ITIL Service Delivery

ITIL Service Delivery defines the business of IT—and it’s one of two disciplines that comprise ITIL Service Management. Service Delivery is much like it sounds: it’s the delivery of an IT service to a customer. Done well, Service Delivery brings the business and IT together to benefit the company as a whole—eliminating the detrimental “Us-versus-Them” mindset. This is important because it performs a service the customer cannot do—and provides great value. Service Delivery should foster corporate behavior for responsible use of IT services while maximizing corporate profits.[1]

The Evolution of IT Service Delivery[2]
ITIL service delivery is achieved differently across the ITIL v2, v3, and v4 standards.

In ITIL v2, ITSM was separated into two core disciplines:

  • Service support, including incident, change, release, and configuration, and service desk management)
  • Service delivery, including service level, capacity, availability, and financial management, along with contingency planning).

IT services were created and delivered in accordance with this ITIL v2 framework, which is still used minimally, but it has been largely bypassed in favor of the newer ITIL v3.

In ITIL v3, service delivery evolved with the introduction of the IT service lifecycle that focused on the five core areas, shown in Figure below

In ITIL v3, service support and service delivery were no longer separate disciplines. ITIL v3 service delivery provided a birth-through-retirement template for the lifecycle of each service. ITIL v3 is the more established framework that is widely used today, at least until the IT world moves to ITIL v4, which was introduced in spring 2019.

ITIL v3 Service Lifecycle
source: BMC

In ITIL v4, the service value chain (SVC) supplants the service lifecycle from ITIL v3.
The SVC is the delivery component of the service value system (SVS), and it is implemented with other SVS components. Like the ITIL v3 service lifecycle before it, the SVC is an operating model for the creation, delivery, and continuous improvement of IT services. But instead of the five core areas defined for ITIL v3, the SVC focuses instead on these six core areas:

  • Plan
  • Engage
  • Design and transition
  • Obtain/build
  • Deliver and support
  • Improve

ITIL Service Value Chain
source: BMC

The SVC relies on demand (inputs) such as policies, requirements, opportunities, or product and knowledge changes. The SVC evaluates and processes its inputs until it delivers an output in the form of a service outcome that delivers value to the customer. ITIL v4 moves away from delivering IT services to internal users to enabling and co-creating value with customers and non-IT parts of the business. Where ITIL v3 focused more on how to deliver services, ITIL v4 focuses more on:

  • How to co-create value with the customer for the services you’re delivering.
  • Digital transformation than straight IT delivery
  • Providing guidance on newer development techniques for delivering IT services, such as Agile, DevOps, and Lean.

As such a recent version, ITIL v4 is not nearly as widely used as its predecessor—yet.

See Also


  1. Definition - What is ITIL Service Delivery? Help Systems
  2. The Evolution of ITIL Service Delivery BMC