Is Agile working the end of ITIL?

By ir. Pim Schouten

No more long queues at the town hall, you can simply arrange your parking permit from your couch. Or send a payment request via WhatsApp after a night out. Nowadays, we consider these things normal. Services are available everywhere and anytime. Additionally, customers and citizens are becoming increasingly central. This requires continuous innovation on the one hand and services that are always available everywhere on the other. Many organizations find themselves in a dilemma between quickly responding to changing needs and offering 24/7 services. Organizations are looking for ways to meet these demands, and sometimes it seems like these demands conflict with each other. Below, we look at two examples of common frameworks for continuous innovation and 24/7 services. We also explore how these frameworks can contribute to delivering business value.

Agile, ITIL, frameworkings, IT, IT frameworks

Agile and ITIL; the differences

Agile working is a framework focused on the iterative development of new products and services. We are all familiar with internet companies, as they are the champions in using this way of working. Internet companies like webshops and streaming services have a short Time to Market. They can innovate their product quickly and respond agilely to changing customer needs. Other organizations, such as financial institutions and governments, have a more complex environment that also includes legacy systems critical to their operations. This makes it increasingly risky for these organizations to make rapid changes. This can jeopardize the continuity of their services. 

ITIL is designed to keep the infrastructure as stable as possible. It is the traditional choice for managing the IT environment and has many guidelines for maintaining stability. The release and change management processes have a fixed structure and multiple checkpoints to implement changes in a controlled manner. However, as the environment becomes more complex, the lead time for making changes also increases. It becomes increasingly challenging to respond to market changes in a timely manner. This often puts innovation at risk, and the number of pending (unimplemented) changes continues to grow. 

Both frameworks and choose what suits your organization

With the rise of Agile working, we see that many organizations are abandoning more traditional forms of management and fully embracing a single solution for all their IT challenges. In my opinion, this is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The key is to choose the right approach for the right problem. It is important to find a balance between Time to Market and risk control. Agile working does not render ITIL obsolete; it primarily offers a different perspective. Both frameworks, Agile and ITIL, help gain insight and, in this way, provide added value for the organization to make an informed choice, ultimately keeping us as customers satisfied.

Want to know more?

Did you know that Highberg has an Agile Guild? This Guild deals with issues at the intersection of Agile and other themes such as Security & Privacy, Architecture, Governance, and Procurement. If you want to learn more about how Agile relates to these themes, check out our Agile Guild page.

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