An introduction to the service value system of ITIL 4


Key message
Description
Guiding principles
Governance
Service value chain
Continual improvement
Practices
Summary


Key message

The ITIL 4 service value system (SVS) describes how all of the components and activities of an organisation work in a combined manner to enable value creation. Each individual SVS will have interfaces with other organisations, creating an environment that can enable value to be derived by these other organisations as well as their customers and other stakeholders.


Description

For service management as a whole to function effectively, it needs to be working as a single cohesive system. The SVS describes the inputs to this system (opportunity and demand), the constituent elements (governance, service management, continual improvement, capabilities, resources), and the outputs achieved (objectives and value).

Opportunities can be used to drive the creation of added value for customers and other stakeholders or to deliver improvements for the organisation. Demand looks at the appetite and needs for products and services amongst the consumer base. The derived outcome of the SVS is value, which can be identified in numerous forms such as the perceived benefits, usefulness or importance of a product or service, and which can deliver value for a multitude of different stakeholders.

Core components
The SVS of ITIL 4 has a number of core components, including:

SVS structure
The framework that the SVS provides is intended to ensure that an organisation continually creates value (in conjunction with all involved stakeholders) via the use and management of products and services. The structure of the SVS is shown below and is Fox IT’s diagrammatical representation of the service value system found in the ITIL 4 Foundation book.


The left-hand side column of the diagram shows the opportunity and demand elements that feed in to the SVS from both internal and external sources., with the right-hand side column showing the establishment of value creation (for all relevant stakeholders, including the organisation and customers). Both columns highlight some of the key factors and considerations that will help to ensure that these two elements are executed effectively.

SVS flexibility
The components, activities and resources of the SVS must maintain a level of flexibility such that an organisation can configure and re-configure these elements in a multitude of ways as conditions and influencing factors change. This can only be achieved, and the required levels of value creation maintained, if the SVS and its constituent parts and resources are fully integrated and operating in a coordinated manner.

Organisational silos
One of the key inhibitors to a successful SVS are the silos that can exist within an organisation. Silos prevent the smooth operation of functions and practices, are often resistant to change, they can introduce inefficiencies, prevent the the cross-fertilisation of knowledge and resources, and lead to an increase in both cost and risk. Silo operating also makes an organisation less responsive to change, when often a prompt response is required in dealing with changing circumstances or an evolving business environment.

ITIL 4 has 34 individual practices and all should have multiple interfaces with one another. It is only through these interrelationships and interdependencies that the right communications occur and the information flows in the right directions at the appropriate stages of the workflows. This is key to having a proper functioning SVS and supporting the proper functioning of the organisation. The guiding principles also provide a framework for a culture of sharing knowledge, working together, etc. and helps to promote a nature of collaboration and cooperation that reduces the risk of silos forming, or indeed helps to break them down.

SVS architecture
The SVS architecture is specifically designed to facilitate the required flexibility of operation that is needed for an organisation to be successful, as well as to discourage people from working in silos. The construct of the service value chain, its constituent activities, and the practices of the SVS are not formed in an inflexible manner. They can be blended in a way that supports multiple value streams and which best supports the needs of the organisation. Importantly, any value stream that an organisation initially defines will likely not look exactly the same when it comes to the end of its natural life. Value streams should be subject to refinement and redefinition as required in order that they remain aligned and consistent as continual improvement takes place elsewhere within the organisation.

SVS scope
When defining the architecture of the SVS, the scope of it should first be agreed. The SVS can be applied to the organisation as a whole, but equally it could cover just one area or a number of areas. The advice though is to encompass the entire organisation within the scope in order for the maximum benefits and value of the SVS to be obtained. This will also help to address an organisational silos that prevail.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.1.


Opportunity, demand and value

Key message
Occurrences of opportunity and demand will cause the initiation of SVS activities, and it will be these activities that will lead to the eventual creation of value. That being said, it will not always be the case that opportunities are accepted and enacted upon, nor will demand requests always be satisfied.

Description
An opportunity provides an occasion for adding further value for relevant stakeholders, or to introduce some other organisational improvement. Whilst the initial demand may not yet exist to make use of the opportunity, it doesn’t necessarily prevent proactive work taking place in readiness for it. It is important though that there is the best utilisation of resources, therefore these opportunities will need to be prioritised alongside new or changed services (such as those being driven via portfolio management).

Demand occurrences reflect customer appetite for products and services. Some of these requests may initially come via service request management.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.2.


Guiding principles

Key message
Guiding principles are instructions or recommendations that provide guidance to an organisation in all circumstances, irrespective of the changes that may take place to its goals, strategies, type of work, or management structure. Guiding principles are universal in their application and long-lasting (i.e. should not often change).

Description
The guiding principles are split into the following elements:

  • Focus on value
  • Start where you are
  • Progress iteratively with feedback
  • Collaborate and promote visibility
  • Think and work holistically
  • Keep it simple and practical
  • Optimise and automate
  • Principle interaction

More information on these can be found here.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.3.


Governance

Key message
All organisations should be directed by a governing body made up of individuals that have accountability at the highest level of the organisation for its performance and compliance (with internal policies, external legal and regulatory obligations, etc.). The governing body is typically a board of directors or other members of the executive management team.

Description
Governance is split into the following elements:

  • Governing bodies and governance
  • Governance in the SVS

More information on these can be found here.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.4.


Service value chain

Key message
The six value chain activities (listed below) symbolise the steps taken by an organisation to create value. Each of the activities supports the value chain with the transformation of inputs into outputs. The activities have inter-connections and inter-relationships with one another, with each receiving triggers for tasks to be performed, and themselves generating triggers for tasks to be executed in other activities.

Description
The service value chain is split into the following elements:

  • Plan
  • Improve
  • Engage
  • Design and transition
  • Obtain/build
  • Deliver and support

More information on these can be found here.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.5.


Continual improvement

Key message
Continual improvement is a never-ending activity that is applicable to all areas and at all levels of the organisation, from the strategic intentions right the way through to the operational delivery of services. Each individual involved in the provision of a service should always be consciously thinking about continual improvement and should always be looking to identify improvement opportunities.

Description
Continual improvement is split into the following elements:

  • Steps of the continual improvement model
  • Continual improvement and the guiding principles

More information on these can be found here.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.6.


Practices

A practice is a set of organisational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective. These resources are grouped into the four dimensions of service management: value streams and processes; organisations and people; information and technology; partners and suppliers.

The ITIL 4 service value system includes 14 general management practices, 17 service management practices, and 3 technical management practices.

  • General management practices: adopted and adapted for service management from general business management domains.
  • Service management practices: developed in service management and ITSM industries.
  • Technical management practices: adapted from technology management domains for service management purposes by expanding or shifting their focus from technology solutions to IT services.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.7 and chapter 5.


Summary

The ITIL 4 service value system (SVS) describes how all of the components and activities of an organisation work in a combined manner to enable value creation. Each individual SVS will have interfaces with other organisations, creating an environment that can enable value to be derived by these other organisations as well as their customers and other stakeholders.

The SVS provides an overarching framework for the governance and management of products and services, and which facilitates the co-creation of value with consumers. It includes service value chain activities (that are supported by a collection of general, service, and technical management practices) that together provide the organisational capability for managing and fulfilling demand. These demand requests may may arise from internal or external sources, and range in nature from strategic through to operational requests.

Further information on the items covered in this section can be found in the book ITIL® Foundation, ITIL 4 edition, chapter 4.8.