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ITSM ITIL 4 The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4: Think and work holistically

The four dimensions of ITIL 4® are ingredients needed to create high quality products and services which deliver value to customers:

  • Organizations and people
  • Value streams and processes 
  • Information and technology
  • Partner and suppliers 

The delivery and support of different services and products requires a different mix of ingredients. No ingredient can deliver value on its own, so a holistic perspective is required: consider all dimensions when designing and changing products and services.

The 4 Dimensions of ITIL 4: Information & Technology - 4 dimensions of service management

The four dimensions model is a tool to ensure people consider all the ingredients and are never too focused on one area. 

Today we’re looking at the Partners & Suppliers dimension.

Partners and Suppliers 

The 4 Dimensions of ITIL 4: Partners & Suppliers

Every organization is a provider and consumer of services—they need partners and suppliers to help deliver their own services. However, the breadth and depth to which organizations integrate suppliers into their value chains varies depending on in-house capabilities, sourcing biases, and regulatory requirements. 

When considering the partners and suppliers dimensionthink about: 

Strategy: Which capabilities do you want to retain in-house, and what do you need to outsource to access specialist capabilities? In most organizations, it isn’t practical to support every aspect of every capability with internal staff. It is also unlikely that you will be able to develop the same depth of expertise quickly enough, so it is better to take advantage of the ready availability of experts than struggle to develop in-house capabilities. In a changing world, the set of capabilities you need tomorrow won’t be the same as today, so you could find yourself investing a lot of money in “dead end” functions.

Scarcity: Do you have people with the right skills, or do you need to use partners to fulfil certain capabilities? CIOs typically list recruiting IT talent as a top-3 challenge, so outsourcing in areas like AI and big data can help you get the job done more quickly.

Cost: How does the cost of outsourcing compare to the cost of your in-house capabilities? Making economic decisions on the viability of insourcing vs outsourcing requires a clear and accurate understanding of how much it costs you to run your own services. Understanding your service economics is essential to making the right decisions.

Relationships: Do you have good relations with supplier representatives, including support people? Are they responsive to incidents and requests for change? The relationship you have should be considered as a factor going above and beyond the typical “hard factors” like cost alone. If you change suppliers frequently simply to chase-down the lowest costs, you have to build relationships from scratch every time. Is it really worth it?

Flexibility: Do your supplier contracts allow for quick and simple changes without penalties, or do they require renegotiation? 

PerformanceAre you tracking supplier performance? Are current suppliers performing as expected? Can they handle peaks in demand? How do they compare to other suppliers?

Find out about how to get more from your suppliersService Integration and Management (SIAM)  

Balancing the four dimensions 

Singular focus on any one dimension causes issues across other dimensions. The key to balancing the four dimensions is to consider all factors when designing services; not as an afterthought. When a service value stream changes, all four dimensions should be re-considered. If not, the value chain may become unstable. Considering all the factors when applying change will help you to maintain an equilibrium throughout the lifetime of a service.





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