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ITIL V3 vs. V4
What’s new in ITIL V4

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework remains one of the leading frameworks in the area of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM). Given that IT is a domain in constant flux, it is vital that supporting frameworks like ITIL continue to adapt and upgrade to stay in line with modern technologies. The ITIL foundation (Axelos) has recently introduced a new version of ITIL i.e. ITIL V4, replacing ITIL V3. Read below to know what’s new in ITIL V4 and overall a comparative of ITIL V3 vs. V4.

ITILv3 & ITILv4 Brief History

ITILv3: The third version of the ITIL framework which is a collection of best practices in managing IT globally. ITIL emphasizes the concept of IT as a service assisting businesses in meeting their goals. It is considered one of the best ITSM frameworks since its release in 2007.

ITILv4: One of the best features of ITIL is in its ability to always evolve to fit better in today’s business ecosystems. As various demands on ITIL from DevOps, Lean, and primarily Agile began to grow, it was evident that another evolution was required. ITIL V4 was created to work with the aforementioned services to meet new IT organization requirements.
ITIL V4 in general, now provides guidance to organizations in addressing new service management challenges. It supports utilizing the potential of modern technology in the era of Cloud, Agile DevOps and Transformation. The core components of the ITIL framework remain in the ITIL Service Value System (SVS) and the four dimensions model. The main elements with the introduction of ITIL SVS are:

Service Value Chain (SVC)


ITIL Practices


ITIL Guiding Principles




Continual Improvement

Major Changes ITIL V3 vs V4

1. Processes vs Practices

When we look at ITIL V3, we see a process as a sequence of activities. This sequence is now known as a practice in ITIL V4, which refers to something which you are able to perform using the right resources. While ITIL V3 processes describe a flow of activities, suggested roles, metric and other process related information; ITIL V4 practices are the capabilities that can be performed as an organization.

ITIL V3 Processes (then)

Service Strategy

  1. Strategy Management
  2. Demand Management
  3. Service Portfolio Management
  4. Financial Management
  5. Business Relationship Management

Service Design

  1. Service Catalog Management
  2. Availability Management
  3. Information Security Management
  4. Service Level Management
  5. Capacity Management
  6. Design Coordination
  7. Supplier Management
  8. IT Service Continuity Management

Service Transition

  1. Transition Planning and Support
  2. Change Management
  3. Change Evaluation
  4. Release and Deployment Management
  5. Service Assets & Configuration Management
  6. Service Validation and Testing
  7. Knowledge Management

Service Operation

  1. Access Management
  2. Event Management
  3. Service Request Fulfillment
  4. Incident Management
  5. Problem Management

Continual Service Improvement

  1. The Seven-Step Improvement

ITIL V4 Practices (now)

General Management Practices

  1.     Architecture Management
  2.     Continual Improvement
  3.     Information Security Management
  4.     Knowledge Management
  5.     Measurement and Reporting
  6.     Organizational Change Management
  7.     Portfolio Management
  8.   Project Management
  9.   Relationship Management
  10.  Risk Management
  11.  Service Financial Management
  12.  Strategy Management
  13.  Supplier Management
  14.  Workforce and Talent Management

Service Management Practices

  1.  Availability Management
  2.  Business Analysis
  3.  Capacity and Performance Management
  4.  Change Control
  5.  Incident Management
  6.  IT Asset Management
  7.  Monitoring and Event Management
  8.  Problem Management
  9.  Release Management
  10.  Service Catalog Management
  11.  Service Configuration Management
  12.  Service Continuity Management
  13.  Service Design
  14.  Service Desk
  15.  Service Level Management
  16.  Service Request Management
  17.  Service Validation and Testing

Technical Management Practices

  1.  Deployment Management
  2.  Infrastructure and Platform Management
  3.  Software Development and Management

2. ITIL V3 Service Lifecycle is now the ITIL V4 Service Value System

There are five stages to V3’s Service Lifecycle based on the waterfall model.


Service Strategy


Continual Service Improvement


Service Transition


Service Operations


Service Design

With the new ITIL V4 framework, it is based on a Service Value System (SVS) which describes how all components and activities need to work together as a system in order to enable value creation for the organization.

3. ITIL V3 Continual Service Improvement (CSI) vs ITIL V4 Continual Improvement (CI)

The ITIL V3 CSI model is now updated in ITIL V4 and renamed as the CI model. This now provides for a continual improvement structured approach for the identification and implementation of various improvements applied at different levels of the organization. There are seven steps (guiding principles) comparable to the previous ITIL V3 framework.

ITIL V3 Guiding Principles

  1. Focus on Value
  2. Design for Experience
  3. Start where you are
  4. Work Holistically
  5. Progress Iteratively
  6. Observe Directly
  7. Be Transparent
  8. Collaborate
  9. Keep it Simple

ITIL V4 Guiding Principles

  1. Focus on Value
  2. Start where you are
  3. Progress Iteratively with Feedback
  4. Collaborate and Promote Visibility
  5. Think and Work Holistically
  6. Keep it Simple and Practical
  7. Optimize and Automate

4. ITIL V3 Four P’s vs ITIL Four Dimensions

Changes made in the ITIL V3 framework, reformatted to meet V4 requirements

ITIL V3 Four P’s

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Product
  4. Partners

ITIL V4 Four Dimensions

  1. Organizations and people
  2. Information and technology
  3. Partners and suppliers
  4. Value streams and processes

5. Automation Support in ITIL V4

Advocates the need for more AI and Automation within ITSM to “optimize and automate” as a guiding principle. This is described as:

“Resources of all types, particularly human resources (HR), should be used to their best effect. Eliminate anything that is truly wasteful and use technology to achieve whatever it is capable of. Human intervention should only happen where it really contributes value.” (ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 Ed published by Axelos Ltd)

6. Governance in ITIL V4

ITIL V4 present a governance framework present in the service value system and discusses the ways of directing and controlling any organization. In the earlier framework, this area was relegated as a sub-topic and hold importance very much. With the update, it now sits prominently in the SVS and a full chapter is dedicated to Governance.

7. ITIL V3 Value vs ITIL V4 Value Co-creation

With ITIL V3, the framework defines a ‘service’ as a means of delivering value to the customer. This is accomplished by facilitating the outcomes that need to be achieved without undergoing and specified cost or risk.
In the new ITIL V4 framework, ‘service’ is now a means of value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that a customer seeks to achieve without cost or risk. Further to this, Value Co-Creation in ITILV4 framework need both the Service Provider contribution but also an equal participation and contribution from regular consumers, regulators and suppliers.

8. ITIL V3 vs ITIL V4 Qualification Roadmap

ITIL V3 Qualifications

  1. Foundation
  2. Practitioner
  3. Intermediate (Service Life cycle and Service Capability categories)
  4. Expert
  5. Master

ITIL V4 Qualifications

  1. ITIL Foundation
  2. ITIL Managing Professional
  3. ITIL Strategic Leader
  4. ITIL Master

General Overview& Challenges

ITIL V4 is a very promising upgrade to V3. As more content roles out, it is apparent that there is more construct to V4 than the previous V3 which was seen at times as a bit too theoretical and overly process-oriented which was losing touch with today’s challenges.

While ITIL V4 does a great job of relating to topics like customer experience (CX), value, people focus and collaboration. It would be helpful to see more elaborate guidelines to assist with these topics.

This can be said of ITIL’s interactions with DevOps and Agile. Though there are a number of mentions, the updated framework does not clearly offer substantive information on the subject. More guidelines on achieving better collaboration would help in this area.

While the specification does adopt a few best practices from other frameworks, it still seems to reference DevOps without explaining the “how to’s” when overcoming misunderstandings or challenges from DevOps-oriented teams in need of collaborating with ITIL-oriented teams.

Enterprise Service Management (ESM) also needs to be a bit more fleshed out. ITIL V4 material does speak to collaboration much better and continues to break down silos, except where ESM is concerned as there is no actual discussion on how to collaborate within the organization with non-IT service departments.

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