March 17, 2023
More than 40 years have passed since the creation of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). In this article, we explore why the practice is still relevant now and how it blends with frameworks such as DevOps.
Days are numbered for the classical trope of the service provider solely delivering value for the customer, or service consumer – and for a good reason, too. With the adoption of a data driven mindset and best practices, players in the service market at both ends, those who deliver and those who receive, have come to the realisation that it’s a two-way road. Value is the result of co-creation, by the customer who receives the services as much as by the actual service provider. In practice, this brings into play key aspects of surfacing tangible value out of a service investment that typically lie in the service consumer’s court such as creating specifications and implementing training.
Creating and delivering value has always been top of mind in any endeavour, be it IT related or not. Being such a much-used notion, it’s understandable that everyone can have a different, personal perspective on it. That’s why it’s important to get things straight right from the start and ensure that everyone involved in a project is on the same page.
So how do we define value in a generally acceptable and practical way? The ITIL 4 service value system (SVS) comes to define value as the perceived benefits, usefulness and importance of an endeavour. The goal of the SVS is to encompass how all the elements and activities that an organization performs work together as a system to enable the creation of value. Turning Demand and/or Opportunity into value is a journey that spans five elements, in the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) system.
In support of the idea of value as described above, ITIL 4 formulates seven guiding principles. These may seem like common sense but are not randomly put together, and, more importantly, can be complemented – or even underlined – by the DevOps principles of open communication, collaboration and shared goals. Indeed, these form a solid base that is universally applicable to any initiative, at any scale and in any operational framework, beyond ITIL itself.
The guiding principles in ITIL are most certainly not a thing of the past. Rather, they constitute excellent guidance for any service delivery engagement and even beyond.
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Lean, Agile, DevOps and more – these are practices and frameworks that aren’t specific to the Insurance or Banking industries, but rather they cross the boundaries of specificity and can be applied to any organization and/or project that aims to deliver value in a right and fast manner.
In our work, we align with the DevOps Handbook while also ensuring practices are made compatible with the ITIL process. To support the shorter lead times and higher deployment frequencies associated with DevOps, many areas of the ITIL processes become fully automated, solving many problems associated with the Configuration and Release Management processes of ITIL – for example, by keeping the configuration management database (CMDB) and definitive software libraries (DSL) up to date. Moreover, because DevOps requires fast detection and recovery when service incidents occur, the ITIL disciplines of Service Design, Incident, and Problem Management remain as relevant as ever
At Softelligence we have developed our own solution development and delivery lifecycle that enables us to be both structured and at the same time flexible when it comes to delivering value for our varied customers, be they insurance carriers, banking organisations or manufacturing companies. In addition, we adhere to the four dimensions of service management as described by ITIL 4 system, and especially in the understanding that IT service management goes beyond managing new technologies.
Blending the classical foundation of ITIL with modern frameworks targeted at agility and speed like DevOps and Agile is a good idea, provided that there is an openness to adapt and to blend the two without the risk of becoming inflexible or slowing down. Ultimately, the detailed guidelines of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can help fill in the gaps that can sometimes be left by DevOps’ much more general guiding principles.
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