What is ITIL?
ITIL has become the world's leading framework for controlling, coordinating and managing services. In particular, the latest version, ITIL 4, can significantly increase the efficiency and quality of services and service organizations. As a result, customers benefit from consistent or even better results. Find out what ITIL is here.
A few words about ITIL
ITIL is an internationally recognized, vendor-independent collection of best practices for service management. The approach is process-based and ranges from the service provider's strategy and the recording of customer requirements to operations and continuous improvement. Whether IT, marketing, HR, after-sales, field or facility management - ITIL is the global industry standard for any type of service organization.
ITIL, especially in its latest version ITIL 4, focuses on the entire value chain. All elements should interlock optimally to generate value. To emphasize this, ITIL 4 introduces the term Service Value System. But how are the individual processes and work steps interlinked? What activities are required to create value in ITIL 4? And how can their interlinking be designed efficiently and intelligently? ITIL deals with these and other questions - especially taking into account fast-moving, complex working environments ("VUCA World").
What are the ITIL principles?
ITIL 4 follows seven essential basic principles to ensure successful service management. These principles support and condition all activities within the value chain. This creates the basis for efficient implementation and maintenance of the framework. The seven ITIL principles are:
- Value orientation (focus on value): Every activity must directly or indirectly create value or contribute to it. Everything that does not contribute to value creation is unnecessary ballast.
- Start where you are (Start where you are): Good practices that were established in the organizationbefore the introduction of ITILare to be retained. Where necessary and possible, they will be further improved.
- Develop iteratively (Progress iteratively with feedback): Continuous improvement is a core element of ITIL 4. Improvements should be implemented frequently and in small steps in order to remain capable of acting in phases of change.
- Collaborate and promote visibility: Clarity and transparency must be ensured in every form of collaboration. This applies to all communication, both within teams and with stakeholders and partners.
- Think and work holistically: Responsibility is taken across the entire process. This applies to the entire service value system of ITIL 4.
- Keep it simple and practical: The right balance is critical in every process, tool, and resource to enable ballast-free and efficient value creation.
- Optimize and automate: Manual work is error-prone, costs time and resources. No step that can be meaningfully automated should be performed by humans.
What is a service in the sense of ITIL?
A service in the sense of ITIL is a way of creating value for customers. To do this, one promotes and supports these customers in achieving their goals. Customers do not bear certain costs and risks themselves. In other words, by providing services with ITIL 4, customers are supported in achieving desired results without having to bear certain burdens. In other words, it is a service for the customer.
How is ITIL structured? The Service Value System
ITIL 4 examines the service value system, i.e. the totality of all interlinked value creation elements, from four different dimensions:
- Value streams and processes - all processes that contribute to the generation of value in the sense of the customer
- Organization and people - all employees who are directly involved in creating value, as well as the organizations in which they operate
- Information and technology - data processing, preparation and presentation
- Partners and suppliers - all people and organizations that contribute to service delivery
The focus is not on the service itself, but on the value for the customer. For this reason, ITIL 4 relies on a flexible value chain within the service value system, in which corresponding key activities are defined. These steps do not have to be worked through in a rigid sequence, but are based entirely on the needs and requirements of the respective organization, the customer, and the task at hand. As a result, ITIL can effectively map not only classic, but also agile and hybrid approaches.
The value chain in detail
In ITIL 4, there are six central activities to which all steps of a value chain can be assigned. This makes it easier to keep track of even complex interrelationships. The six activities do not have to run in a predefined order, but interlock seamlessly in ITIL 4. They are:
- Design & Transition
- Obtain & Build
- Deliver & Support
The activity "Engage" often, but not always, corresponds to the beginning of a service value chain. This is about the interaction between service provider, stakeholders, and customers. This allows requirements to be recorded more clearly and transparently. Relationship management with the partners involved also falls under this term.
"Plan" describes all service management plans from the strategic level to the operational planning of daily service operations.
During the "Design & Transition" activity, new and changed services are conceptualized. It provides virtually all the information required for the remaining activities in the ITIL value chain. Special attention is paid to ensuring that the expectations for quality, costs, and market readiness of the product are met.
"Obtain & Build" defines the development and deployment of components needed for new or changed services. This is done on the basis of the collected requirements and follows the previously defined specifications.
The "Improve" activity encompasses all components of service delivery from the organization to technologies and value streams to the ITIL practices themselves. A step-by-step, continuous improvement of all aspects is explicitly targeted by ITIL. Therefore, this activity can be applied to all components of the service value chain.
Finally, "Deliver & Support" describes the actual operation of services and products. In most cases, this involves continuous support, with a special role being played in ITIL 4 by the low-fault, demand-driven use of services.
ITIL Processes or ITIL Practices?
In the predecessor version ITILv3 , many operations were defined by the so-called ITIL processes. These 26 strongly defined processes were characterized in particular by structure: a defined input delivered a desired output. The path was determined by measurable parameters such as performance, costs and quality characteristics. The process began at a predefined starting point and ended at the individually defined customer or stakeholder. Continuous management and control ensured greater transparency and had to be taken into account in the process design.
In ITIL 4, this process model has given way to the more flexible ITIL Practices. Instead of 26 defined processes, ITIL 4 provides a total of 34 practices that describe the organization's ability to manage services, technologies and broader topics rather than rigid processes. For example, for the first time, ITIL 4 includes a practice that deals with risk management. Workforce and talent management, which did not previously exist in this form, is also given its rightful place in service management.
What is ITIL certification?
In order to use service management with ITIL profitably in your organization, you can train yourself and your employees in practice-oriented ITIL training courses. The ITIL Foundation training serves as the basis for all further ITIL certifications. In the next step, you can develop into a Managing Professional or Strategic Leader. You can find a comprehensive overview of all ITIL certifications in our official ITIL certification scheme.
Or do you want to start directly with a goal-oriented training? Then book your ITIL training right here!
Are there any new ITIL trainings?
Since the beginning of 2022, we have been offering the two training courses "ITIL 4 Sustainability in Digital & IT" and "Acquiring & Managing Cloud Services" in addition to the regular ITIL 4 certification path. These so-called extension modules are not part of the training path for the ITIL 4 Managing Professional or Strategic Leader, but deal with current issues and challenges in service management. Here, the topics of sustainability, scalability and the strategic alignment of your ITIL 4 services are discussed in depth. The special feature: You do not need any previous knowledge for these two ITIL 4 certificates. This means that you can concentrate on these important topics of the future even without ITIL 4 Foundation.
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