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What's new in ITIL 4?

ITIL 4 – Some of what I’ve perceived and learnt following the new Foundation course.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an ITIL 4 Foundation course hosted by our friends at Pink Elephant in Reading. Firstly, a big thanks to Pink Elephant and to our trainer, Eddie Potts, for delivering this course, for the first time in the UK, with quality and professionalism (and two superb lunches)! 

I’ll do my absolute best to keep this short, succinct and accessible, without simply copying/pasting directly out of the copyrighted Axelos materials.

So, what is new?  ITIL previously spoke of the importance of aligning IT with the wider Business.  Now, ITIL 4 goes one step further; integrating IT with the Business.  A more holistic view of the end-to-end methods required to create Value. It seems a perfectly natural evolution, and likely something which many organisations may have already adopted.  In simple terms, IT is integral to almost everything which the Business does. The overarching message and theme throughout the course content emphasises the importance of providing Value to all stakeholders. ITIL 4 now provides methods in which to achieve this. 


Lots more to come on Value!  Before we proceed, however, it’s important to define the term Value. A leading UK supermarket chain has somewhat diminished to true meaning of this word, using it to describe cheaper products which are arguably lower in terms of quality than alternative offerings. In terms of ITIL, the term is somewhat more appropriately used: “The perceived benefits, usefulness, and importance of something”. 

Service Value System (SVS):

Fact: We all have a few more acronyms to learn with ITIL 4. Arguably the most important and broad in ITIL 4 is the new ‘SVS’. A picture speaks a thousand words, so here it is:

Service Value System

Credit (AXELOS Global Best Practice)

The SVS is a model representing how all the components and activities of an organisation work together to facilitate value creation through IT enabled Services.  

The core components of the SVS are:

  • The Service Value Chain (discussed below)
  • The ITIL Practices (34 of them)
  • The ITIL Guiding Principles (7 of these)
  • Governance
  • Continual Improvement (No longer Continual Service Improvement).

The central element of the SVS is the ‘Service Value Chain’ (the horizontal spine of the SVS, if you will). 

Service Value Chain:

Let us now zoom in to the Service Value Chain (which as discussed sits within the SVS).

The Service Value Chain includes six activities which lead to the creation of products and services and, in turn, Value. The Service Value Chain can be used for something as simple as the fulfilment of a Service Request through to something far more complex, such as the specifics of releasing a new Service. The workflow from the ‘Demand’ input through to the ‘Value’ output will vary in nearly all cases, depending on its nature, potentially touching different activities within the chain multiple times, which further in turn may use different combinations of Practices in the creation of Value.

Service Value Chain

Credit (AXELOS Global Best Practice)

The Four Dimensions of Service Management

We now understand that the Service Value Chain sits within the broader Service Value System. So, let’s now zoom out to visualise how the four dimensions of service management fit into all of this. 

The four dimensions of service management replace the four P’s of ITIL (People, Process, Products, Partners). 

In ITIL 4, the four dimensions of Service Management are as follows:

  • Organisations and People
  • Information and Technology
  • Partners and Suppliers
  • Value Streams and Processes

These four dimensions represent perspectives which are relevant to the whole SVS, including the entirety of the Service Value Chain and all ITIL Practices. 

These four dimensions essentially provide a ‘wrap’ around the SVS. 

The Four Dimensions of Service Management

Credit (AXELOS Global Best Practice)

Lastly, but certainly not least, the four dimensions themselves are affected by multiple external factors from the well-known PESTLE framework which include Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors.

The four dimensions of service management, as well as the external factors which may affect them, should be considered when engaging in any activity within the SVS in general.


Certainly, there is a lot more to the ITIL 4 Foundation course and its associated material than the above items. Many existing ITIL concepts remain unchanged (if it ain’t broke…), many have evolved, and some have indeed changed. I would call this an evolution, not a revolution. 

From my humble thoughts it’s an exciting revision with some brilliant content. I very much look forward to progressing with the training and applying these skills into real-world scenarios. Every day is a school day!

I would encourage attendance on the ITIL 4 Foundation course for anybody who has taken the time to read this short article.

To prevent too much further waffle, I’ve created a few key take-aways as below.

Some key take-aways:

  • ITIL specific Processes are now broadened to Practices.  E.g. Request Fulfilment is now a Practice, not a process. The Practice of Request Fulfilment may contain many processes, which will vary depending on the demand and required outcomes.
  • There are 34 Practices split between General Management Practices, ITSM Practices and Technical Practices.
  • The four P’s of ITIL have been replaced with the four dimensions of service management.
  • Suppliers aren’t necessarily external organisations…
  • What you have learnt at ITIL V3 is not wasted. There will be bridging courses - so fear not.
  • A strong emphasis on Relationship Management, as a Practice. This contributes to Value co-creation. A shout-out to multi-directional relationships where consumers can actively contribute towards Value (to co-create it) as opposed to a mono-directional relationship between the Provider and the Consumer as previously acknowledged.
  • The Service Value System (SVS) is key to almost everything. Do your best to get this imprinted onto your retina!
  • Consumer is the overarching term for Customers, Sponsors and Users of Services.
  • Customer:  A person who defines the requirements for a Service and takes responsibility for the outcomes of service consumption.
  • Sponsor: A person who authorises budget for service consumption. Can also be used to describe an organisation or individual that provides financial or other support for an initiative.
  • User: A person who uses services.
  • It’s all about Value.


By Steven West, Product Consultant, Marval Software 


Credit (AXELOS Global Best Practice)

“ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited.” 
Marval also recognises the trade mark rights of the 3rd party trade mark owners mentioned in this document. 

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