What is new in ITIL4 as compared to ITIL3?

Overview of ITIL

ITIL is a well-known IT Service Management (ITSM) that is used worldwide. Information technology has become a major part of the modern business strategy and digital transformation has created business models that pushed ITSM to respond to rapid change in the IT industry.

IT Service Management should address the challenges which are important for business success. Hence, ITIL4 was released in the year 2019 identifying these significant changes which are required with time.


The previous version, ITIL3 was released in May 2007. The core concept introduced in ITIL 3 was the ITIL Service Lifecycle. The five phases of life cycle are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.

The five phases of the service lifecycle are the collection of 26 processes and 4 functions related to how to successfully provide and manage IT services. The 26 processes are spread across the five life cycles; the 4 functions fall under Service Operations life cycle only.

ITIL 3 defines a process as a structured set of activities designed to achieve a specific objective.

The functions are defined as a group of people and the tools used to perform one or more processes or activities.

In 2011, there was a refresh of the ITIL framework with the introduction of ITIL 4. The 2011 ITIL Framework included updates to resolve errors and inconsistencies in documentation and the diagrams across the entire library.

What’s new in ITIL 4?

Major Components of ITIL 4

ITIL 4 Foundation was released in February 2019. Within ITIL 4 are four key components that make up the framework. These components are:

  • the Service Value System (SVS)
  • the Service Value Chain (SVC)
  • the 4 Dimensions of Service Model
  • the 7 Guiding Principles

Comparison of ITIL 3 and ITIL 4

Structure level differences-

Service Life Cycle Service Value System
26 Processes 34 Practices
9 Guiding Principles 7 Guiding Principles
4 Ps of Service Design 4 Ps of Service Design 4 Dimensions of Service Management
People Organisation and People
Partners Information & Technology
Products Partners and Suppliers
Processes Value Streams and Processes

The major difference in ITIL 4 is its approach to IT Service Management. ITIL 4 importance is its adaptability to changes in the business and technology by incorporating DevOps, Agile and Lean concepts mixed with traditional ITIL best practices. This will make the ITSM framework well fortified to progress along with the industry.

The second main difference ITIL 4 is the addition of the Service Value System. The Service Value System shifts the focus to value creation, from ITIL 3’s focus on the services themselves. The reasoning for this change is that by focusing on value creation, IT Service Management activities will now work in conjunction with other activities throughout the business, thereby promoting holistic systems thinking, breaking down silos, and encouraging collaboration.

In a nutshell, ITIL 4 modernises and updates current ITSM knowledge.

The table below highlights some of the major differences explained between the two versions.

Framework Area ITIL 3 ITIL 4
Service Lifecycle to Service Value System Service Lifecycle: Five phase service-focused Service Value System (SVS)
Processes to Practices 26 processes grouped across the five areas of the service lifecycle 34 practices grouped under three categories (General, Service, Technical); includes many of the previous 26 processes
ITIL Guiding Principles to 7 Guiding Principles 9 principles first introduced in ITIL v3 (2011) under ITIL Practitioner only Condensed down to seven principles included in the Foundation level as a core element
The 4 Ps to the 4 Dimensions The 4 Ps of Service Design for holistic design: People, Partners, Products, Processes The 4 Dimensions of Service Management support a holistic approach to Service Management: Organizations & People, Information & Technology, Partners & Suppliers, Value Streams & Processes