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  • A holistic approach to Service Management

The 4 dimensions of Service Management in ITIL 4

ITIL 4 dimensions IT Service Management

ITIL has always taught us that to achieve our goals, the right outcomes, and the desired benefits, we need to successfully blend together our people, processes and technology.

The 4 Ps of Service Design

In ITIL v3 we were introduced to the 4 Ps of Service Design: People, Process, Products (services, technology and tools) and Partners (suppliers, manufacturers and vendors). In essence, the key to successfully implementing IT service management as a practice is all about preparing and planning the effective and efficient use of those 4 Ps. In other words, making sure that anything new or changing in your service portfolio is considered in light of those 4 Ps.

With ITIL 4, we see these 4Ps being augmented with the introduction of the Four Dimensions of Service Management.

ITIL 4 defines these 4 dimensions as being collectively critical to “the effective and efficient facilitation of value for customers in the form of products and services”.

Let’s take a look at these dimensions:

Dimension 1 - Organizations and People

The first dimension encompasses organizational structures, management, and leadership styles, roles and responsibilities, and capacity and competencies (along with systems to aid communication and collaboration). Importantly, it acknowledges that the above are not, by themselves, sufficient to improve the organization’s effectiveness.

The organization also needs a culture that supports its objectives. Culture itself is made up of shared values and attitudes; leaders and champions that advocate the values; trust and transparency, and communication.

Dimension 2 - Information and Technology

The second dimension, Information and Technology encompasses the information and knowledge necessary for service management. It also considers the technology we will use when designing, building, and operating our products or services. In addition, it considers the security and regulatory requirements we are working with.

Dimension 3 - Partners and Suppliers

Every organization and service rely on other services to some degree. This dimension encompasses an organization's relationship with other organizations that are involved in the design, development, deployment, delivery, support, and/or continual improvement of services. It also focuses on agreements and contracts between the organization and its suppliers.

Dimension 4 - Value Streams and Processes

This dimension is concerned with how various parts of an organization work together to enable value creation. A value stream is simply a series of steps the organization takes to create and deliver products and services to service consumers.

A process is a set of interrelated or interacting activities that transform inputs into outputs. Processes define the sequence or actions and their dependencies. A well-defined process can improve productivity across the organization. By understanding and mapping out the value stream, organizations can identify process improvements and make changes to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The 4 Dimensions represent a holistic approach to service management

There is a balance of focus between all four dimensions in a holistic approach to service management. This includes considering external factors and their impact. All four dimensions and any external factors (political, economic, social, technological, legal or environmental) should be addressed as they evolve. Consideration should be given to emerging trends and possible opportunities.