Category Strategy
Publication date
19 November 2020

What does the ITIL Service Value System mean for your business?

Time to read 5 minutes read

The Service Value System, or Service Value Chain, are conceptual models underpinning the adoption and implementation of ITIL practices in service delivery. But what do they actually mean?

The Service Value System makes you think about why you are doing what you are doing. From the consumer point of view, it is designed to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck: the co-creation of value, in ITIL terms. From the service organisation point of view, it's about being able to better serve your customers in a way that adds most value to their business.

Look up the Service Value System in a search engine and you'll see fancy graphics showing blocks and bubbles. These can take some time to parse. Put simply, the Service Value System shows the steps taken to go from "I need" to "I am benefiting from". It helps relate the initial demand to the value actually delivered by that which services that demand.

The Service Value Chain is basically the idea that in order to get from a need to the delivery of value, you have a series of steps. At each step, there is an input, and that input results in an output which feeds into the next step. For example, for the 'engage' step, the input might be an initial request for an e-commerce system.

Through the engagement process, during which the initial request is unpacked and explored, the core problem to be solved is identified. The output might then be a confirmation that the e-commerce system is what is required, with some outline specifications. This output then feeds into the next step.

The Steps

1. Demand

This is the starting point, where a customer has a need.

2. Engage

The engagement process examines the need with the customer, unpacking it to identify the core problem being solved.

The next three steps are a trio, which may happen in concert, or individually.

3.1 Obtain/Build

Maybe the solution needs to be built from scratch. Maybe it can be sourced from somewhere.

3.2 Design & transition

Maybe the solution requires design, be it system or service design, or graphic design, engineering, or something else.

3.3 Deliver & Support

Once you have a widget or service, you need to deliver it, and support it.

The trio of steps feed into this output:

4. Products & Services

These are the 'end products' which are delivered to the customer.

5. Value

This is the ultimate goal. Products and Services are merely the vehicle through which value is delivered, and all the preceding links in the chain are the design and production of that vehicle.

Value is the ultimate goal.

There are two final elements to the Service Value System. Those are: 'Plan' and 'Improve'.


The planning activity spans the chain from engagement through to products and services and encompasses all aspects of planning for each of those items. It is clear that one should not just dive into an activity thoughtlessly. Rather, like engagement to find core requirements, one should do the thinking work around how, why, and what next for each step.


The improvement activity similarly spans the full chain from engagement to products and services. The principle behind it is that of "continuous improvement". One could apply this in an agile manner with sprint iterations during the production of a widget, or regular releases of versions of a service. The idea here is to never stand still: improvement can happen across the board, all the time. It should be baked into your processes.

Improvement should be baked into your processes.

What does this have to do with you?

The Service Value System makes you dig into the reasons behind your activities. For the consumer, it helps create and deliver value. From the service organisation point of view, it's about being able to better serve your customers. It's about ensuring you're giving them not just what they ask for, but what they actually need, and getting them the most out of your service that you can.

Profile picture for user Anthony Lindsay

Anthony Lindsay Director of Managed Services

With decades of experience, Anthony leads the Annertech Managed Services Team, delivering top quality design, development, and, ultimately peace-of-mind services to all of Annertech's wonderful clients.

Looking to improve your customer experience?

Find out more about how the ITIL Service Value System can help your business.