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ITIL 4 in 1.96 seconds

Barry Corless
  • Datum: 08 March, 2019

On 11th November 2018, the Ferrari pit crew of Sebastian Vettel changed all four wheels on his Formula One racing car in just 1.96 seconds. That service they provided in the time it takes to snap your fingers twice can help us to understand just some of the key elements of the recently released ITIL 4. Here, I’m going to pick on two elements new to ITIL 4 to illustrate my point: value co-creation and the four dimensions of service management. 


From an ITIL perspective (and an Agile/DevOps one if we are honest), value has been a one-way street. Value for the customer has been at the heart of everything we do and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach. However, ITIL is now considering more than just the customers and users who get value from services, by taking into consideration the highly complex and interdependent relationships that exist in services we deliver today. Value is achieved through collaboration between service providers, customers, users and other organisations that are part of the relevant service relationships.  

Let’s return to Sebastian Vettel’s 1.96 second-service and consider the ‘value’ received or perceived by the various stakeholders:

Stakeholder Role Value Role in service design/improvement
Sebastian Vettel User Tenths of seconds can mean winning the race Involved in many of the design aspects 
Ferrari Pit Crew and Racing Team Internal Service Provider  Financial bonus and pride of being the best  Designers and executors of the service 
Ferrari Executives
A winning team leads to inward investment
They fund the design
Pirelli  3rd Party Service Provider (tyres)
Financial and continued use as a third-party provider  Work with Ferrari to provide expertise 
FIA  Regulatory Body  Continued interest in an exciting and safe sport  Set the rules teams must abide by

As you can see, the value of the service is not just limited to obvious direct benefits to the user and customer. Internal and external service providers, the sponsor and the regulatory body all benefit from the service to a greater or lesser extent. It can even be argued that the many thousands of people who flock to the circuits or millions who follow the action on subscription tv are stakeholders of the service. The action and excitement of fast wheel swaps is something they want to see. If the whole product and service (Formula One) isn’t right then they vote with their wallets and the sport suffers. What are we trying to achieve here? Well, taking on a broader view of service value, it should accept that it is created beyond the user and customers. Also, it suggests that users and customers need to have a role in the design and therefore the value that is expect.

Four dimensions of service management

ITIL 4 also introduces us to the four dimensions of service management which allow a holistic approach to delivering service. The four dimensions are:

  • Organisations and People
  • Information and Technology
  • Partners and Suppliers
  • Value streams and Processes

To achieve a miraculous 1.96 seconds, all four aspects need to have been considered. 

Organisations and People

There are often almost 20 people around the car when it arrives in the pit lane, with various jobs from jacking the car up to taking old wheels off and putting new ones on. Ferrari doesn’t just find the first 20 people who turn up to do the job: all are highly trained and know exactly what their responsibilities are. An essential element for good service.  

Information and Technology

In a local garage and with all the standard machinery available, a single mechanic might be lucky to change one single wheel in under two minutes, let alone all four in under two seconds. Specialised machines and tech make this service work.  Sure, it’s expensive, but with value at the centre, the right cost-justified technology is an essential element of good service.     

Value Streams and Processes

The process seems simple - the car roars into the pit lane, brakes on; jack the car up, 4 wheels off, 4 wheels on, jack the car down and away.  However, the speed and accuracy required mean that the process has been optimised to within a fraction of its life.  After all, Formula One races are won and lost on such minute fractions. What adds to the mix is the subterfuge associated with the race strategy and keeping that a secret from the competition a few metres away in the next garage. So, not only do they have to optimise a complex process, but they have literally seconds to prepare. Without a slick optimised process, they lose an essential element of a good service.       

Partner and Supplier

Ferrari doesn’t make tyres. Pirelli are the sole supplier of tyres for the 2019 Formula One season and without their valuable data on different tyre compounds and working temperatures, the primary benefit of changing the wheels (for greater performance) is lost. Vettel roars out of the pit lane if his tyres had not been sufficiently pre-heated, as he turns left the car would go straight on into a gravel trap and it would mean the end of his race. Whilst the value to supporters of other racing teams might be enhanced at seeing a rival fail, for Vettel, Ferrari and the fans of the Prancing Horse all the value would be lost instantaneously. Partners and suppliers are an essential element of providing a good service. 

More information

Would you like to know more about ITIL 4 training and certifications? Then contact your Global Knowledge ITIL Training Advisor. 

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Barry Corless

Global Product Director for DevOps and IT Service Management

As a Global Product Director for leading IT and business skills training specialist Global Knowledge, Barry Corless is responsible for helping organisations enhance organisational capability through application of best practice frameworks.  His role incorporates the development and delivery of service management, DevOps, programme and project management, enterprise architecture and business analysis learning and development solutions.  An experienced consultant and IT specialist, Barry undertook additional voluntary roles Director of itSMF International from 2017-2019, and Chair of itSMF UK from 2009-2011.  

An industry champion for ITIL, Barry credits its common-sense approach to endemic IT issues as the reason for his long-term track record with this international service management practice.  He has trained and consulted on ITIL in over 20 countries. Barry continues to act as an ITIL examiner and has been part of the author team that inputs into the ever-adapting ITIL guidelines.  

Barry’s attraction to analytical problem solving began early and his first ambition was to be a weather man.  He became an Assistant Scientific Officer for The Meteorological Office after leaving school in Cheshire.  Barry recognises that passion for the topic is a key attribute for success as a trainer, as well as the ability to bring a subject to life.  He thinks open-mindedness is vital.  “Lifelong learning has taught me that we all have to prepare to unlearn what we previously accepted as best practice,” he says. 

Having spent over 20 years training he has seen many changes in an industry that has embraced virtual classroom and digital learning.  He advocates the teaching of project management and service management skills early.  “In an economy that is 80% service based, we should be teaching these key management skills in schools,” he says.   

As Best Practice department head, Barry enjoys the variety that his role brings him, and he continues to work with consultancy and education clients to ‘keep it real’.  Barry’s ability to identify with learners makes him a sought-after trainer and his passion and detailed understanding of ITIL meant that Global Knowledge was able to develop the world’s first bridging course for professionals going from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4.  Global Knowledge remains the world’s leading provider of ITIL certification and exams.  

A popular commentator on ITIL and a frequent blogger, Barry doesn’t like to think of himself as ‘one track minded’.  “ITIL skills are transferable outside the IT hinterland and lesson learned in other environments should be used in optimising technology solutions” he promises.  “ITIL4 is more focussed on people, agility and collaboration.  With the pressure on IT teams to provide a lightning-fast route to market, it’s vital that all stakeholders across an organisation and throughout the supply chain are working well together.”