Q&A: ITIL 4 One Year Later
It’s been roughly one year since the IT service management world was introduced to ITIL® 4 at Pink19. This latest evolution of ITIL provides guidelines to IT pros and service technicians to address ever-changing service management challenges and meet the needs of employees more efficiently. It also serves as a framework that suggests ways to simplify workflows and work with others across traditional boundaries.
I talked with four ITIL 4 certified experts at SolarWinds to get a sense of how the first full year of this release has transformed IT and what we can expect in the future.
The ITIL 4 certified experts:
- Liz Beavers, Senior Solutions Engineer at SolarWinds
- Tim Lawes, Manager of Solutions Engineering at SolarWinds
- Jason Yeary, Solutions Engineer at SolarWinds
- Sean Sebring, ITIL 4 Managing Professional and Solutions Engineer at SolarWinds
Q: What’s one of the most important changes from previous ITIL foundations and ITIL 4?
LB: “The operational unit from the ITIL perspective has been one of the bigger changes. The operations and IT folks are under the same umbrella and working towards similar initiatives—just on different systems.”
SS: “Culture has become a huge focus. ITIL 4 recognizes that no change, service, or policy can fit for every organization the same, and the importance of culture helps to focus on thinking holistically.”
Q: What are the key differences in ITIL 4?
LB: “Other than the collaboration and operational standpoint, the most important change is the inclusion of Infrastructure and Application Monitoring Teams. We see that based on our integrations with more operational-based management systems, like the integration with the Orion® Platform and SolarWinds Service Desk.
We’ve broken down the silo between the help desk and our networking and systems administrators by connecting the two. Those users on the network and systems admin side need to track alerts. If something goes wrong, those alerts have implications on what the service desk is going to hear and solve.”
TL: “The agile methodology might be a decade old, but it’s really just caught on in the last three to five years. ITIL 4 recognized that many businesses are strictly built on the agile methodology and caught up with it. They took the best parts of agile methodology and incorporated those elements into ITIL.”
Q: How have organizations been affected, and how are they applying ITIL 4?
LB: “The shift was really to embrace this broader monitoring/DevOps mentality. There is an emphasis on collaboration across teams and breaking down silos. I think that’s been the most positive shift because our customers want to increase collaboration across departments.”
JY: “We try to drive them to leverage ITIL practices. ITIL has adapted more to what the industry was doing already, which is focusing on the employee and providing the best service possible. People are seeing more value because that’s what they wanted to focus on anyway.”
Q: What’s your advice for people getting started with ITIL?
JY: “The biggest thing is understanding that it is just a framework. It’s not going to fit everybody’s specific needs but it can help you understand industry best practices. You have to adjust the way you use ITIL to fit your company’s needs.”
SS: “If you’re thinking about adopting a new practice, don’t spend too much time trying to design the perfect form or process to support it. Just start and mature the practice to fit your culture.”
Q: What does the future hold for ITIL?
LB: “Collaboration is still going to be key. The shift to ITIL 4 is less rigid and more open to interpretation. There might be different ways to think of change management due to the influence of digital transformation. So we might see new concepts in terms of thinking holistically, progressing iteratively, and how you promote visibility across these processes.”
TL: “What I would like to see is more iterative feedback. Trying to keep up with current processes and making sure things are more agile and not as siloed—ITIL 4 has done a really good job with that. I hope the guidelines are kept up-to-date and more fluid to encourage people to make the methodology their own.”
JY: “I think they’ll continue to evolve ITIL 4. There likely won’t be any additional major shifts and I don’t think we’ll see an ITIL 5 any time soon. I could see more time spent on change management. That’s where I’m starting to see people get more value. Changes in an organization affect everybody, so if you’re focused on your employees, you want to make sure they aren’t negatively affected by what you’re doing.”
SS: “Continue to shift focus to culture, people, and collaboration. ITIL 4 is no longer just for IT. It’s a set of best practices that can be adopted for all parts of the organization for employee-focused service management.”