The value of value streams in ITIL

The value of value streams

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since ITIL4 was launched back in 2018.

One of the key objectives from the updated best practice framework for IT Service Management was to bring it in line with “new ways of working”. Well, not quite what was intended from the ITIL development team, but the global pandemic forced every organisation to consider new ways of working to adapt business models to cope with more flexible working arrangements, potentially changing the working landscape forever.

A more intended consideration for ITIL4 in terms of its alignment to new ways of working is in how the updated framework now fits alongside other valuable approaches such as Agile, DevOps and Lean. One example of this is through the welcome addition of Value Streams, an area that is still over-looked in terms of its practical contribution.

End-to-end Journey

Whilst the Service Value System (SVS) and one of its components, the Service Value Chain (SVC), appear to have grabbed the headlines, it is the understated Value Streams concept that really brings these models to life.

Both the SVS and the SVC indicate the starting point of Customer/Stakeholder “Demand” and the final destination of “Value”. But it is Value Streams that provide the actual journey, each step along the way contributing to the specific outcomes that customers want to achieve.

Processes versus Value Streams

Furthermore, many IT service provider organisations have measured their success of ITIL adoption down the years through process maturity. The truth is that this represents an isolated view and doesn’t grasp the big picture or enable joined up thinking. It is Value Streams alongside the SVS and SVC that provide a holistic view, with a practical approach to translating customer need through to realized value. This end-to-end journey is more representative of how to effectively provision and optimise services – the ITIL4 Practices providing processes and other capabilities as needed to help perform each step along the way.

Practical take-up

Over time I expect that IT Service Providers will start to recognize the value here and will look to identify what their key Value Streams are and continually monitor them for improvement opportunities. For example, the Value Stream for a “new service” or the Value Stream for “end-user support”. True Service Management performance will then be assessed based on how well these Value Streams are contributing to the needs of the business and its various stakeholders, considering the value contribution from every step across the journey. Value Streams are introduced on the ITIL4 Foundation course and covered in more detail on the advanced ITIL4 modules, specifically the ITIL4 Managing Professional module – Create, Deliver & Support which covers them in greater depth.

ITIL and Value Streams Training

If you are interested in knowing more about Value Streams, and about ITIL in general, then our training can help.  We provide training at all levels of ITIL.  Please do contact us to talk through the best way forward for your organisation.

This guest blog post is written by one of our approved ITIL trainers.

To discuss this blog in more detail, to explore your current ITIL training status and next steps please contact