ITIL V3 – Now that the dust has settled, what does it deliver?

ITIL® V3 was unveiled in May 2007. So what does it really mean to your business? If you designed the management of your IT Service on ITIL® processes, do you need to make changes?

The short answer is no…if you have robust processes that are delivering what your customers need and want then you don’t need to change anything.  The ITIL® v2 processes are still a valid and proven way to structure your IT Service offerings.  Maybe there is some added value you could get from investigating v3, but my advice is “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”

What v3 can help you do is move from an implementation of individual ITIL® processes to a truly service-centric model.  It gives you the ability to bring transparency to the relationship between IT and the business.

If you are new to ITIL® and looking at implementing processes then v3 gives some very good advice, it is more prescriptive than previous versions and gives you process models, flowcharts and organisational charts to help you model the processes in your organisation.  This is something that was missing in V2 and the most common complaint I heard about ITIL® – “it doesn’t tell us HOW to do it”.

This more detailed guidance can help you speedup ITIL® implementations and make them more cost effective.  You must remember, however, that these templates are just guides, you still need to determine your own business and IT requirements.  If you do not do this, no process design, flowchart or template is going to deliver the desired results.  The old adage still applies – you get out what you put in.

ITIL(R) V3 looks at service management from a lifecycle approach.  The lifecycle approach aims to give an improved and holistic structure to the functions, processes, roles and responsibilities that make up IT Service Management.

The Service Lifecycle has 5 distinct phases.  Each of the new ITIL® volumes describes one of these phases.

  1. Service Strategy
  2. Service Design
  3. Service Transition
  4. Service Operation
  5. Continual Service Improvement

Service Strategy is the hub around which the other phases revolve.  Service Strategy has links to all other phases.  This is where you make your policies and set your objectives.  The other phases are where you implement these strategies.

While Service strategy is the hub, Continual Service Improvement is an all encompassing phase which concentrates on learning from and improving on all the other lifecycle phases. ITIL® V3 still has the familiar processes from V2, these processes may belong in more than one of the lifecycle phases.

The  path of the Service Lifecycle is from Service Strategy to Service Design, to Service Transition and on to Service Operation.  Then we go through the Service improvement phase which puts us back to Service Strategy and so on.