Understanding 4 P’s of ITIL Service Design | ITIL Foundation | ITSM

Spread the love

In this tutorial, we will discuss the ITIL 4 P's of Service Design. According to ITIL V3, these 4ps are the building blocks of service design stage. Here in this chapter, you will learn the definition, scope, and the working of 4 Ps of ITIL service design.

[Note: Do not get confused with 4 P's of Service Strategy]

What are the 4 P's of Service Design Stage? 

As define in ITIL V3, the 4 Ps of the ITIL service design stage are as follows:

  • People
  • Products
  • Partners
  • Processes

The 4P's of service design are a crucial part of the ITIL Service Design module. If any one of the 4P's is not present in the system, the activities of service design stage cannot be completed successfully.

The IT service managers must realize the true value of the ITIL 4Ps in the context of ITIL Service Design. Now, let’s discuss the ITIL 4 P's to see how they contribute to the ITIL Service Management Lifecycle.

[See Also: What is ITI Service Management Lifecycle?]

ITIL 4 Ps of service design

ITIL 4P of Service Design: People

People” is the first of the 4P's of ITIL Service Design that tells an organization to acquire sufficient personnel with adequate knowledge level.

At the time of designing services or processes, your organization will require IT engineers, managers, software architect, network architects, and administrators. The organization needs to ensure that they have the adequate capability to design new services or updating existing services.

If you don't have enough people in your team to complete the processes of service design, you will have to put more pressure on existing employees that may result in delivering low quality work. The other risk of having a small team is that you may lack on technical knowledge required to deliver quality services.

Yet another side of this people attribute is that, even though your organization may have a sufficient number of employees, if they do not have the required knowledge level, you will face issues in serving customers.

[See Also: ITIL Knowledge Management Process]

Good employees are also required for maintaining a good relationship with customers. For that, you will need some people in your organization, those who can understand the customer requirement and provide them a solution. Failing to do that will dissatisfy the customers and they will lose confidence in your organization.

The "people" part of ITIL Service Management Lifecycle is more about possessing adequate number employees and a wide range of technical expertise. You must have a team and that team should possess necessary technical skills to develop a new service or to improve on an existing service according to the business needs. Otherwise, you will eventually end up in providing below-quality service.

ITIL 4Ps of Service Design: Products

The word "Products" in the ITIL 4 P's of service design refers to the underlying technology that is required to deliver services. Here underlying technology means all the services, technology, tools, and measuring processes.

At the time of designing new services or updating existing services, the service management team of your organization will require some services or tools to deliver the expected outputs. Additionally, the team will also need some measuring processes and tools to test & evaluate if the outcome of the services meets the business requirements.

You must remember that services cannot be designed without having correct tools. So, making the choice of correct tools is an important aspect of this ITIL 4Ps of service design concept. You must maintain a proper balance between the performance, features, functionality, and cost while choosing the right technology.

Though the main driver will be the characteristics that come from the customers’ requirements, it has to be supported by the appropriate infrastructure, environment, interfaces, applications, and data sources that will help to produce quality services.

ITIL 4 P's of Service Design: Partners

This "Partner" element of ITIL 4P's of the Service Design is referred to as the internal and external suppliers. A service provider may not have all the required skills to serve all of the parts of its services or goods. In this scenario, they may hire that required skill/services for that part from partners or suppliers and deliver the whole service to its customers.

It is very much important that service level agreements (SLAs) are in place to ensure that each party (customer & supplier) know what level of services are expected of them and within which time frame.

[See Also: SLA in Service Level Management Process]

In this context, any supplier, manufacturer, and sub-contractor, who are capable of supplying required service assets within the required SLA belong to the group of partners/suppliers P of the service design phase.

Whether a strategic, operational, tactical, or commodity supplier, it is essential to maintain a good working relationship with them. A Service Provider organization must remember that they will never be able to meet the business requirements without the support of a good reliable partner.

ITIL 4 Ps of Service Design: Processes

The “Processes” element in the 4P's of service design is the means of taking one or more inputs and turning them into defined outputs.

ITIL states that every service-based organization must define IT Service Management (ITSM) processes, roles, responsibilities, and requirement descriptions. Otherwise, the service design stage won’t be able to deliver efficient outcomes.

“Processes” in ITIL 4P, determine the anticipated inputs that are required to deliver the target output. Without processes such as the service catalog management, capacity management etc, the service design phase can’t be managed efficiently. And that may result in a failure of the entire IT Service Management Lifecycle.

The roles and responsibilities descriptions within the process help to clarify individual responsibilities assigned to each people. It provides answers to the questions, such as: who will be responsible for an activity? Who will be accountable for an activity? Knowing these types of details ensures that all the activities will be done under some kind of supervision, and will also avoid blame-shifting if the activity fails.

[See Also: Complete List of ITIL Roles & Responsibilities]

Lastly, the "requirements" factor describes that in order to deliver the exact output all the business requirements for any new service or change to existing service must be defined clearly and concisely.

Before proceeding with the service design process, Service Managers must clarify all the business requirements that were outlined during the Service Strategy stage.

All of the above factors fall under the “processes” element of the ITIL 4 P's of the service design stage.

ITIL 4 P's of Service Design - Final Thoughts 

The ITIL 4P's of service design concept is a consolidation of all the essential factors that must be in place to design an effective and efficient service. As briefly explained in this ITIL training module, if all the ITIL 4 P's of service design were not taken into the place during the service design stage, it will be impossible to move on to the next stage (i.e. - Service Transition).

Therefore, it is vital that each of the 4P's (people, products, partners, and processes) is carefully examined before initiating the service design stage. And in case, any one of the ITIL 4P's is not in order, it must be fixed before commencing any activity.


We hope that you have enjoyed the above tutorial on ITIL 4 P's of service design/management. Be with us to explore free training on Leading Technologies and Certifications.

Leave us some comments if you have any question about 4P's of ITIL service design, we will be very happy to help you.

If you like our articles please like our facebook and twitter page to receive notifications on recent and updated contents.

Spread the love
Posted in ITIL Foundation and tagged , , , , , , , .

I'm passionate about Information Technology & spreading my knowledge makes me happy. I Have MBA(IS), ITIL, PRINCE2, CCNA, CCNP, MCSA, MS Hyper-V Certifications, and Trained in PMP, CCIE. And also have 10+ Yrs of Work Experience.
I wish you all the best in your career !!!!

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments