Over the past 25 years, many organizations have modelled their support – and in some cases their delivery organization – after the ITIL frameworks and processes. For many, ITIL has been helpful in establishing the rigor and governance that they needed to bring their infrastructure under control in an era where quality and consistency of service was critical and technology was sometimes fragile.

Today, we are 5 years into “The age of the customer” – an era where customer obsession is driving technology and which demands a culture of speed and collaboration to differentiate and deliver extraordinary customer experience to drive business growth. In this era, the rise of mobility and the race to deliver differentiated business processes is critical to success. Your development teams are driving velocity and elasticity with increased quality and availability, leveraging DevOps practices and often driving change directly to production.

This transition has led some organizations to experience friction between the competing priorities, velocity and control, especially for those who continue to execute on the traditional model of ITIL.

ITIL is starting to show signs of age. That does not mean it is on the verge of demise. ITIL must adapt. To understand the relevance of ITIL and IT Service Management practices in this era of Modern Service Delivery, Eveline Oehrlich and Elinor Klavens and I have embarked on a review of ITIL and the use of IT Service Management practices supporting todays BT agenda.

Our key findings include:

ITIL must pivot to support digital transformation

ITIL has played a very important role in creating a foundation for control to improve organizational maturity. However, the general community interpretation of ITIL is not ready for the greatest organizational imperative of the age of the customer: the customer experience. Few organizations have moved past reactive processes like change management to proactive processes that drive digital operational excellence.

A customer-obsessed operating model demands agility, collaboration and brokering

Treating ITIL as a standard without adapting it reinforces a silo mentality and can be a roadblock to achieving agility and facilitating collaboration. Firms must move immediately to break down internal silos to deliver customer value quickly and effectively. Use API integration, infrastructure as code, as-a-service platforms, and application release automation tools to help transform your company culture.

Mix and match frameworks to achieve your goals

It is important to understand the strength and weaknesses of different best practice frameworks and the goals you are trying to achieve. A multi-methodology approach will allow you to bring together a greater variety of stakeholders across your technology management and business teams than will just a focus on ITIL.

Avoid religious interpretations of ITIL

ITIL has become popular for a reason. It is chock-full of good sense. Do not mistake its guidance as a doctrine for all actions. It is not such a body of knowledge. Apply its pragmatic elements and resist any attempts by people to turn ITIL into a set of laws. Drive your operating model to embrace the best of ITIL along with the other frameworks, including agile development. The DevOps movement is attempting to do this, mostly with good success.

Review your ITIL Adoption now

Our research found that the time is now to review your ITIL adoption, which must change to support the speed, quality, and agility that you need to deliver new and exciting customer experiences. Don’t be scared to challenge the processes you have in place and break down the silos. Just because it worked in 2010, does not mean it will now.

Please read our full report which is available for Forrester Clients.

As always your feedback is appreciated!