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We’re Good With ITIL v3… or Are We?

We sometimes hear from organizations that they are “good with ITIL® v3”. We’d like to encourage an alternative point of view.

AXELOS launched ITIL 4 in February 2019 and since then, the world has changed dramatically. COVID-19 has taught us all that the need for organizations to undergo a digital transformation is paramount to survival, as is the need to understand and leverage emerging disruptive technologies. But let’s be honest, that’s been the case long before a global pandemic changed our landscape. The gap between those able to benefit from the digital age and those who are not has been widening since the 1990s.

What COVID-19 has done is accelerate the digital transformation processes in organizations. According to a McKinsey survey of executives, “companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years”.

Let’s accept the reality of that… things have sped up dramatically, and they are not going to slow down any time soon. So how do we deal with that?

We leverage the ‘tools of the trade’ that IT professionals and their business counterparts have been honing over the past 15 years. Agile thinking and development practices. Lean thinking, techniques, and culture. DevOps practices and culture. Safety culture attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Customer experience management. And that brings us to ITIL 4. ITIL 4 reshapes established IT service management (ITSM) practices in the wider context of customer experience, value streams, digital transformation, and systems thinking, as well as embracing new ways of working, such as Agile, Lean, and DevOps.

The need to continually improve has always been a tenet of ITIL. This improvement cannot, and should not, be limited to improving the processes found in ITIL v3. Process-oriented ways of working tend to keep us bound to silo thinking and local optimization. Things that might have served us well when the world was simpler or when our organizations were in a chaotic state and needed to be brought under control. But the world has changed, and there is an urgent need for ITSM practitioners to change along with it.

So where do we begin? An ITIL 4 guiding principle is to ‘start where you are’. And that’s always great advice. Honor the past. Honor the hard work that has gotten you to where you are. But more importantly, don’t be bound to it. Accept your current reality and look to the future.

This ability to not only improve, but to evolve, begins with a shift in mindset. It is well understood that organizations don’t change, people do. For an organization to evolve, it must examine and then shift the beliefs and behaviors that shape its organizational culture. ITIL v3 represents beliefs and behaviors that were viewed as best practice in the early 2000s. That’s the very distant past. The world has changed and we’re never going back. We’re not even going back to ‘normal’ as we knew it pre-COVID-19. We’ve got to move on!

AXELOS has published the following schedule for discontinuing ITIL v3.
  • · ITIL v3 Foundation (English) to be discontinued as of 1 July 2021
  • · ITIL v3 Intermediates (English) to be discontinued as of 1 January 2022
  • · ITIL 4 Managing Professional Transition exam (English) to be discontinued as of 1 July 2022
ITIL has evolved and we need to evolve along with it. Learning how to recognize an outdated organizational mindset is a first step. Education can help with that. From there, focus on the future and on embracing new ways of thinking and work. Education can help with that as well.

It's time to change your organizational mindset and culture. It’s very likely that the future of your organization depends on it.

To learn more, consider the following ITSM Academy certification courses and workshops:

ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.


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