ITIL vs. DevOps: What is best for your organization?

Daniel Weiß
January 17, 2023
Table of Contents:

When it comes to managing IT services, there are two schools of thought: DevOps and ITIL. DevOps is a newer approach, while ITIL has been around for decades. Both have their pros and cons, but which method is the right one for your business? Is ITIL still relevant in an era of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT?

What is ITIL?

ITIL is a framework for IT service management that provides best practices for aligning IT services with the needs of the business. It was developed by the British government in the 1980s and has since been adopted by organizations around the world.

ITIL provides a structured approach to service management with precisely defined processes and procedures. It helps organizations improve their service quality, optimize their resources, and manage risks. ITIL can be used to support a wide range of IT services, including those provided by cloud providers.

What is ITIL used for?

ITIL is a process-oriented approach which focuses on identifying and managing the individual steps required to deliver high-quality IT services, ranging from the development and deployment of new services to monitoring and optimizing service quality.

ITIL can also be useful for companies transitioning to the cloud, as it provides guidance on how to align IT services with the relevant business requirements.

In addition, ITIL can be used to improve communication between the IT department and other areas of the business in order to create a collaborative environment within an organization. ITIL can also support organizations with managing risks and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

The main benefit of ITIL is that it helps to standardize your IT operations, which can make managing complex environments easier and improve the efficiency of your IT department. ITIL can also help you to document and track changes to your IT infrastructure, so that you can identify and address issues more quickly. A downside of ITIL is that it can be inflexible and slow to adapt to changes.

Is ITIL still relevant?

Many companies struggle with the implementation of ITIL because the framework is complex and difficult to follow. As a result, some experts say that ITIL is no longer relevant in today's fast-paced digital world.

One reason why ITIL is seen this way is that the framework provides a comprehensive approach to ITSM. It is also not prescriptive, meaning that organizations are flexible in how they implement it. This can make it difficult for companies to understand where to start and how best to use the framework to meet their specific requirements.

The latest version of ITIL (ITIL 4) was released in 2019 and offers a simplified approach to implementing the framework. The new version focuses on five core disciplines: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continuous Improvement. This simplified approach makes it easier for organizations to get started with ITIL and to improve their IT service processes.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a relatively new approach, which focuses on the collaboration between Development and Operational teams. One of the main benefits of DevOps is that it can help you accelerate the deployment of new features and updates. This is because DevOps is based on the principle of "Automation first" - this means that manual processes are automated as much as possible, such as the provision of servers and the implementation of code changes. Furthermore, DevOps adds the "human element" and shows how teams can work together to achieve more than the sum of their individual efforts alone.

Because DevOps fosters a culture of collaboration between development and operations teams, issues can be identified and resolved more quickly. DevOps is particularly suited to breaking down information silos. One of the drawbacks of DevOps, however, is that it can be difficult to implement, particularly in large companies.

ITIL vs. DevOps

One of the most important differences between ITIL and DevOps is the emphasis on speed. ITIL prioritizes managing and improving existing services, whereas DevOps is more geared towards delivering new features and updates as quickly as possible. Another difference is the scope of each approach. ITIL is a framework for the management of all aspects of IT services, while DevOps primarily deals with the software development lifecycle.

So which approach is right for your organization? If you want to improve the efficacy of your existing IT processes, then ITIL is the right choice. If you want to accelerate the delivery of new features and updates, then DevOps is the right approach. But if you want to get the best of both approaches, you can use them together. Many think of ITIL and DevOps as an either-or decision, but in reality, they are complementary approaches.

How can you combine ITIL and DevOps successfully?

ITIL and DevOps go together excellently. If you want to successfully combine ITIL and DevOps, you should first consider how to best integrate the two concepts. Think of your problem as a basis for this. It is important to establish a common framework for the collaboration of teams. In addition, you should integrate DevOps principles into your ITIL processes and vice versa. This way you can ensure that both concepts are working optimally.

Advantages of successful integration include:

  • Improved IT service quality
  • Faster deployment of new features and updates
  • Reduced risks
  • Greater flexibility when adapting to changing business requirements
  • Faster response to change requests
  • Better software quality
  • Reduced complexity in your IT environment
  • Less effort needed for change management.


ITIL is still relevant today because it provides a framework for ITSM. The framework sets out best practices for delivering high-quality IT services and aligning IT services with business goals. It also helps organizations to improve their IT service processes. In addition, ITIL provides guidance on how an IT service organization can be effectively managed and operated.

DevOps is not a replacement for the ITIL framework, but a complement. By combining DevOps with the ITIL framework, businesses can respond to changes faster and improve the quality of their software. By reducing the complexity in your IT environment and the effort for change management, DevOps teams can work more efficiently. In short, the combination of both can improve the quality of ITSM.

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