Why ITIL Should Invite More Folks to the ITSM Party

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Why ITIL Should Invite More Folks to the ITSM Party

Consider combining ITIL with other ITSM frameworks such as Agile and Lean to get the best of both (or all three) worlds.

· Agile Zone ·
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IT Value System

Business focus has changed today from process-centric to customer-centric and value-centric. The key priorities are faster time to market, improving efficiency through automation, providing real value to internal & external customers in order to stay competitive and cost effective. The age of digital transformation and innovation demand businesses to change and adapt faster. There are various best practices and frameworks available in the industry to guide companies with a set of recommended processes for efficient IT Service Management (ITSM).

ITIL, COBIT, ISO/IEC 20000, CMMI, MOF, IT4IT, DevOps, Agile, Lean, SIAM, VeriSM.

What’s common in all these? These are frameworks or philosophies designed for effective service management. Does that mean companies must adopt all of these? Definitely not.

According to Forbes Insights survey 2017, ITIL is the most widely adopted framework across companies even today and it can complement other best approaches for faster business outcome realization. But, most of the businesses fail miserably because of their lack of understanding of core values. Disruptive business innovations challenge traditional service management practices. Let us discuss on how IT Service Management (ITSM) is evolving and how all these frameworks can contribute to these changing demands.

Why is Traditional ITIL Not Enough Anymore?

According to HDI survey, 38 % of organizations use a combination of two or more frameworks to support IT. ITIL alone may not be relevant for today’s landscape and increasing customer demands. Businesses aim to convert customer requirements to value as fast as possible. In order to drive speed to market, processes and functions need to be agile and flexible. Let us discuss the reasons why ITIL alone is not sufficient anymore.

Pressure of Demand-Supply Gap

Increasing rate of change, complexity, and technology innovation widen the gap between demand and supply. It also puts pressure on management to stay relevant and competitive. Due to this gap, there is a mismatch between customer expectations and delivered value. This results in adopting agile and DevOps that improve time to market and time to value.

Disruptive Technologies

Modern IT is backed by powerful automation and latest technology solutions. Flexibility, agility, and scalability are key attributes of contemporary IT departments. Automation capabilities powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML) eliminate routine tasks performed by service desk agents. Therefore, complex issues are handled by human agents that require analytical thinking. Collaboration and communication are crucial in today’s modern IT to get things done faster. To achieve end-to-end value chain integration, DevOps and Lean philosophy are essential to remove bottlenecks and bring people closer.

Digital Transformation

This is the era of digital transformation and cloud adoption. This has given a new dimension to traditional approaches. ITIL is not designed for today’s IT and this would slow down the digital transformation process if not merged with other philosophies. Change management is significant to ensure smooth transition and cultural alignment. Agile methodology improves software development cycle and speed to market.


Technology innovation and advancements have forced businesses to use multiple solutions. This involves integration of these and maintaining relationships with multiple vendors. ITIL alone is not enough when there are multi-sourced solutions and cloud adoption drives this multi solution environment. To ensure optimization and standardization, DevOps & agile could be used here along with ITIL processes.

The Complete IT Value Stream

ITIL service lifecycle does not cover the entire value chain that consists of customer engagement, evaluation & plan, development and operations. For example, DevOps take care of development and planning whereas ITIL incident and problem management takes care of post deployment support and operations. Therefore, bringing all these frameworks together completes the IT value stream.

The IT Mesh

This is a new culture in the industry to manage IT supply chain by integrating several frameworks and methodologies to improve velocity. Service is the baseline which goes through different stages in order to be delivered efficiently.

Service Pillars

Service becomes the baseline for IT value chain. Service has three components on which service delivery cycle is dependent on. Cost, speed, and quality are the three pillars of service. Customer value is something that these three components create together. In integrated service management approach, speed is assured by following agile software development, cost optimization is assured by lean thinking and service quality via ITIL and DevOps processes.

  • Speed - Agile
  • Cost - Lean
  • Quality - ITIL +DevOps

Implementation Checklist

  • IT value chain begins with understanding of customers’ requirements. Resource and demand planning are based on this information.
  • The next phase which is planning involves risk/impact assessment and project planning using scrum master. Change Manager becomes the scrum master. DevOps is useful to validate requirements and plan roll out and back out.
  • Actual development involves following agile methodology to enable speed to market. Lean Kanban method displays work in progress, prioritizes tasks and removes any bottlenecks.
  • Post implementation support is handled by ITIL incident and problem management to solve any escalations.


Following blended service management approach has the following benefits.

  • Better Visualization - Leverage Lean visual management system to understand the work breakdown structure and to eliminate bottlenecks. This identifies constraints easily and allocates tasks for everyone clearly.
  • Speed to market - Achieved through agility and automation capabilities. Agile methodology aims at faster delivery and customer demands are met on time.
  • Optimization - Achieved through ITIL Adopt and Adapt approach. ITIL phased implementation optimizes resources by implementing only the necessary processes.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration - DevOps and Lean principles bring in transparency, encourage collaboration so that everyone is in sync.


ITIL along with other frameworks such as agile, DevOps and Lean make the perfect combo to accelerate service delivery. With this integrated approach for ITSM, businesses rediscover their existing processes to improve end to end IT value stream. Agility, automation and collaboration are current focus areas. In order to achieve these, leverage existing frameworks and methodologies to provide real value to your customers and business.

ITIL along with other frameworks would make a better ITSM cocktail.

agile, it service, it service management, itil, itsm, software, technology

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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