ITIL 4 – A New Operating Model for Turbulent Times

The Coronavirus – A Pandemic that Requires a New Operating Model

Over the last few months the world has been dealing with a new pandemic – the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. First experienced in China, the new virus has now spread to all countries and territories around the globe.  Source:

A Disaster We Were Not Adequately Prepared For

• The world economy is taking a tremendous hit
• Stock markets have lost 1/3 of their value, and retirement saving has been decimated
• Organizations of all types are struggling to cope with the situation
• Markets are being swamped with customers, panic buying for fear that they will run out of supplies during the next few months (or however long the virus lasts).
• Organizations cannot respond quickly enough with the unanticipated demand – the supply chains were not designed to react quick enough to such surging demand.
• As a result, market shelves are being emptied, stores are limiting their hours and access to products/services, and trucks are lined up at big producers to replenish retail outlets – for example, Proctor & Gamble to supply more toilet paper (for which there has been a hug demand!)Governments and organizations of all types worldwide were not expecting this disaster.

According to reports, the virus was not treated for several weeks while it continued to grow within China. And due to the frequent travel of Chinese between their country, and the US (particularly Washington and California), as well as across Europe, the virus began to spread – and very quickly turned from an epidemic to a “pandemic” – a virus that has community spread, and is now affecting the entire globe.

For sure China, America, Europe, the Middle East, and all countries affected are now responding with containment procedures, new regulations that that are designed to limit the spread, while R&D labs work on a cure. But why couldn’t we have been more prepared? Why didn’t we anticipate that a global pandemic would break out, especially after the H1N1 (Swine Flu) that occurred in 2009, the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa, and the terrible flu pandemic of 1918 that killed an estimated 60 million people worldwide.

Could we have been more Prepared? Yes. Bill Gates predicted during a TED talk back in 2015 that the world would soon face a global pandemic of disastrous proportions. He warned, rightly so, that the biggest looming threat was not massive nuclear war, but rather a tiny virus – one we had not previously seen, and for which we were not adequately prepared for. He suggested that governments and organizations of all types consider• The impact of previous epidemics and pandemics, and how a new pandemic would visit havoc on the world population, economies, and people’s well being• How we should plan and invest in medical corps that could partner with the military, and bring rapid medical help to areas affected• How we ought to invest in R&D to more rapid develop treatments for a new virus never before seen.

Rather than relying on the tradition approach of slowly reacting to crises, we could have behaved differently. Organizations could have moved more rapidly to a new operating model – one that assumes a dynamic, unpredictable, rapidly changing environment. That assumes rapid respond and delivery is the norm, rather than the exception. Unfortunately, governments and business didn’t listen. They failed to be proactive, to plan and anticipate. For the most part, they have been slow to adopt new business models, and invest in new ways to respond. And then that pandemic did in fact strike – COBID-19 – in China, in December of 2019.

How ITIL 4 Can Help Organizations Meet Such Challenges

ITIL 4®, a new “operating model” for the fast changing world we are moving into was introduced by AXELOS in February 2019, after several years of development by thousands of contributors, and several task forces of designers. ITIL 4 is now being rapidly rolled out across the globe, with increasing adoption by all types of governments, business and organizations. As a new business model and operating framework, ITIL 4 includes several characteristics that can help organizations of all types more quickly and effectively deal with unforeseen challenges such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved. The Swirl logo™ is a trademark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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