What is ITIL?
ITIL is an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. ITIL currently consists of five volumes describing a framework of best practices for delivering IT services. Each volume covers various stages and processes of the IT service lifecycle.
The systematic approach that discussed in ITIL is used to help businesses establish cost-effective practices, manage risk, build customer relations, and ensure a stable IT environment that enables growth, scale, and change.
The Evolution of ITIL
The ITIL standard has evolved through the years to address changing IT environments.
- 1989: ITIL is introduced to standardize IT service management (ITSM);
- 2001: V2 provided is more uniform and structured for increased service support and delivery;
- 2007: V3 introduced a feedback loop to improve the ITIL life cycle. The guidelines for ITIL we’re updated to cover service strategy, design, transition and operation with continual service improvement baked in;
- 2011: The next iteration expands upon and clarifies processes from V3 and focuses on strategy; and
- 2019-2020: ITIL 4 emerges and draws connections between DevOps, and delves into what IT leadership and IT value means in the 21st
Why is ITIL important?
ITIL is a set of best practices that can help business align their IT processes with their organization and customer needs. ITIL is important in providing a standardized approach in which its framework helps improve the quality of operations and service management for organizations.
What are the five stages of ITIL?
ITIL uses a systematic approach to help improve the IT environment of your business. There are 5 stages of IT lifecycle in which the ITIL provides guidelines to effectively manage the various processes:
- Service Strategy: Aligns the IT organization with the business needs. Service strategy creates a basic ITSM foundation that provides an outline for the other stages. Once the business assesses the customers’ needs, the business can then define what services should be offered by the IT organization. Within this stage, there are five processes that are used to develop a service strategy:
- Strategy Management for IT services;
- Service Portfolio Management;
- Financial Management for IT services;
- Demand Management; and
- Business Relationship Management.
- Service Design: After a strategy has been developed, the service design stage plan and design new IT services. This stage focuses on creating new services or modifying current ones to align with the needs of the new strategy. The processes covered in this stage are:
- Design Coordination;
- Capacity Management;
- Service Level Management;
- Compliance Management; and
- Risk Management.
- Service Transition: Once the service has been designed, the service transition stage is where it will be tested and built. This stage implements the new changes and ensures effectiveness for modifications into the IT infrastructure. The processes covered in this stage are:
- Change Management;
- Application Development;
- Project Management;
- Release and Deployment Management;
- Asset and Configuration Management; and
- Knowledge Management.
- Service Operation: Places the new developments to the service in the live environment. In this stage, the organization monitors the service delivery to prepare for any issues. There are both processes and functions in this stage:
- Incident Management;
- Request Fulfillment;
- Event Management;
- Access Management;
- Technical Management;
- IT Operations Management; and
- Application Management.
- Continual Service Improvement: The final stage in the ITIL process that reviews the changes. In this stage, the organization continuously reviews the changes to search for and analyze any areas of improvement. The processes in this stage are:
- Service Review;
- Process Evaluation; and
- Monitoring CSI Initiatives.
What are the components of ITIL?
For ITIL to work properly, there are key components in the five stages that build the foundation of the practice for reliable service management. Examples of components of an ITIL-based IT service desk include:
- Incident management: addresses and solves problems that arise such as resetting passwords.
- Problem management: focuses on issues with an underlying cause, helps IT address and initiate a plan to resolve the issues
- Change management: organizes and design a framework that eliminates risks associated with changing an IT configuration
- Ticketing: systemizes and prioritizes the issues based on importance and urgency.
- Service request management: manages the tickets to ensure the responsibility to resolve the issue falls to the right team
What is ITIL used for?
The four core functions of ITIL help guide the service strategy for an organization. The 4 functions also each have a different application that can help outline the service plan:
- Perspective: Identify the plan envisioned for service improvement.
- Plan: Outline and create a plan to execute the goals for the service.
- Position: compare your plan with the competition for better market placement.
- Pattern: Defines what your organization will follow for continuous check-ins to ensure everything is working properly.
What are ITIL principles?
ITIL has guiding principles that outline the core values throughout the process. The ITIL principles support the decisions for all the levels in the process. ITIL has seven primary guiding principles:
- Focus on value.
- Start where you are.
- Progress iteratively with feedback.
- Collaborate and promote visibility.
- Think and work holistically.
- Keep it simple and practical.
- Optimize and automate.
What are the benefits of ITIL?
The ITIL framework helps organizations optimize and grow their IT service management (ITSM). An organization can adopt the strategies from ITIL methodologies to show benefits such as:
- Reduction in IT operation costs;
- Improved IT productivity;
- Better alignment between IT and the business;
- Improved service delivery to strengthen customer relationships; and
- Strengthen management of risks and disruptions.