ITIL 4 – Coming Soon?

Changes to the current ITIL scheme have been talked about since AXELOS made an announcement at the end of 2017, informing the service management world that an update was on the way. This is to be the first change since 2011 when there was a refresh of the ITIL V3.

What do we know about the “new ITIL”?

In honesty, very little. What we do know is –

New ITIL Name

It’s now been confirmed that ITIL Version 4 will be simply called ITIL 4. We’ve seen some references to ITIL V4, but the “v” isn’t to be included officially.

When Will ITIL 4 be Available?

It’s looking like this will be in the first quarter of 2019, so a full year after the first announcement was made at itSMF’s Fusion conference in 2017.

There will be more information made available in August 2018, so there will not be too much longer to wait. Then the ITIL 4 Train the Trainer sessions will start in November 2018.

What Changes are Being Made to ITIL?

Again, only limited information has been revealed. However, we do know that the update will include practical guidance on how ITIL is adopted in conjunction with practices such as DevOps, Agile and Lean. So, we can presume that the updated framework will recognise that organisations need to be more agile, nimble and better equipped to adapt to the fast-changing climate to succeed.

It’s been advised that the core elements of ITIL won’t change and that people who already hold an ITIL qualification will have their current certifications recognised in the new scheme. What “recognised” means, could be open to interpretation. Previously, holders of the V2 Foundation or Expert qualifications had to take a bridging certificate to keep it up to date. It’s not clear if this will be the case again, or if current certificates will remain valid, but we’ll be keeping an eye out and letting you know as soon as we do.

Previous Changes to ITIL

Here’s a bit of history of ITIL, or The IT Infrastructure Library, as it was originally known. The ITIL framework was developed by the UK government in the 1980s, when the British government determined that the level of IT service quality provided was not good enough.

The Office of Government Commerce, or OGC, was tasked with developing a framework for efficient and financially responsible use of IT resources within the government environment. The framework they created worked and was quickly adopted by the private sector too.

Ownership of ITIL then passed to The UK Government Cabinet Office, who appointed an accreditor (APMG) to run the scheme on it’s behalf. Then in 2013, the UK government's Cabinet Office formed a joint venture with Capita, a private sector organisation. This joint venture is called Axelos Ltd and they own and manage ITIL, including authorising the examination institutes who provide ITIL exams.

In 2017 Axelos decided that it would employ only one Examination Institute for all of it’s best practice certifications; this is Peoplecert.

There have been previous updates to the ITIL scheme throughout it’s existence. The first iteration of ITIL, beginning in the 1980s, quickly grew to encompass a library of 30 volumes of a broad-based framework that recommended an IT service ecosystem focused on client and business needs. Simply put, it was a catalogue of best practices for the IT organization.

The first major change then came in 2001. ITIL V2 was launched with a focus on making ITIL more accessible. The update complied the vast catalogue and arranged it more logically. The introduction of the ITIL Glossary in 2006 further helped students. The next change came in 2007, with the ITIL V3 update.

ITIL V3 was introduced to reflect the experiences gained with the earlier versions and put a greater emphasis on creating business value. In comparison to the 9 books of ITIL V2, ITIL V3 was more streamlined with just five core publications known as the "ITIL Service Lifecycle". 


The publications are -

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement

The rationale for organizing the ITIL books in this way was to establish a Deming-like Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle focused on continual improvement. However, the underlying principles of ITIL were largely unchanged in the move from V2 to V3.

The, to date, final changes then happened in 2011. This wasn’t a new version, just updates to the existing suite, removing inconsistencies and resolving errors.

So, the changes that we are expecting at the beginning of 2019 will most likely be the biggest change in over 11 years. Axelos tells us that this evolution of the framework will derive from the real-life experiences of thousands of specialists and experts. Contributors from the global ITSM community already include international brands, SMEs, governments, academics, training organizations and professional communities. Over 650 practitioners worldwide participated in a Global Research Programme.

We’ll add more information as it becomes available; to make sure that you keep up to date, you can sign up for our newsletter (sign up in the box to the right), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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