As mentioned in our previous 3-4 blog article, one of the key components to ITIL® 4 is the Four Dimensions Model. This model is an expansion of ITIL v3’s 4Ps (People, Process, Platforms, and Partners) or what so many of us just call People, Process and Tools. ITIL 4 formally defines the Four Dimensions as:
- Organizations and People
- Information and Technology
- Partners and Suppliers
- Value Streams and Processes
The Four Dimension model is applied to all services and practices and is a point of reference for the Service Value System. This is one of the better improvements to ITIL in the 4th iteration. The Four Dimensions Model should be applied when building every practice. Although ITIL has never provided guidance that focused solely on the processes, it is clearly what it has been known for. The four dimensions, married with the new practices structure, will force us to think more holistically and comprehensively. When building our ITIL 4 based capabilities, we will ensure that the full value stream is understood and that all supporting components, including the people and organization, the underlying technology and information systems, and the 3rd party providers (partners and suppliers) are a part of the services and practices. Furthermore, it is important to understand that different practices require different levels of involvement from each of the dimensions. Practices such as Event Management are very dependent on Information and Technology, yet not as much by Organization and People. However, a practice, such as Relationship Management, is much more focused on people, and less reliant on Information Systems.
ITIL 4 adds one more aspect to the Four Dimensions model. It refers to using a best practice, such as the PESTEL framework to consider external factors that may affect the four dimensions. Specifically, Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal (hence PESTEL). Services may be defined and delivered in different ways based on these external factors. Industry and Government regulations may require certain organizational oversight or have information systems to provide auditable records. Social factors may require multiple versions of a service that appeal to different types of consumers.
As you learn more about ITIL 4 or begin implementing the best practices, make sure to keep a balance of the four dimensions as well as related external factors. Ensuring that you have considered all aspects and not just a technology solution or process workflow will help you build a robust and successful ITSM program.