ITIL v4 – Principles and Concepts

ITIL is a well-known best practice framework from UK, and currently owned by Axelos. The evolution of ITIL can be represented through its three versions ITIL v1 (which described some best practices and procedures), ITIL v2 in 1980’s (which had totally 10 processes and 1 function) and ITIL v3 in 2007 (which has 26 processes and 4 functions) and again in 2011, ITIL v3 had some minor updates.

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ITIL V4 principles and concepts

Now the next thing is ITIL v4, which is going to release in a year or 2 years, which would have some new concepts focusing on the multi-supplier management, cyber security in information security management, guidance on implementing and using ITIL with agile, lean and devops methodologies, guidance for automation, guidance for adapting and adopting ITIL.

ITIL v4 restructuring and redesigning is going to happen on six design principles, which will focus on Provision of Value, Designs for human centred experience, Working holistically, Progressing iteratively, Keeping the framework simple and collaborative.

ITIL v4 Principles

These six design principles would be:

Modular: This principle allows different frequency of updates to the upcoming version.

Lean: This principle eliminates the unnecessary content in the core guidance.

Practical: This principle provides useful advice, examples, and templates in the core guidance.

Evolutionary: This principle ensures the evolution is focusing on the new trends and patterns in the business and technology.

Collaborative: This principle ensures that the ITIL v4 framework is co-developed by ITSM professionals, not just by some folks from specific region or specific experience.

Flexible: This principle ensures that the ITIL v4 framework can be adapted and adopted as per the new practices like agile, devops, lean and etc.

Major concepts in ITIL v4

Human centered approach

ITIL v3 focused on identifying operational goals, creating concepts, and fitting concepts to users.
ITIL v4 focus would be on understanding humans, creating concepts, and building operational systems.
ITIL v4 will focus more on understanding the customer and their experiences and driving business decisions from the customer perspectives.

Cloud computing and its impact on processes

Cloud computing will have huge impact on many of the ITSM processes. For example, change management, change requests in cloud environments can be triggered for various reasons as mentioned below:

  • An end user currently uses Microsoft office cloud services like MS-Word, Powerpoint, Excel and now needs to use Visio for 1 month; so he/she would place a change request to have Visio access enabled for his/her login credentials.
  • As per country’s new legal requirement all CSP’s should follow the ISO/IEC20K standard for managing the IT services

Change types in a cloud environment can be classified into three types as request for change for new requirements (RFC-FNR), request for change for resolving incidents (RFC-FRI), and request for change for routine operations (RFC-FRO).

  • Examples on RFC-FNR: As per country’s new legal requirement all CSP’s should follow the ISO/IEC20K standard for managing the IT services
  • Examples on RFC-FRI: An error or failure that has occurred in a specific software/ hardware with respect to cloud service.
  • Examples on RFC-FRO: An end user requests for more storage space on his virtual desktop

Multi-supplier management

In ITIL v3, there was vendor management which focused on managing the UC’s (underpinning contracts) of the suppliers and Business Relationship Management to manage the relationships with the customers, potential customers and competitors. ITIL v4 will define practices and methods that will enable the organization to obtain different IT services from different IT service providers, providing seamless service and ensuring the SLA’s are not breached.


In ITIL v3, there was no concept of cyber-security, but ITIL v4 provides explicit process activities for risk, vulnerability and threat identification in application, information, network, business continuity, operations, and end user. All these would be encapsulated in Information Security Management which is generally defined in Service Design process area, aiming to protect network, data and systems from cybercrimes.

ITIL v4 for the society

ITIL v4 for Individuals

Individuals who have passed their ITIL v3 foundation, intermediate and expert certifications need not panic about their certifications validity. Professionals who have already done their ITIL v3 foundation or intermediate or expert can do a bridge course and upgrade their certifications to ITIL v4.

ITIL v4 for Organizations

Organizations need not worry about the investments that they have made with respect to staff training on ITIL, procurement of tools, ISO standards, etc. since the latest version will only add some new concepts.
Organizations can be assured that ITIL will be cost-effective, value driven, focusing on the latest trends and technologies in IT.

Suggested reading – ITIL V4 – Various Processes and Explanations

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