It is difficult to dispute the importance that the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) approach has had on the world of ITSM (IT service management). After all, the best practices established by ITIL V3 have come to be the accepted way ITSM providers conduct business—so much so that many other IT processes have come to look to the ITIL framework to bring order and control to complex processes.
Yet, ideologies such as DevOps have struggled to adapt to the somewhat rigid doctrine of ITIL V3, instead favoring Agile methodologies to meet the rapid deployment of updates and the iterative cycle of software development. Perhaps, the Agile-versus-ITIL differences can be attributed to how life cycles should be managed and how the management of those life cycles impact both development and operations in the IT space. Nevertheless, change is coming to the world of ITIL, which may help to make the framework more suitable for DevOps practices, and perhaps make ITIL and Agile symbiotic in the field.
The ITIL V4 framework is scheduled to be released in Q1 2019, some two years after it was announced by AXELOS at the Fusion 2017 conference. “ITIL is the most firmly entrenched ITSM framework in the infrastructure of large, complex organizations, with many—if not most—Fortune 500 companies using it,” said Cathy Kirch, president of itSMF USA, the organizer of FUSION 2017 and the leading independent professional forum for IT Service Management professionals in the United States. “Currently, ITIL and complementary practices, such as DevOps, Agile and Lean, are used successfully in conjunction with each other; however the next evolution of ITIL will promote and underpin dynamic collaboration.”
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
ITIL V4 doesn’t propose to completely rewrite the ITIL V3 narrative; in fact, the core elements are expected to remain the same. ITIL V4 will simply include new material on integration with additional best practices aimed at mitigating some of the biggest criticisms around ITIL V3, the less-than-ideal relationship with the ITSM community and failure to keep up with recent trends in software development and IT operations.
In essence, ITIL V4 will address those criticisms by shifting V4 to a community-driven initiative and integrating other practices such as Agile, DevOps and Lean into traditional ITIL best practices. That means ITIL may become complimentary to those other frameworks and begin to embrace other services management best practices in the context of new technologies, such as serverless, containers, microservices and multi-cloud.
With the DevOps community picking up steam, the Agile Manifesto and Lean development displacing ITIL V3 in some practices, it will be interesting to see what impact ITIL V4 will have on the IT industry as a whole. While it is far from ITIL’s last gasp, ITIL V4 will face significant challenges in a DevOps world that is constantly changing. However, with more than a million ITIL V3 certificate holders worldwide, ITIL V4 will definitely garner a great deal of interest when it hits the streets on Feb. 28.