Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ITIL 4: Nostalgia Trap or Modernized Framework



itil4 gerripoling 
Today many enterprises are stuck in a rut and tormented by ITIL due to governance and compliance requirements. When you talk to the boots on the ground building the organizations' private, hybrid, and multi-cloud solutions, you will often hear frustrations with bureaucracy, slow or failure to launch and a feeling of disconnect with expectations. All the while they press on building a new eco-system - virtualized, containerized, and serverless. That ecosystem is fundamentally and markedly different from how things were when ITIL 3 launched in 2011. 

So, I ask myself why should organizations rely on a framework developed in the 80's and refreshed once a decade? A time well before the industry’s maturation and evolution.
ITIL framework has often been misunderstood as prescriptive and continues to be faulted as failing to meet the demands of modern technology teams. Many an engineer, SysOps or business stakeholder have argued the following in a quest for something better.

  • DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering emphasizes more on service-level management - Stakeholders and customers want immediate gratification. Waterfall software development lifecycles focusing on step-by-step design, testing, and maintenance actions don’t offer the speed, agility, or adaptability in service delivery. Traditional IT shops are at a massive competitive disadvantage without automation and continuous delivery.
  • Service oriented - Technology's focus has shifted from component monitoring to the customer experience. To make this shift successful, it means IT must dedicate more time and resources to application development and maintenance.
  • Complex ecosystem - The tech industry has radically transformed in the last ten years with the introduction of virtualization, micro services, containerization, cloud-native workloads and server-less computing. ITIL wasn't designed to support a shared Service Catalog and ambiguity in ownership within a SaaS or IaaS solution.
  • Shared ownership - Forward-thinking IT organizations have realized that empowering service and line-of-business owners with a management model aimed at maintaining websites, apps, portals, and other customer touch points is the real key to gaining a strategic edge.
  • Fear of change - Change management advisory boards in past iterations of ITIL as blockers to rapid deployments and iterative cycles of software development. Contrary to popular belief, ITIL was not intended to be implemented where IT was responsible for evaluating or validating every component  of a change.

    In this modern IT era we must be agile, efficient, and flexible enough to service planned workloads and cloud native solutions. Solutions built to support continuous change, automated deployments, and immutable components.

    Enter ITIL 4 -  Designed to help organizations build more flexible ITSM strategies, ITIL 4 now includes more LEAN, Agile and DevOps based methodologies. It actually encourages collaboration and communication across organizations and offers guidance for implementing changes rapidly and fluidly. While it is not a "from scratch" rewrite, v4 may become complimentary to those other methodologies and integrate deeper with other service management best practices in the context of newer technologies, such as serverless, containers, micro-services and multi-cloud.  

    Let's revisit this topic in 2, 5 and 10 years to explore how the technical culture has evolved with or without ITIL. Maybe a BOT will respond to the question...

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