features for introduction in the live environment is the focus of the Service Design lifecycle phase. The Service Design lifecycle stage covers the creation of new services as well as the modification and upgrading of existing ones.

The various scope of the Service Design are as follows:

  • Availability management - It is for ensuring that all roles, IT infrastructure, tools, procedures, and other factors are in place to meet the agreed-upon availability goals.
  • Design Coordination - Ensures that new or altered IT services, technology, information, metrics, architectures, and service management information systems are designed consistently and effectively.
  • Risk Management - Determine the worth of assets to the firm, identify vulnerabilities to those assets, and determine how sensitive each asset is to the underlying threats.
  • Compliance Management - Ascertain that IT systems, services, and processes, adhere to company policies and legal requirements.
  • Supplier management - Ensure that all supplier contracts support the business's needs and that all suppliers comply with their contractual obligations.
  • Service Catalog Management - Ensure that a Service Catalog is created and kept up to date, with correct information on all the operational services as well as those that are being readied to go live.
  • Capacity Management - Ascertain that IT services and infrastructure have the capacity to meet agreed-upon service level targets in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • Service Level Management - Negotiate Service Level Agreements with customers, create services to meet agreed-upon service levels and make sure that all the Underpinning Contracts and Operational Level Agreements are in order.
  • Information Security Management - Ensure that an organization's information, data, and IT services are confidential, secure, and available.
  • IT Service Continuity Management - By planning for the recovery of IT services and limiting the risk of catastrophic events to an acceptable level, the IT service provider can always provide minimum agreed Service Levels.

Service Transition

ITIL Service Transition aims to create and deliver IT services while also ensuring that service management processes and changes to services are safe and coordinated. 

The scope of Service Transition includes:

  • Project Management - Coordinate and plan the resources needed to deploy a major release on time, on budget, and with high quality.
  • Release and Deployment Management - Schedule, plan, and control the release of components to test and live environments, ensuring that the live environment's integrity is preserved and that the needed components are released.
  • Change Management - Control the lifespan of all modifications to ensure that beneficial improvements can be implemented with the least amount of downtime to IT services.
  • Service Asset and Configuration Management - Keep track of the configuration pieces needed to deliver an IT service, as well as their relationships.
  • Change Evaluation - Before allowing substantial changes to move on to the next stage in their lifespan, assess them.
  • Service Validation and Testing - Ensure that deployed releases and the services that result fulfill customer expectations, as well as that IT operations will be able to support new services.
  • Knowledge Management - Gather, evaluate, store, and distribute knowledge and information to increase efficiency by decreasing the need for knowledge rediscovery.

Service Operation

ITIL Service Operations ensures that IT services are delivered efficiently and effectively by resolving issues, responding to user requests, resolving service failures, and performing normal operational duties. 

The scope of Service Operation includes:

  • IT Operations Control - Control and monitor IT services along with their underlying infrastructure, as well as the day-to-day duties associated with the functioning of infrastructure components and applications.
  • Incident Management - Manage the incident lifecycle to get the IT service back to users as soon as possible. End-users are given permanent or interim resolutions so that normalcy can be restored as quickly as feasible.
  • Facilities Management - Manage the IT infrastructure's physical environment, which includes things like cooling and power, environmental monitoring, and building access management.
  • Problem Management - Manage the lifetime of problems in order to prevent events from occurring and reduce the effect of those that cannot be avoided. The goal of root cause analysis, or RCA, is to develop a long-term solution.
  • Event Management - Ensure that services and CIs are regularly monitored and that events are filtered and classified so that relevant actions can be taken.
  • Closure - To automate the ticket closing process, create an automation rule, or allow end-users to shut tickets via the self-service portal.
  • Application Management - Responsibilities include managing applications during their lifecycle and taking up decisions to enable continual application component improvement.
  • Access Management - Allow authorized users to use a service while blocking non-authorized users from doing so.
  • Technical Management - Assists in managing the IT infrastructure by providing technical expertise and support.
  • Request Fulfillment - Provide service requests, which are typically small changes and/or information requests.

Continual Service Improvement

The Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach applies quality management methodologies to improve an existing service's overall quality, cost performance, and/or usability aspects by learning from prior successes and failures. 

This includes the following scope:

  • Definition of CSI Initiatives - Using the outcomes of process evaluations and service reviews, defining particular projects aimed at improving services and processes.
  • Service Review - Regularly review business and infrastructure services to improve the quality of service and also to develop more cost-effective ways of offering a service.
  • Monitoring of CSI Initiatives - Verifies if any improvement projects are progressing as planned and, if necessary, implementing remedial steps.
  • Process Evaluation - Regularly evaluate processes, including identifying areas where the desired process metrics are not being met and conducting audits, maturity assessments, and reviews.

ITIL 4 Practices 

Another important part of the ITIL® 4 Service Value System is management techniques (SVS). Management practice is a collection of organizational resources used to conduct work or achieve a goal, according to ITIL.

The three main management practices in the ITIL® 4 are:

  • Technical Management Practices
  • General Management Practices
  • Service Management Practices

General Management Practices

Practices that can be used across the organization to ensure the company's success and the services it provides. 

There are 14 domains in this type of Management Practice:

  • Workforce Talent Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Service Financial Management
  • Information Security Management
  • Architecture Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organizational Change Management
  • Portfolio Management
  • Strategy Management
  • Project Management
  • Supplier Management
  • Continual Improvement
  • Measurement and Reporting
  • Risk Management

Service Management Practices

Service management practices apply to the development, deployment, delivery, and support of certain services in an organization. 

In this Management Practice, there are 17 domains:

  • Change Enablement
  • Business Analysis
  • Service Validation and Testing
  • IT Asset Management
  • Problem Management
  • Service Desk
  • Service Catalog Management
  • Service Request Management
  • Monitoring and Event Management
  • Incident Management
  • Service Level Management
  • Availability Management
  • Service Continuity Management
  • Release Management
  • Service Configuration Management
  • Capacity and Performance Management
  • Service Design

Technical Management Practices

Practices adapted from the domains of technology management for the objectives of service management.

The technical management practice includes 3 domains:

  • Software Development and Management
  • Deployment Management
  • Infrastructure and Platform Management

ITIL 4: The 7 Guiding Principles

The concept of the seven guiding principles is one of the most intriguing aspects of ITIL 4. These principles are suggestions that can be applied to any corporation or organization and provide universal, long-term assistance. 

These 7 guiding principles are summarized below:

1. Focus on Value

If what one does is not adding value to the company, we should think about why we are doing it. "Because we've always done that," is a common response to this topic. This guiding principle provides us with a compelling reason to come to a halt! Everything that we do in the service management sector has to be related to the bottom line. Every activity should contribute in some way to the company's vision being realized.

2. Start Where You Are

We almost never start level 0. Even if we are creating a whole new process, there might be things that we are doing right now that will help us meet some of the goals we are aiming for. Before embarking on a new project, let us take a step back and examine the current situation. We need to figure out where we are now and make improvements from there. Instead of starting from the ground up, we need to constantly strive to improve on what we currently have.

3. Progress Iteratively With Feedback

"When eating an elephant, take one mouthful at a time," as the expression goes. We need to take little steps forward, then take a step back to see if we have accomplished what we had set out to do. We must never try to get from zero to hero in one go. Changes that are manageable and measurable should be made instead. We need to move on to the next iteration once these have been incorporated and assessed for value.

4. Collaborate and Promote Visibility

We cannot succeed if we operate in a vacuum. Confining ourselves to a cubicle, planning improvements for processes or other changes on our own while disregarding the people who will utilize or benefit from the changes is a definite way to fail. We need to get out there and speak to people to learn about their jobs and why they do them. We need to plan improvements with them, then enjoy our victories and discuss our shortcomings together. 

5. Think and Work Holistically

Business and IT are not two separate organizations anymore. Everything that we do in service management must be contributed to and be a part of the larger business ecosystem in a world where all services are IT-enabled. Think about networks, servers, and applications, in the context of the value of a business: how do all these components enable business users to give value to customers and more.

6. Keep It Simple and Practical

Avoid overcomplicating things. The majority of us do something like this: we create 20-step processes that cover every imaginable eventuality. Something happens as soon as we do this, and all of our planning would be for nothing. Instead, building procedures with the bare minimum of functionality in mind, and teaching (and encouraging) employees to think outside the box when scenarios happen that aren't precisely aligned with our processes is a better way to do practical things. Examining what we are doing now and thinking about why we are doing it, and seeing if it adds value to our business, goes a long way. If it does not, we need to stop doing what we were doing. 

7. Optimize and Automate

The efficient utilization of limited resources should always be a priority to us. We need to examine our present workflows and see if any of them can be automated. If a few things cannot be automated, then those should be done using human labor. This allows them to focus on occupations that are more difficult and satisfying. We need to remember the most important aspect of automation, i.e., we need to optimize processes before automating them, as automating inefficient processes typically might lead to undesirable results.

Are you looking forward to becoming an ITIL expert? Check out the ITIL Foundation Certification Course and get certified.

What are the ITIL 4 Certification Levels?

ITIL 4’s first certification release will be at the Foundation level. This will be the prerequisite for any of the subsequent higher-level certifications.

The remaining levels are:

ITIL Specialist modules (3)

  • Create, Deliver, Support
  • Driver Stakeholder Value
  • High Velocity IT

ITIL Strategist

  • Direct, Plan, Improve

ITIL Leader

  • Digital & IT Strategy

ITIL Managing Professional

ITIL Strategic Leader* 

ITIL Master*

*coming in 2020

How Can I Transition from ITIL 3 to ITIL 4?

The main question on the minds of those currently certified in ITIL 3 is whether or not the new version invalidates their current certification and credentials. The short answer is no. All existing ITIL 3 certifications will remain valid and will continue to hold professional value. However, it’s advisable to for any IT professional to upgrade their current certification to ITIL 4

Considering the difference in the foundational elements between ITIL 3 and ITIL 4, professionals with deep experience in the industry might be wondering if it’s worth the time investment to update their certification. The answer to this is yes, and in fact, ITIL 4 certification can provide an even greater benefit to seasoned IT professionals. Taking a course to get up to speed is the most straightforward way to achieve this.

ITSM professionals will undoubtedly benefit in their respective careers by upgrading, too. Seasoned practitioners understand career growth isn’t just about adapting to changes in technology, but also shifting their philosophical approach to IT management and what it means for businesses. The longer you spend in an industry, the more “set” your philosophical approach can become. An ITIL 4 certification course can help you overcome this common professional obstacle. 

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Some Final Thoughts

Remember, when considering the leap from ITIL 3 to ITIL 4, that the latter isn’t a change of the library’s content, but rather a change in approach and philosophy. Technology is advancing at exponential levels, especially in fields that come under IT’s purview. As a result, it is absolutely essential for today’s IT departments to be fully equipped and informed in order to function in this dynamic new environment, ready to handle any change that new innovations present.

Furthermore, an increasing number of businesses and organizations are finally coming around to the idea that the IT department is an integral part of their success and consequently must be fully integrated into the company structure. Communication and collaboration have become even more necessary for 21st-century success.

Don’t be put off by ridiculous talk that ITIL is dead. It’s alive and well, a valuable tool for any organization’s IT.

While the revisions to ITIL 4’s core material may be minimal, the new version sounds a call to action to change how everyone approaches IT, as well as pointing the way to a more successful and friction-free implementation.

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Interested in ITIL 4?

That was a review on ITIL 4 vs ITIL 3. With all the exciting new developments with ITIL, this is a good time to get in on becoming an ITIL Expert. If you are an IT professional who is already well versed in ITIL, then you will need to be brought up to speed on the new version. That’s why Simplilearn offers the ITIL 4 Foundation, teaching you the newest ITIL information on demand.

Once you complete the program you will have mastered ITIL. The program teaches you every stage of the IT services lifecycle and how to increase productivity, optimize costs and contribute to effective service delivery for your organization.

The program features seven valuable courses such as ITIL 4 Foundation and ITIL Intermediate SS, presented by over 20 instructor-led online classes. Earn enough credits through the program, and you get your Master’s certificate. 

No matter where you are in your ITIL journey, you can take your ITIL 4 certification to the next level by taking Simplilearn’s ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition Module Training. We also help to clear learning paths for professionals with various levels of experience.  If you’re already a certified ITIL 3 Expert, you qualify to take the training immediately, but if you’re not there are other ways to get on your way to becoming an ITIL 4 Managing Professional and beyond. Learn more about how to make the transition.

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