ITIL v4 – Principles and Concepts

by Kishan Tambralli

ITIL is a well-known best practice framework from the UK and is 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 the 1980s (which had a total of 10 processes and 1 function). ITIL v3 in 2007 (which has 26 cycles and 4 parts) and again in 2011, ITIL v3 had some minor updates.

ITIL 4 Principles and Concepts , Major concepts in ITIL v4, ITIL V4
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 multi-supplier management, cybersecurity in information security management, guidance on implementing and using ITIL with agile, lean, and DevOps methodologies, direction for automation, guidance for adapting and adopting ITIL.

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

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ITIL v4 Principles

These six design principles would be:

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

Lean: This principle eliminates unnecessary content in core guidance.

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

Evolutionary: This principle ensures that evolution focuses on the recent trends and patterns in 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 regions or specific experiences.

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

Central concepts in ITIL v4

Human-centered approach

ITIL v3 focused on identifying operational goals, creating concepts, and fitting ideas 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 perspective.

Cloud computing and its impact on processes

Cloud computing will have a 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 the country’s new legal requirement, all CSPs should follow the ISO/IEC20K standard to manage IT services.

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

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

Multi-supplier management

In ITIL v3, vendor management 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 various 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. Still, ITIL v4 provides explicit process activities for risk, vulnerability, and threat identification in the application, information, network, business continuity, operations, and end-user. All these would be encapsulated in Information Security Management, which is generally defined in the Service Design process area, aiming to protect a 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 certificates to ITIL v4.

ITIL v4 for Organizations

Organizations need not worry about the investments they have made concerning 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 IT’s latest trends and technologies.

Suggested reading – ITIL V4 – Various Processes and Explanations

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