Bridging the IT/business gap with ITIL 4

Published: Mon Dec 12 2022

Blog posted by: Sophie Hussey - Director, Lapis Consulting Services, 08 December 2022.

As most businesses and other organizations are becoming digital, how can there still be a gap between IT and the business?

In 2023, digital transformation and business/IT should act as one entity. However, there are still more traditional ideas behind organizational strategies.

For example, some companies may want to reach more customers to increase revenue. While laudable, the same companies will see IT as there just to maintain the technology and keep up with developments such as AI and automation.

In the best scenario, the strategy should combine business and IT, with the latter seen as a revenue generator, not just a cost centre.

So, what is the impact of a business/IT gap when devising strategy and co-creating value?

Conflicting priorities

When organizational strategy focuses on building revenue and customer experience in isolation from IT, then investment in technology tends to dwindle. From what I've seen, there's often lots of talk about building a strategy that covers all bases but what often happens is that the scales are tipped to one area (often the revenue perspective).

As a result, customer platforms may remain on older technology infrastructure and will ultimately come to a point where the organization can't maintain service availability and co-creation of value will fall apart.

If companies want to be digital-first, they must think big picture and recognize that digital transformation doesn't come free of charge; companies have got to invest to handle the current mix of on-premises, hybrid and cloud architecture.

Cost can be daunting when making the investment in technology and some organizations will opt for the supposedly quick and easy route. But these are strategic conversations and there needs to be more consideration of the real cost involved.

ITIL 4's guiding principles are a useful starting point for this: thinking holistically about what the organization wants to achieve and what the drivers are behind the decisions to come, e.g., do you need investors, new people, different skills?

ITIL 4 also highlights the importance of inter-functional communication and understanding where each part of the business sits in the service value chain, driving value co-creation.

While there will always be the pressure of local priorities and separate functional objectives, delivering the services and deriving the value you want means setting aside separate agendas and focusing on customer value.

Adopting ITIL 4

The best-performing businesses that manage to close the business/IT gap tend to have an open culture; can set aside older ways of working and adopt ITIL 4 guiding principles such as progress iteratively with feedback and think and holistically.

If people are working more collaboratively than in silos (as highlighted in the collaborate and promote visibility guiding principle), the organization can develop a more service and value-focused culture.

But, if your organization isn't there yet, where do you begin?

ITIL 4's continual improvement model provides both a sensible starting point and a way to progress iteratively, asking:

  • What is the vision?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we need to be?
  • How do we get there?


  • Take action
  • Did we get there?
  • How do we keep the momentum going?

It doesn't matter if your organization's maturity is low at the beginning: once you know where you are, using continual improvement is more likely to bring people with you on the journey.

Having a framework such as ITIL 4 - which isn't limited in scope to IT - means you can apply it anywhere in the organization: breaking down barriers, helping people to work as more cohesive units with shared goals and strategy in mind and understanding how to deliver value together.

Company: AXELOS

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