How ITIL 4 Helps IT Teams Drive Digital Transformation
The ITIL 4 framework helps IT teams navigate their organization’s digital transformation journey. We are in a time of unprecedented change, known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution.’ Successful digital transformation involves interaction between people, process, and technology. This new digital world is an increasingly fast-paced and complex environment, requiring organizations to be more agile and better equipped to adapt quickly to new ways of working to succeed. ITIL 4 plays an important role in helping organizations streamline IT processes to be more agile and fuels your IT team’s ability to navigate change effectively.
Why become ITIL 4 certified?
So, if you are ITIL v3 certified already, why should you learn more about ITIL 4? Well, if you don’t begin to learn the ways of working and the changes to the framework, your current skill set could become outdated. If you already are an ITIL Expert under ITIL v3, you will be eligible for the bridge exam that will be released at the end of this year, so it is important to start learning ITIL 4 now in preparation for it.
Currently, only ITIL 4 Foundation has been released publicly, but the full line of ITIL 4 certifications will be released throughout 2019. During this year, both ITIL 4 and ITIL v3 will continue to be supported, but once ITIL 4 is fully rolled out, then ITIL v3 certifications and frameworks will be retired. Because of this, organizations will be shifting from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4 throughout 2019.
What is ITIL?
ITIL® (formerly known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework has become the standard in IT Service Management across the globe. ITIL provides comprehensive, practical and proven guidance for establishing an IT service management system, encouraging consistency and continual improvement for businesses using IT-enabled services. ITIL’s catalog of best practices covers major aspects of IT operations, including service support, delivery and management; security, infrastructure, and application management; and business alignment.
ITIL is used globally by millions of practitioners and relied upon by over 90% of the world’s largest 500 companies to run their IT operations. In the United States alone, there are over 20,000 companies who have put ITIL into practice within their organizations to ensure their operations continue to run smoothly, including big names like IBM, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, and Barclays. The ITIL Best Practice framework provides a common language and tools that power collaboration within IT teams to deliver value across a business.
Similar to project management certification, ITIL 4 certification provides IT pros process guidelines and concepts for efficiently managing IT and digital services within their organizations. ITIL gives you a plan of action with key steps, so you know where you’re heading as you develop your strategy and governance.
ITIL 4: shift from IT cost center to customer experience
The main difference between ITIL 4 and ITIL v3 is that the new certification is not only focused on technology but also the entire customer experience. The update to ITIL 4 is long overdue. When ITIL first came out in the 1980s, we didn’t even have smartphones. Over the decades, ITIL has been transformed by the best practices of the industry, and in ITIL v3 (released in 2007) focused only on IT service providers providing value or how IT departments could cut down on their costs. In contrast, ITIL 4 is about how IT can co-create value together with customers.
For example, if you think about Uber or Lyft, the customer helps co-create the value of hiring a car by providing a smartphone, having a data plan, and sending their location. Essentially, there are requirements placed on the customer to use the service in order for them to get the desired value. This is a big shift in IT service management and the traditional ways of thinking about service. We aren’t doing IT for IT’s sake. We’re doing IT in order to co-create value with the customer so that we both can benefit.
IT is no longer just a cost-center. IT is now a strategic partner that makes it possible for businesses to deliver amazing customer experiences. As a result, IT teams have become a huge part of the business and the CIO now sits in the C-Suite. IT managers are no longer just managing computers, servers, and data security. In our increasingly digital world, IT is behind many of the product or service features that create amazing customer experiences from supply chain logistics to customer behavior data. Uber and Lyft can’t operate without IT—think of the IT infrastructure behind these car-hiring apps from GIS mapping to payments systems.
The new ITIL 4 certification expands previous versions by providing a practical and flexible basis to support organizations on their journey to the new world of digital transformation. It provides an end-to-end IT/digital operating model for the delivery and operation of tech-enabled products and services and enables IT teams to continue to play a crucial role in wider business strategy.
When is ITIL 4 available?
The new ITIL 4 exam was released February 28, 2019, and we launched our ITIL 4 exam certification online prep course before the release date on Udemy on February 21st to help prepare students for the certification exam. Our course was one of the first certification courses out there because we’re an Authorized Training Organization with Axelos, the creator of ITIL. Because of our relationship with Axelos, we received access to the ITIL 4 manuals about 9 months in advance of the exam launch in order for us to develop our officially licensed courses in time for the new exam. We’re actually one of the few officially authorized online courses out there, as most of the training partners only offer in-person training courses to their local areas.
What’s new on the ITIL 4 exam?
Here are some of the new concepts on the ITIL 4 exam that I cover in my prep course ITIL 4 Foundation: Complete Course on Udemy.
1. Agile approach. ITIL 4 has evolved to stay current with the times. Because of the internet, the world of IT is a different place. Companies have to operate at a much faster pace and adapt quickly to constant change. For example, instead of ordering a new on-premise server and waiting for days or weeks for it to arrive, IT teams can now spin up a new server using the cloud with Amazon, Google, or Microsoft in just a matter of minutes. Based on this new way of operating, ITIL 4 has evolved to incorporate Agile development principles with quick development sprints and constant feedback loops.
In contrast, ITIL v3 was a linear “waterfall approach” with strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual service improvement phases that could take 1 to 2 years to implement fully. However, ITIL 4 follows the Agile approach and new IT technologies might be deployed in the morning, beta-tested, and then sent back to development all within the same day.
ITIL 4 didn’t abandon the old lifecycle completely but instead realizes that the lifecycle must be able to operate faster and be more agile in a modern IT organization. This means that the IT teams might go in and out of these activities (what used to be called phases) on the same week (or even day) with IT teams fixing bugs and technical issues as they go.
2. Service value chain. In ITIL 4, the old service lifecycle is replaced by the service value chain which captures the entire process of going from an idea to launching a new product feature for the customer. The value chain includes several activities like plan, improve, engage, design, transition, obtain/build, and deliver & support. The service value chain is not linear like the older and more traditional service lifecycle, now you can go in and out of any of these activities without the rigidity of the older methods.
3. ITIL guiding principles. ITIL has 7 guiding principles that should always be used to guide your organization as you develop different organizational processes. These principles used to be only included in the ITIL Practitioner certification, but due to the more agile nature of ITIL 4, they were brought down to the Foundation level so everyone within the organization can focus on them. The reason for this is that about 80% of IT pros who got certified at the ITIL Foundation level never continued upward in the certification path to reach the ITIL Practitioner level. This meant the majority of employees on IT teams weren’t well-versed in these principles and it took a while for them to become ingrained in the organization’s DNA. To address this issue, ITIL 4 incorporated these 7 guiding principles into the ITIL foundation level. Now it’s not just the managers’ responsibility, but every IT team member’s responsibility to adopt these ITIL guiding principles. Let’s consider a few of these guiding principles for a moment:
- Focus on value. ITIL 4 always comes down to the question of what value IT is creating for the organization and for your customers. If you focus on value, your customers will appreciate it. IT is no longer just a cost center.
- Start where you are. When you look at a process, there’s always something you can reuse. Don’t throw everything out and avoid starting from a blank slate. Instead, look at where your organization is now, and build upon what came before that is still useful.
4. Progress iteratively and with constant feedback. Another key concept of ITIL 4 is to break your big projects into smaller, more feasible chunks. For example, don’t develop and launch an entire website. Instead, roll out a new feature each month and then get feedback from customers to further refine it. These smaller changes offer a more agile way of working and enables you to meet customer needs much faster. For example, Tesla offers software updates that keeps adding new capabilities to your car based on constant customer feedback. Recently, Tesla created a “dog mode” based on customer requests which allows customers to keep their heat or air conditioning on while their dog is safely left in the car alone.
Throughout 2019, it will be important for you and your IT team to become ITIL 4 certified to drive your organization’s digital transformation. If you want to get certified in ITIL 4 Foundation, or just learn more out ITIL 4, check out Jason Dion’s ITIL 4 Foundation prep course on Udemy.