Fourth Industrial Revolution


From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, steam engines powered industries, then we moved on to the power of electricity and the rapid rise of assembly lines. At the turn of the 20th century, we harnessed the power of computerization. And this begs us to ask the question, “What’s next?”

After three industrial revolutions and the need for constant evolution in technological innovations to further improve productivity and efficiency, we are now at the dawning of the fourth industrial revolution. Coined by world-renowned economist Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, it represents the combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Systems. In short, it is now an era in which machines are augmented with web connectivity and connected to a system that can visualize the entire production chain and make decisions on its own. And we cannot help but sit back and watch the way it is changing industries and lifestyles.

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The fourth industrial revolution is fundamentally different from the previous three, which were characterized mainly by advances in technology. Now, we are facing a range of new technologies that combine the physical, digital, and even biological worlds. These new technologies will have significant impact on businesses, organizations and whole industries, and even challenge the way we think about what it means to be human.

As far back as the third industrial revolution or the digital revolution, when the advancement of analog and digital electronics began, people began to utilize life-changing technologies on a daily basis. This includes the personal computer, the internet, and the entire spectrum of information and communication technologies. Many of these are the things an IT professional will be responsible for within the organization, and it was during this third industrial revolution that ITIL was conceptualized and created.


ITIL was first developed as a series of best practices and guidance on how to run organizations which relied on information technology. As a matter of fact, ITIL, when it was originally developed, was an acronym which stood for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. ITIL began in the 1980s to guide organizations in conceptualizing processes and procedures to better manage their IT systems. Throughout the last three decades, ITIL became the de facto standard around the world for IT service management.

As we have moved from the first industrial revolution, to the second, and onto the third, we're now looking at new challenges. The fourth industrial revolution is happening right now. A fusion of technologies has blurred the lines between physical and digital realms. This includes the use of technologies like robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, autonomous cars, and a whole lot more. This explosive growth in technology in the early 21st century has transformed our industries and world economies, as well as our lifestyles.


Now that we have caught your attention, you may be asking 'Why are we spending time talking about industrial revolutions that occurred over the past few hundred years?' Let me get straight to the point: ITIL 4 is no longer considered ITIL version 4. ITIL is no longer just an acronym. Instead, it is ITIL for the fourth industrial revolution. ITIL doesn't simply mean Information Technology Infrastructure Library anymore, because ITIL is more than just “best-practice guidance for IT service management”, a manual, or a set of procedures. By thinking of ITL as a brand name, it is a major shift in the way ITIL approaches the challenges of IT service management for you and your organization to survive and thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.


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