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What’s the point of ITIL® 4?

If it ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

You may be wondering why on earth ITIL has been updated – ITIL V3 worked fine so why all the bother? In other words, what’s the point of ITIL 4?

In short, as technology evolves and improves, ITIL needs to evolve with it; after all, what’s the point in having an IT service management (ITSM) qualification if the technology you’re using is way beyond what the certification caters for?

If you think back a few years then you’ll remember that IT software updates used to be physically shipped from place to place on aeroplanes, ships and the like. So, if something went wrong during this journey, the cost (both in time and money) of recovering from this was astronomical. Nowadays, with the joys of Wi-Fi, and developments in cloud software and other online storage platforms, the cost of recovering from issues with software updates is far less.

So, as the IT industry continues to change, the way we manage our IT services and systems must change along with it, reflecting both the way the industry is now, and the way it’s heading. Enter, ITIL 4…

The ITIL 4 Foundation qualification has been updated to include some of the content that was originally introduced with ITIL Practitioner in 2015, the most significant of which are the ITIL guiding principles.

The guiding principles were created to assist practitioners and organisations in adopting and adapting ITIL — they were intended as a practical and agile way to apply real-life context when approaching ITIL. And now that they are being introduced at the Foundation level, those within the IT service management profession will find it more straightforward to integrate the basic ITIL functions with evolving business practices.

This version also expands on the current ITIL content to better reflect today's business and IT environment. The updated framework demonstrates how to run services and products as value streams, following the journey from demand to value. This more holistic approach means that ITIL can now be embedded within an organisational structure of connected products and services. And by bringing together ITSM, governance, business partnerships, development and operations, ITIL can now be viewed in a more strategic context.

ITIL 4 introduces areas such as customer experience, value streams and digital transformation, providing a truly integrated model for digital service management. And this is where the real value of the new update comes from — its ability to integrate with emerging practices and new ways of working.

Whereas previously, practices such as agile, DevOps, cloud computing, lean and artificial intelligence (AI) were just seen as complementary to ITIL, the updated framework offers optimal integration and promotes dynamic collaboration of these platforms. The latest version of ITIL opens its doors to a new generations of digital professionals, and will help to propel the entire IT industry forward into digital transformation.

Demonstrating what best practice looks like today, ITIL 4’s holistic, end-to-end process encourages an iterative, continual improvement mindset that looks to involve the customer from the very beginning. By taking a more comprehensive approach to service management, ITIL 4 helps provide confidence and reassurance to customers, while consistently delivering better services. It provides a basis on which to build an inclusive set of skills for the new, digital world.

Have a browse through our range of classroom and e-learning ITIL 4 courses here.