ITIL 4: Connecting key concepts – Part 4

17 May 2019 01:11 PM

Blog posted by: Akshay Anand – ITIL Ambassador, AXELOS, 16 May 2019.

ITIL 4: Connecting key concepts – Part 4

The Service Value Chain, and Service Value Streams

This is Part 4. You can read part 1 here.

Welcome back! This post is the fourth (and last) in a series in which I connect the key concepts of ITIL 4.

In the last blog we briefly covered the service value system (SVS) and its five components. One of those components is the service value chain.

The service value chain is a set of loosely coupled activities (or archetypes) that any service provider undertakes at some point (or even repeatedly). Regardless of the size of the service provider, the industry, the geography, or even the level of automation, the organization will conduct the following activities at some point (perhaps even continuously):

These activities can be combined and integrated in a myriad of ways to create a “journey” from demand to value that reflects how the service provider completes work. ITIL 4 calls this “journey” a value stream, and each value stream represents how the organization responds to specific scenarios or types of demand. Techniques like value stream mapping can help organizations streamline and optimise their value streams.

Value streams can be defined at any level of the organization, so there may be value streams at the enterprise level, and completely different (yet ultimately connected) value streams for each development or support team.

A value stream can be as linear or as waterfall (or not) as the organization requires. Equally, it can be as dynamic or as agile (or not) as the organization requires. There are two key points to always keep in mind about value streams:

Practices support value chain activities at various points in the value stream. For example, when engaging with a customer needing help (i.e. an incident), we might call upon the following practices:

The list of practices above isn’t meant to be exhaustive! It serves to illustrate that practices support and contribute to value chain activities. In ITIL v3 Incident Management has been seen purely as a Service Operation activity. By decoupling the service value chain and practices, practitioners can understand how a practice can contribute to several activities – in some cases to a greater extent, and in some cases a lesser extent. In the ITIL 4 Foundation book, the reader will find a colour-coded “heatmap” for each of the 34 practices that details the degree of interaction with the service value chain, for example:

The other interesting thing about a value stream orientation is that it allows organizations to define their common scenarios and workflows and map out the contributions needed from each practice.

In the example below, I have three value streams with seven identified contributions from the incident management practice – thus, it only needs to support these seven touchpoints, and no more.

To put it another way, the practices can be designed to only meet the needs of defined value streams and nothing more. This is a “minimum viable service management” approach and will hopefully push practitioners away from blindly copying or implementing process guidance found in a book. It’s a very Lean way of defining service management practices!

The result of the value stream is a live, functioning product or service – something that the service provider organization uses to co-create value with consumers…and thus we come full circle.

Welcome to ITIL 4!

ITIL 4: Connecting key concepts video Part 4