What will ITIL 4 mean for you and your business?

Flip phones to iPhones. DVDs to Netflix. Windows 95. Windows 7. Yes, some updates are more important than others. ITSM experts around the world wait for the release of further information about ITIL 4. ITIL is rated as the most popular IT Service Management Framework in the world. Axelos is the owner and managing organization of ITIL. 
Their official website https://www.axelos.com/itil-update provided a taster of what is to come. They continue to keep us in anticipation by retaining the full details of this major IT industry change. 

What do we know about ITIL 4 so far?

Simply put, the ITIL will have a significant impact on both institutions and individuals. Certified IT Industry workers would need further training to be able to continue to use ITIL. Large and small institutions will update and refine their approach to service management. It will provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to improve current processes. 

IT professionals will likely be familiar with ISO/IEC 20000 or ISO/IEC 385000 certificates. They are the recognized certificates for IT infrastructure management and its best practices. The rollout of ITIL 4 will create new growth and employment opportunities within companies holding these certificates.

Preparation for this update has been thorough and ongoing. Axelos indicated this back in their  November 2018 update. They stated that they had formed a development group of some 2000 persons. Axelos is keen to maintain its objectivity toward this update. They selected members of the development group from outside of the organization. In some cases, even from other fields.
The latest release is not as a jump from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4, but from ITIL 2011 to ITIL 4.

When will ITIL 4 be available?

What is the question on everybody’s lips? Do they want to know when will be the ITIL 4’s release date? The short answer is that we still do not know the exact time.

Because there may be no date, for reasons we will now explain, there will be a gradual roll-out during 2019.

The ITIL 4 rollout is vast, extensive. Global in fact. Axelos is keen to reassure us that the roll-out is well planned and thought out. The first stage will see accredited ITIL educators receiving the update. This is long before it reaches general public users. Those who will train others to use ITIL 4 will sit and pass examinations before educating others. When will this be? 
Conservative estimates currently state February 2019. This is a conservative estimate, and we can expect delays with a roll-out of this size. General users will have the opportunity to sit foundation exams likely in March 2019. Higher level examinations expected to be available during the second half of 2019.

ITIL Certification: What will change?

What immediate changes can we expect to see? One significant change in the method of certification. The new approach focuses on creating specialist workers. The goal is to improve their skills to bring them to Managing Professional Level. This is now accomplished without the points system that previous methods used.

What does this mean for a student of previous ITIL versions? Do they now buy books and start from foundation level again? The creators of ITIL 4 promise that this is not the case. Educational content for ITIL 4 will undergo refinement and re-focused. The promised result is that there will be no heavy burden of extra learning on them.

If you could describe the roll-out for this update in one word, it would be: “Agile.” Elements of this successful project management method will be applied in the roll-out. There will be no need to wait for the completion and perfection of the entire product before release. The release of each module of ITIL 4 will take place as it becomes ready.

When can you receive this in a language other than English? As mentioned, this roll-out is global in scale. It will take place in stages with releases according to priority. 

Students will continue to learn the current version of ITIL until ITIL 4 is available in their language. They can then transition as it is rolled out in their region and organization. Students will not lose momentum in their learning or face downtime while waiting for the update in a language.

ITIL 4 Certification Scheme

Source: www.axelos.com/itil-update

ITIL Practices vs. ITIL Processes – What is the difference?

“Processes” You may have heard this word a lot when using or managing ITIL v1. 

You may remember a divide between Supporting or Delivering processes in ITIL v2. 

ITIL v3 brought the innovative approach of adapting processes to the Service Life-cycle. 

Some say that it has taken 20 years to adopt the Service Management Process to the Service Life-cycle.

ITIL 4 brings further innovation: Processes. This update will use processes and not practices. An innovation that Axelos considers of crucial importance. They highlight this in the new foundation examination material for students. It allows over 50% of its evaluation weight to learning Practices. Consider the following table:

# Learning outcome Approx.weighting
1 Understand the key service concepts 12.5%
2 Understand how the ITIL guiding principles can help an organization adopt and adapt service management 12.5%
3 Understand the four dimensions of service management 5%
4 Understand the purpose and components of the ITIL service value system 2.5%
5 Understand the activities of the service value chain, and how they interconnect 10%
6 Know the purpose and key terms of 18 ITIL practices 17.5%
7 Understand the ITIL practices 40%

Students will become familiar with key glossary terms:

  • Service Concepts
  • Guiding Principles
  • Service Value System
  • Service Value Chain

ITIL Practices

What form will the ITIL 4 foundation course take? Each authorized training center will customize the course and its content. PeopleCert – the Accreditation Body will provide guidelines to ensure the accuracy of teaching. 

As a guide, students can expect the course will remain the standard 2-day course. Trainers may choose to divide the class syllabus into four sections each day. Students may consider learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, on day 01 and 5, 6, 7, and a mock examination on day 2.

What else will ITIL 4 bring?

Acceleration in the IT industry is pushing ITIL to adopt new and expanding technologies. One example of this is cloud computing. You may remember that ITIL v3 made a single reference to cloud computing found in its appendix. However, cloud computing technology is a dominating technology with millions using it each day. ITIL 4 reflects this and many other changes that are affecting the service management profession.

The last ten years have seen many new players and methods in the Business IT world. Agile, Change management, DevOps to name a few. Have any of these proven to be a replacement for ITIL? No. 

Although some may see similarities in the method used to produce them: IT services created in an Agile way and supported by DevOps with collaboration with ITIL, however, there is a clear distinction in their roles. ITIL 4 was created using the Agile methodology. DevOps is used to speed up the velocity of deployment. 

Rather than viewing these methods and processes as a replacement, industry professionals see the huge advantage and flexibility provided by collaboration.

Will ITIL 4 be flexible to the needs of each organization?

Should ITIL be able to implement every process and workflow that each organization uses? Should the organization be flexible and adapt their ways to ITIL? This debate has long continued. Some small businesses have distinct processes that are unique and can be detailed in no more than a page. On the other hand, international standards such as ISO/IEC 20000 already require that businesses adapt to an established standard. ITIL 4 looks to address both these concerns by their introduction of Practices. 

A framework has been defined as the combined sum of its processes. Practices are broader in scale than processes. ITIL 4’s goal is to use Practices to meet the expectation of each organization.

With all the talk of Agile, has the concept of Lean been completely abandoned? No. Modern production methods have been applied. Producers have been keen to avoid encouraging unnecessary content. They also discourage the inclusion of multiple redundancies in infrastructure. The design of ITIL 4 is modular. 

Users of the updated ITIL should expect frequent updates as it matures. These updates will be incremental and not impact the entire framework.

The foundation for ITIL 4 lays on 4 key components. These are the best practice framework.

  • The four dimensions model 
  • The ITIL service value system (SVS) 
  • The service value chain (SVC)  
  • ITIL 4 practices

If this is familiar, it may be because some existed in the form of Processes in previous ITIL versions. Now they can be present at any stage of the lifecycle.

ITIL is a set of IT Service Management practices. Organizations globally look to it as they plan to meet their enterprise scale IT goals.  It takes a holistic view of IT within an organization rather than a micro view. This broader view will increase the velocity of the organization driving it towards future goals.

It comprises a four-dimensional approach: 

  • Organizations & People. 
  • Information & Technology
  • Partners & Suppliers
  • Value Streams and Processes

ITIL Guiding Principles:

The ITIL guiding principles are part of the ITIL Service Value System (SVS). These principles are provided as a guide for the professionals who will design the strategic use of ITIL and its service to the organization.

These principles are immediately evident from even the Change Management Process. By including the “Value” field in the “Request for Change” form, the latitude is provided for a greater variety of outcomes.

These principles are the foundation on which the strategy is built. By applying these principles from an early stage, each organization can create further policies. In time the principles become part of the organizations work culture. The principles move from theory to strategy to a primary part of continual improvement.

Focus on Value: What value will this change make? What will it gain in cost, effort, infrastructure? How does this compare to the existing framework or standard? Changes should be complementary to the earlier agreed strategy.

Start where you are: IT decision makers need to be able to understand before acting. What is the real reason for the request? How will the next version be different from the current?

Progress Iteratively: Apply lessons learned from Agile. Progress the improvements but provide iterations and learn from the response to each.

Collaborate and be transparent: This is the style of communication that will ultimately lead to a win/win result for all sides. Decision makers and stakeholders alike should have the means to communicate freely.

Work holistically: Each person, from user to decision-maker needs to be aware of the bigger picture. Everything in this environment is connected, one small change will have an impact on one or many others.

Keep it simple: Learn lessons from Lean. Avoid inflating workflows. Allow each team member to learn to understand and collaborate as easily as possible.

Optimize and automate: Progress should not stop. Within the principles of ITIL, the organization should continue to drive forward. IT should not stop looking for new opportunities to optimize workflows and automate as the opportunity arises.

Introduction to ITIL 4 practices:

The evolution of processes to practices is in progress. These can simply be plugged in as activities when needed. This is just one of several changes. In the table below, you can see a number of new practices (formerly known as processes) that were not available before.

General management practices Service management practices Technical management practices
Architecture management Availability management Deployment management
Continual Improvement Business Analysis Infrastructure & platform management
Information security management Capacity & Performance management Software development and management
Knowledge management Change control  
Measurement and reporting Incident management  
Organizational change management IT asset management  
Portfolio management Monitoring & event management  
Project management Problem management  
Relationship management Release management  
Risk management Service catalogue management  
Service Financial Management Service configuration management  
Strategy management Service continuity management  
Supplier management Service Design  
Workforce & talent management

Service Desk


Service Level management


Service request management


Service validation & testing


ITIL 4 is the result of more than 10 years of experience and research that results in an impressive update. It has benefitted from other methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, and Lean. This means that it provides a cutting edge framework for organizations. It takes a new approach to even complex practices such as software development and Change Management.

Will you transition to ITIL 4? 3 recommendations:

1. Are you a student of ITIL v3? Are you concerned that you are now learning an older version of ITIL? No need to worry. Continue learning v3 and gain a good understanding of it. ITIL 4 will be rolled out during 2019. Following this, each organization will apply its strategy. You will then be able to build on your understanding of v3 by transitioning to ITIL 4 during 2020 or 2021. Do not stop your education as you will need to sit ITIL 4 Foundation level examinations again.

2. Many have already taken intermediate training. If so, continue your education since there will be transition learning and exams. 

3. A key component of ITIL 4 is capacity management. This is the practice of right-sizing IT resources to meet current and future needs. This means that ITIL has been designed to change and adapt according to the organization. Keep a close eye on its application in your organization.

What next? Get ITIL 4 certified!

Did we miss to address any of the concepts or answer any of your questions? Please free to comment below.

About Author
Marlon Molina