ITIL® is a set of best practice guidelines for IT service management (ITSM). Drawing on recommendations from global subject matter experts, the ITIL framework consists of detailed standards, methodologies, and activities.
ITIL 4 is the latest iteration, and it was designed as a practical guideline for organization focusing on:
- Digital transformation
- Operational and service excellence
- Improving the customer experience
So, exactly what are the goals and objectives of ITIL? We’ll take a look at the Four Dimensions of ITIL to answer this question.
(This article is part of our ITIL 4 Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)
Why use ITIL as a framework
Digital enterprises place high expectations on IT. When you adopt ITIL practices and procedures across the service value chain, you’ll meet the needs of a digital-first workforce. A central concept of ITIL 4 is the Four Dimensions. These define the goals of good service management in four key areas:
- Organizations and People
- Information and Technology
- Partners and Suppliers
- Value Streams and Processes
High-velocity IT requires organizations to transform their capabilities across all Four Dimensions in an effort to foster creativity, collaboration, and innovation. At the same time, digital enterprises also expect IT to reduce risk across the value chain.
In order to understand why organizations should adopt ITIL to achieve these goals, let’s first highlight the key elements of the Service Value Chain (SVC) covered by the guideline. After that, we will discuss how the specific guidelines across the Four Dimensions deliver the promised value propositions.
Elements of the ITIL Service Value Chain
The Service Value Chain is an operating model for creating, delivering, and improving your services. Here are the six elements and their objectives:
- Plan. Developing a collective understanding of the vision, understanding the current state, and identifying the future direction for ITIL best practice implementation across all Four Dimensions. The planning forms a basis for provisioning the resources, solutions, guiding processes and ultimately, the services for end-users.
- Improve. Continuously improving the ability to align ITSM capabilities with business objectives. The improvement is considered across planning, operational activities, and the performance delivered across all Service Value Chain activities.
- Engage. Ensuring that all stakeholders thoroughly understand the ITSM practices and are encouraged to take correct actions in the right direction. The engagement includes communication, collaboration, partnerships, and contributions at the individual and collective level, across hierarchies internally as well as beyond the organization as necessary.
- Design & Transition. Developing products and services that continually meet the defined requirements, standards, and expectations. These requirements may pertain to business performance, regulatory compliance, customer experiences, market sentiment and innovation, among other key factors.
- Obtain/Build. Ensuring timely availability of components and resources that are to build the designed products within the acceptable specification criteria. This element of the SVC is particularly relevant for organizations adopting the DevOps SDLC methodology, which thrives on timely delivery of the right automation tools, server resources and IT services for Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) use cases.
- Deliver & Support. Delivering and supporting all IT services according to the agreed specifications and requirements. This SVC element is key to ensure that the services used across all Four Dimensions of the IT can co-create value for the business. The support extends across all parts of the service value chain to support the end-to-end service delivery process.
(Read our full explainer on the ITIL 4 Service Value Chain.)
ITIL objectives Across Four Dimensions
ITIL defines the Four Dimensions as the key focus areas to deliver business value and impact upon the SVC system. For each dimension, here are the goals and objectives. (Of course, this assumes that you’re adopting the associated ITIL 4 best practices.)
Organizations & People
The goal of this dimension is to deliver a structure to the service management organization.
- The structure should align with the predefined standards your IT services.
- The underlying operations should be designed to deliver value across the SVC.
ITSM organizations often evolve into complex institutions with siloed groups and deeply convoluted skills distribution. This makes collaboration and collective operations susceptible to systematic and cultural resistance against the potential transformation initiatives—which is exactly what this dimension aims to address.
(Foster change with this 3-step approach.)
Information & Technology
The goal of this dimension is to develop the IT capabilities, infrastructure, data, knowledge, skills, partnerships, and strategies required for ITSM.
You’ll consider the technical, business, and legal challenges and opportunities to ensure that the solutions you’re investing in have two key features:
- Are compatible with existing technologies
- Can effectively deliver the ITSM features and functionality necessary
The culture of the organization also affects the choice of IT solutions that can be adopted realistically, without either:
- Introducing new risks
- Reducing the velocity of digital transformation projects
Partners & Suppliers
This ITIL dimension aims to identify, develop, and maintain effective partnerships with third-party suppliers, vendors, and consultants.
The ITIL guidelines focus on improving the ability to manage relationships and perform due diligence. Most importantly, the external products and services should conform to the requirements associated with the design, development, deployment, delivery, and support of the intended ITSM capabilities.
Value Streams & Processes
This dimension’s goal is to understand how work takes place—and why.
Find the value delivered with different activities and framework choices, then identify waste processes and opportunities to automate. This dimension helps you focus on processes that can be improved and result in improved IT Service Management capabilities.
(Get a fresh take on the people, process, technology trifecta.)
The goals of ITIL
As a service management framework, the overall goal of ITIL is to improve service management and optimize value for your customers and your organization.