ITIL® 4 vs. ITIL® V3:  What’s New?

Axelos is in the process of releasing a new version of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, otherwise known as ITIL. This new version, named ITIL® 4, is slated for release in the first quarter of 2019. At last, the world’s most popular IT Service Management (ITSM) framework is getting a new upgrade. 

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? 

We’ll take a look at the differences that the new version contains, but first, a look backward.

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 1980’s, and consisted of a series of books published over the span of a decade. ITIL 2 came out as the millennium changed, released between 2001 and 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 ITL 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 V3, which has also been referred to as ITL 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 V3’s five core books are: ITIL Service Strategy, ITIL Service Design, ITIL Service Transition, ITIL Service Operation, and ITIL Continual Service Improvement.

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.

So, What are the Differences?

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

The new version encourages fewer siloes, 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:

  • Collaborate
  • Work holistically
  • Focus on value
  • Design for experience
  • Start where you are
  • Progress iteratively
  • Observe directly
  • Be transparent
  • Keep it simple

Bottom line, ITIL 4 is a refinement of ITIL V3, reflecting changes in the corporate culture where teamwork and intercommunication is given additional weight, integrating IT into the overall business structure.

What Are the New 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 Master

Some Final Thoughts

Remember, when considering the leap from ITIL V3 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.

Interested in ITIL?

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 Foundation and ITIL Intermediate SS, presented by over 20 instructor-led online classes. Earn enough credits through the program, and you get your Masters certificate.

Sign up now, and get a jump on ITIL 4 expertise!

ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. The Swirl logo™ is a trademark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John TerraJohn Terra

John Terra lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and has been writing freelance since 1986. Besides his volume of work in the gaming industry, he has written articles for Inc.Magazine and Computer Shopper, as well as software reviews for ZDNet. More recently, he has done extensive work as a professional blogger. His hobbies include running, gaming, and consuming craft beers. His refrigerator is Wi-Fi compliant.

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