What are the key differences between ITIL 3 vs. ITIL 4?


ITIL 4 was officially launched in February 2019 and is an augmentation to the ITIL framework, not a replacement. The core elements of ITIL 3 remain the same but there is a new focus on value. In ITIL 4, the service lifecycle has been replaced by the service value system and processes are now called practices. In addition, ITIL 4 incorporates the guiding principles.



ITIL defines value as the “perceived benefits, usefulness and importance of something”.

In ITIL 3, value was mono-directional; the service provider delivered value to the customers.

In ITIL V4, there is a new focus on value. Value is now bi-directional and co-created (between the service provider and customer) at the time of use.


Service Value System

The ITIL 3 service lifecycle has now been replaced by the service value system.

The service value system (SVS) describes how all the components and activities of an organization work as a system to enable value creation.

At the center of the SVS is the service value chain.  The service value chain allows organizations to create multiple integrated value streams (instead of a single ITIL V3 service life cycle) to build and deliver products and services to customers.

Processes still remain a key part of the ITIL’s four dimensions of service management. Processes are linked together into value streams to enable value creation.



ITIL 3 processes are now ITIL 4 practices. In addition to the existing 26 ITIL processes, ITIL 4 has introduced additional 8 practices.

The ITIL 4 practices share the same significance as the current ITIL 3 processes but takes a more holistic approach to the ways of working. In addition to the high-level activities, the practices also discuss elements such as culture, technology, information and data management.

The detailed process descriptions and guidance are still found in the ITIL 3 core publications - at least, until the more comprehensive ITIL 4 publications are released.


Guiding Principles

ITIL 4 has defined seven universal guiding principles and are meant to help IT service management professionals adopt and adapt the ITIL guidance to their own specific needs and circumstances.


What’s Next

itQMS Content Experts are busy updating the existing ITIL 3 process templates and developing new templates to align with the new ITIL 4 practices and guidance. 

We will also be incorporating the new guiding principles in our processes, assessment kits and especially in the ITIL implementation methodology.


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