Update since publication: The latest version of ITIL – ITIL 4 – was released on Monday 18th February. To find out what is covered in the latest version, along with what has changed, please read this blog also by Stuart Rance.
A new version of ITIL will be released early in 2019. Much of the detail is not yet publicly available, but here is an overview of what we know so far.
If you’re not already familiar with ITIL then please read my blog What Is ITIL. In summary, ITIL is the world’s leading best practice framework for managing IT services.
The next version of ITIL will be called ITIL 4. Many people think that the previous version was called ITIL V3, but that name was never in fact used. The first three releases were all just called ITIL at the time, by the publishers, but most people knew them as ITIL V1, ITIL V2, and ITIL V3.
ITIL V1 consisted of a large number of separate books, each describing a particular process. The first of these books was released in the 1980s and others came out over a period of about ten years.
ITIL V2 was released in 2000 and 2001. Most people were only familiar with the service delivery and service support publications, which covered 10 core processes and the service desk. There were also a range of other publications covering application management, infrastructure management, security, and more.
When this version was released in 2007 everyone called it ITIL V3, although the publishers later chose to call it ITIL 2007 edition. This version introduced the idea of a service lifecycle with five stages: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement. ITIL 2007 consolidated areas such as application management and infrastructure management, which had previously been separated off into their own publications. It also introduced many new processes, whereby the previous 10 process model now had 26 (or possibly 27) processes, covering the whole lifecycle.
This was a fairly minor release compared to the previous updates. Many inconsistencies were removed, and much of the content was rewritten to make it easier to read. Probably the most significant change was the introduction of a business relationship management (BRM) process.
The most recent ITIL publication, released in 2016, was ITIL Practitioner. This introduced the ITIL Guiding Principles, to help people and organizations understand how to adopt ITIL ideas and adapt them to their own situations. You can read an example of how these principles can be applied to a service desk in 9 Guiding Principles That Can Help Improve Your Service Desk.
ITIL Practitioner explained the fundamental importance of the concepts of value, outcomes, costs and risks to service management, and showed how these underpin the concept of a service. It also described three essential competencies that service organizations need to develop:
I’m proud to be one of the authors of ITIL 4, which means I know what’s coming, but I’m not permitted to describe it in detail until it’s published next year.
We’ve been working hard on ITIL 4 since late 2017. We started by talking to lots of people to understand how best practice has evolved, and what they expected to see in a new version of ITIL.
Various ideas and architectures were shared with a large community of stakeholders and we incorporated lots of feedback into the final design.
The Foundation publication will be released early in 2019, but we are already working on creating the infrastructure needed to support this. ITIL is much more than just a book or two, we have to create exams, train and accredit instructors, and more to be ready.
Training sessions for ITIL trainers started in October 2018, and there will be 18 of these ‘Train the Trainer’ courses between October and December, training 360 ITIL instructors, so that training organizations can offer ITIL courses as soon as the books are available.
ITIL Foundation will be published early in 2019, but that won’t be the whole of ITIL 4. The next level of detail will be available about a year later. This is a different approach to previous releases of ITIL, when all the content was released at once, but it means that you can start to learn about ITIL while in-depth guidance is still being written.
One thing that we heard very clearly from our stakeholders was that ITIL needed to evolve, not be totally replaced. The fundamental ideas of service management have not changed, but the context and environment have, and ITIL needs to help organizations manage services in a new, more complex, world.
The good news is that if you’ve read ITIL Practitioner, then you’ve already started on your journey to ITIL 4. The guiding principles are now core to ITIL, and will be taught on every Foundation course. This should help to ensure that people who study ITIL have a better understanding of the need to focus on:
…as well as following all the other guiding principles.
ITIL 4 also further develops the concepts of value, outcomes, costs, and risks, which were described in ITIL Practitioner, AND it has a very strong focus on continual improvement.
ITIL 4 still describes core ideas such as incident management, problem management, and change management. After all, this is what many people have to do when they go back to work after reading a book or studying a training course. But ITIL 4 emphasizes taking a much more holistic view – because best practice always involves understanding how everything must fit together to deliver value for customers.
Incident management, for example, is not just a process. We have to take into account:
You may recognize this list from the “Four P’s of service design” in ITIL 2007 (people, process, products, and partners), but in ITIL 4 they are not just design considerations, they are essential aspects of everything we do.
The ITIL 4 certification scheme starts with ITIL Foundation, which will be available early in 2019. Further training and certification will be available about a year later. The full scheme will include the following modules:
ITIL Foundation will be a pre-requisite for any of the higher-level certifications.
The designation ITIL Managing Professional will be granted to anyone who passes the four courses: (1) Create, Deliver and Support, (2) Drive Stakeholder Value, (3) High Velocity IT; and (4) Direct, Plan, and Improve.
ITIL Strategic Leader shares the Direct, Plan and Improve module and adds Digital and IT Strategy.
ITIL Master will require proven practical experience as well as a deep knowledge of ITIL.
There will be a bridge course, for people who already have 17 or more credits in the existing ITIL certification scheme. This will allow them to achieve ITIL Managing Professional with a single training course and exam.
So, to sum up:
If you want to start preparing for ITIL 4 now, then probably the best thing you can do is read the ITIL Practitioner publication or attend an ITIL Practitioner training course.
I will, of course, be updating the IT service management (ITSM) community with information as things progress – so please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @StuartRance.