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Modern service management, ITIL 4 and multiple methods

Blog posted by: Dirk Brinkmann, Cloud Solution Architect for Modern Service Management, 08 December 2022.

What is “modern service management” and where does ITIL 4 fit into it?

While there’s no simple definition, I see modern service management as combining the plethora of frameworks available to meet a customer’s requirements.

It’s about taking customers from where they are with a toolbox that contains – for example – ITIL but also Scrum, along with the latest technologies, to achieve their strategic objectives.

And by modern, we don’t mean a new standard but applying existing frameworks, experience and technology. This is an evolution; a journey for which there is no magic formula or silver bullet.

It’s a fluid situation in which things are constantly changing with every experience and new piece of knowledge – and each customer application may need a different solution.

The modern service manager

Taking the German-speaking market as an example, there are few organizations which are thinking in depth about modernizing service management practices.

However, while there are numerous traditional organizations still steeped in ITIL v3 concepts, there are “lighthouses” that want to modernize and are open to suggestions and interesting conversations.

And this means thinking again about defining the role profile of service managers.

One of the key elements that, today, applies across any role that requires best practice principles, behaviours and attitudes is value orientation: what value means for the organization or a particular service is now the common denominator.

So, organizations thinking about things in this way will more easily adopt modern service management.

Culture change and digital transformation

If companies want to go through digital transformation, they must understand it comes with cultural change which, naturally, involves people.

One of the most common flaws in most thinking about transformation is, for example, “let’s do Scrum and that will transform us”.

Instead, changing culture and ways of working needs buy-in from senior management. Because, if the culture is not there to give people autonomy, transformation will fail ultimately.

If, when talking to an organization, I recognize that their culture is not ready then changing their way of working is likely to fail. And this provides the boundaries for choosing the right tools and frameworks to deploy for their scenario – in my opinion, a modern service management approach.

ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy – aligning with business needs

Having studied business administration before moving into IT, the idea of strategy was always part of my thinking.

Therefore, the ITIL 4 Leader: Digital and IT Strategy module has provided a very good refresher; touching on concepts like the business model canvas and SWOT analysis.

It’s also helped structure my work more, using the book as a reference tool which has really helped me in conversations with customers.

As I work for a technology company that is shifting to be more of a business solutions provider, it means working with both IT people and business owners who want to run a service. And this requires an alignment of business and IT strategy.

In addition, ITIL 4 and its modular service value system is easy to incorporate Agile methods and capabilities into. For organizations that are using Scrum authentically for development, they may also use ITIL 4 as a service management framework for core services such as change management. This is not a contradiction if you are flexible and avoid tunnel vision.

And I believe you can apply Agile ways of working in many scenarios outside software development. When dealing with uncertainty, having short cycles and progressing offers immense value. Applying sprints to our work and using what makes sense from a range of frameworks means creating less waste in projects and working more effectively.

Rather than seeking the elusive “silver bullet” in any single method, it’s about understanding customer needs and applying frameworks in the right way.


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