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August 7, 2009

ITIL: Overview and Benefits (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)

ITIL is a public framework that describes best practice in IT service management.

ITIL provides a systematic and professional approach to the management of IT service provision. Adopting its guidance offers users a huge range of benefits that include:

1.            reduced costs;

2.            improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes;

3.            improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service delivery;

4.            standards and guidance;

5.            improved productivity;

6.            improved use of skills and experience;

7.            Improved delivery of third party services through the specification of ITIL or ISO 20000 as the standard for service delivery in services procurements.


The ITIL concept emerged in the 1980s, when the British government determined that the level of IT service quality provided to them was not sufficient. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now called the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), was tasked with developing a framework for efficient and financially responsible use of IT resources within the British government and the private sector.     The earliest version of ITIL was actually originally called GITIM, Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management. Obviously this was very different to the current ITIL, but conceptually very similar, focusing around service support and delivery.     Large companies and government agencies in Europe adopted the framework very quickly in the early 1990s. ITIL was spreading far and, and was used in both government and non-government organizations. As it grew in popularity, both in the UK and across the world, IT itself changed and evolved, and so did ITIL.     In year 2000, The CCTA merged into the OGC, Office for Government Commerce and in the same year, Microsoft used ITIL as the basis to develop their proprietary Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF).     In 2001, version 2 of ITIL was released. The Service Support and Service Delivery books were redeveloped into more concise usable volumes. Over the following few years it became, by far, the most widely used IT service management best practice approach in the world.     In 2007 version 3 if ITIL was published. This adopted more of a lifecycle approach to service management, with greater emphasis on IT business integration. Contents of ITIL – Past and Present The Five ITIL Volumes are as follows:     Service Strategy
The Service Strategy book provides a view of ITIL that aligns business and information technology. It specifies that each stage of the service lifecycle must stay focused upon the business case, with defined business goals, requirements and service management principles.     Service Design
The Service Design book provides guidance upon the production/maintenance of information technology policies, architectures, and documents.     Service Transition
The Service Transition book focuses upon change management role and release practices, providing guidance and process activities for the transition of services into the business environment.     Service Operation
This book focuses upon delivery and control process activities based on a selection of service support and service delivery control points.   Continual Service Improvement
This book focuses upon the process elements involved in identifying and introducing service management improvements, as well as issues surrounding service retirement.
ITIL Version 2 The previous version of ITIL focused less on lifecycle, and more on process. It was organized into a series of eight sets, which themselves were divided into two main areas: service support and service delivery.   Service Support comprised those disciplines that enable IT Services to be provided effectively. These are broadly concerned with delivering and supporting IT services that are appropriate to the business requirements of the organization. Service Support is divided into:   1.                  Change Management 2.                  Release Management 3.                  Problem Management 4.                  Incident Management 5.                  Configuration Management 6.                  Service desk   Service Delivery defines 5 key processes to ensure that the information technology area can deliver to the customer appropriate services to support the business functions. These are 1.                  Service level management 2.                  Capacity management 3.                  IT service continuity management 4.                  Financial management for IT Services 5.                  Customer relationship management


The ITIL Certification structure is broadly as follows:

The Foundation Certificate enables people to understand the terminology used within ITIL. It focuses on foundation knowledge with regard to the ITIL Service Support and Service Delivery sets as well as generic ITIL philosophy and background. It is a prerequisite for the Practitioner’s and Manager’s Certificates in IT Service Management.

The Practitioner Certificate focuses upon the understanding and application of the specific processes within the IT Service Management discipline.

The Manager’s Certificate is aimed at experienced professionals, who will be involved in managing service management functions.

INTEGRATION OF ITIL AND CMMI An integration of the most used frameworks ITIL and CMMI is now available: the CMMI for IT Operations (CITIL = CMMI+ITIL). It provides an integrated model which addresses IT Operations and IT Development with a common and consistent approach.   The combination of the CMMI and ITIL models in one single framework supports the improvement of both the development and the operation aspects of IT products and services. Additionally, CITIL explains the interfaces between IT development and IT operations and enables a common understanding of the corresponding activities. In this way, IT development and IT operations teams can improve their performance together.   CITIL = CMMI+ITIL combines best practices and preserves investments by organizations that use ITIL and CMMI today. If you use CITIL = CMMI+ITIL, you use ITIL and gain the additional strengths of CMMI.

ITIL Process data diagram

Table of concepts

Concept Definition
Assessment Assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.
Balanced Scorecard The balanced scorecard (BSC) is a strategic planning and management system used to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organizational performance against strategic goals.
Benchmark report A report that contains a comparison of performance between different organizations or between different units within an organization.
Business case At various stages in the project, the business case should be reviewed to ensure that: The justification is still valid, The project will deliver the solution to the business need.
Communication plan A plan that describes how the IT policy will be explained to the stakeholders and as a result of this, it will create awareness in the organization.
Cultural change The addition, modification or removal of the whole of the ideas, corporate values, beliefs, practices, expectations about behavior and daily customs that are shared by the employees in an organization
Decision document A document which gives an answer on the question ¬タリWhere should I start¬タル and depends on the completeness of the assessments conducted in the previous steps, like determining the maturity level of the organization, service processes and strategic goals.
Gap assessment report Gap analysis naturally flows from benchmarking or other assessments. Once we understand what the general expectation of performance in industry is, we can then compare that with current capabilities, and this becomes the gap analysis.
Goal The state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it.
IT Organizational growth model A model that determines the current maturity of the IT organization in terms of vision and strategy, steering, processes, people, technology and culture.
Measurement framework The active employment of particular sets of measurement recommendations.
Metric Measurable element of a service process or function.
Organizational change Organizational change has two dimensions. The first, OC involves a transformation of organizations between two points in time. The second dimensions concerns the way the transformation occurs.
Organizational structure Responsibilities, authorities and relations organized in such a way as to enable the organization to perform its functions.
Post implementation review One or more reviews held after project closure to determine if the expected benefits have been obtained.
Project management The planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality and performance.
Quick wins plan A plan which describes the quick wins (possible early successes of a project / improvement program) to be made to keep a change effort on track and help keep the energy and commitment levels high.
Risk management The identification, selection and adoption of countermeasures justified by the identified risks to assists in terms of their potential impact upon services if failure occurs, and the reduction of those risks to an acceptable level.
Service improvement A change for better services. Service stands for: one or more IT systems that enable a business process.
SM (service management) vision statement A statement of the desired future state of the organization within the arena of competition defined in the mission, regarding service management.
Stakeholder assessment An assessment which defines and analyses the stakeholders.
Stakeholder goal A goal which is brought in relation with the stakeholder needs.
Strategy A deliberate plan conceived in advance of the making of specific decisions.
Training programs A collection of activities that collectively implement skilled behavior.
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