The Two Key Models of ITIL4

A package release for a ticket booking service was being planned at an IT organisation that sells its services to the Travel and Tourism industry at large. In a bid to improve the support offered by the IT organisation to its customers, a policy of formalizing the doings of IT management and staff, was deployed. More specifically, in response, the IT organisation decided to pinpoint that particular release package.

Now, how does the release package developed by a team assume its current state and form? Through a formal ‘Process’. This process involves viewing the release development as a specific point on a ‘time’ axis. So you realize, IT people are measuring and recording something here. What they can measure, they can surely compile and compare, is it not? Thus begins a culture of reporting on process results and sharing the data within the organisation and with their customers as well. In ITIL 4, it will be termed as the Release Management ‘Practice’ of that particular IT organisation.

In this situation, the IT organisation management decided that they are where they are on the time axis, and that they need to consider this fact and look ahead into the development of that release package. Well, they have just used a Guiding Principle of ITIL4, namely ‘Start where you are’ ! The rest of the 7 principles are: Focus on value, Progress iteratively with feedback, Collaborate and promote visibility, Work and think holistically, Keep it simple and practical, Optimize and automate. None of them are stand-alone and to find out just how they are related to each other, read on!

When you know and share your starting point with each other in your organisation, it becomes easy to collaborate. In fact, it promotes transparency and knowledge sharing to a point that the whole IT organisation works holistically, like one big team! While breaking up large projects into smaller ones, it is important to, at each beginning point, assess where you are and start further development and support work from there itself! Even this plays a part in linking projects together and hence, collaboration. Also, what is more simpler, starting from scratch or taking off from where you are at the moment? The latter, of course! This goes a long way in keeping up the simplicity in projects. And what you can simplify, you can always feed into a machine and let it automate for you, is it not? Hence, the 7 principles are one cohesive unit in the SVS.

Now back to the Service Value System and the Release Management Practice of the IT organisation in our example. All of the above activities of the IT organisation sit inside a service management system, called the ‘Service Value System’ in ITIL4. Now, as you can observe and reflect, the system backs up the work of the IT organisation by providing measurable processes. In order to work on the release management practice, specific mandatory guidelines are needed by the IT staff. Those are provided by the ‘Governance’ component of the Service Value System. If they decided that they wanted to know what would be a better timing for a release development in the future, they would be looking at ‘Continual Improvement’ of their practice. The Guiding Principles, Governance, The Service Value Chain, Practices, and Continual Improvement are all components of the Service Value System. The Service Value system is the first model proposed by ITIL4.

Now, in the light of identifying and recording that particular release package, our IT organisation wants to know the where exactly in the organisational set-up they are to place the development, given that they have customers, and that they are customers themselves? It would be like marking the spot of that particular release package on the whole horizon of the time-lines of the ‘extended’ IT organisation, that is to say, the entire supply chain the IT organisation is part of. These time-lines run across projects involving technical staff and technology itself. This is equivalent to identifying four perspectives together, namely ‘People and Organisations’, Information and Technology’, ‘Partners and Suppliers’, and ‘Value Streams and Processes’. The four parameters together become the second model of ITIL4, called as the ‘Four Dimensions of Service Management’.

Both models go on to establish a systems approach for managing services provided by IT organisations like the one in the example. Through that approach of measuring and reporting the activities of IT organisations, ITIL4 only goes on to help customers understand ITs point of view. This makes the customers feel engaged in the whole process of receiving services from IT organisations.