Information Technology Infrastructure Library

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a framework that was designed to standardize the IT services in a business, whether that be selection, planning, delivery, maintenance, or the overall lifecycle.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework that describes the best practices for the delivery of IT services.

The history of ITILs

The first ITIL was developed in the 1980s by the Government of the United Kingdom’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA).

When data centers decentralized and then adopted architectures that were more geographically diverse, process and deployment discrepancies caused substandard or inconsistent IT services within organizations.

In response to this problem, the CCTA reimagined IT and understood the importance of establishing consistent practices across the entire IT service lifecycle.

The first version of its ITIL – dubbed the Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management methodology – was printed for distribution in 1989 as a series of 31 books.

Version 2 was released in 2000 where each publication was streamlined by grouping various aspects of IT management.

Microsoft also utilized ITIL around this time to develop its Microsoft Operations Framework. 

Subsequent updates to the ITIL have occurred in 2007, 2011, and 2019. 

Contents of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library 

When ITIL V4 was released in 2019, it was similar to its predecessors with a core focus on process automation, service management improvement, and the integration of IT departments into the broader company. 

But it also made room for modern technology, tools, and software that enable organizations to be more agile and flexible.

To that end, V4 accommodates philosophies such as Agile, DevOps, and Lean and has shifted the core focus from IT Service Management (ITSM) to one of general service management

Key stages of the ITIL

Within the ITIL are five key stages which collectively describe 26 processes. Let’s take a brief look at these stages and a non-exhaustive list of processes below:

  1. Service Strategy – how to design, develop, and implement ITSM. Processes include Strategy Management for IT Services, Service Portfolio Management, and Financial Management for IT Services.
  2. Service Design – how to design services and processes. Example processes include Service Catalogue Management, Availability Management, and Supplier Management.
  3. Service Transition – how to handle a new or changed service and ensure all service management processes balance. Processes include Transition Planning and Support, Change Management, and Service Asset and Configuration Management.
  4. Service Operation – guidance on how to deliver and run services smoothly and reliably. Processes include Access Management, Service Request Fulfillment, and Incident Management.
  5. Continual Service Improvement (CSI) – the fifth key stage clarifies how IT services can be realigned as the needs of the business change. CSI is itself comprised of seven steps that detail how data should be measured, gathered, processed, and analyzed.

ITIL V4 guiding principles

Based on the ITIL Practitioner Exam, the latest version of the ITIL also defines seven guiding principles that cover aspects such as change management, measurement and metrics, and communication. 

Many of these principles are influenced by ideas born in other disciplines such as manufacturing and software development.

The seven principles include:

  1. Start where you are.
  2. Focus on value.
  3. Collaborate and promote visibility.
  4. Keep it simple and practical.
  5. Optimize and automate.
  6. Progress iteratively with feedback, and
  7. Think and work holistically.

Key takeaways:

  • The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework that describes the best practices for the delivery of IT services. 
  • The ITIL has undergone several updates over the years to reflect advances in tech, tools, software, and various business practices and philosophies.
  • Within the ITIL are five key stages which collectively describe 26 processes. The five stages are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.

Key Highlights

  • Introduction to ITIL:
    • ITIL is a framework designed to standardize IT services within businesses, covering aspects like selection, planning, delivery, maintenance, and the entire lifecycle of IT services.
    • ITIL describes best practices for delivering IT services and has gone through several updates over the years to reflect technological advancements and evolving business practices.
  • History of ITIL:
    • The first version of ITIL was developed in the 1980s by the UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA).
    • ITIL emerged as a response to the challenges posed by decentralized data centers and geographically diverse architectures that led to inconsistent IT services.
    • The initial version, known as the Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management methodology, was published in 1989 as a series of 31 books.
    • Subsequent updates to ITIL were released in 2000 (Version 2), and further updates followed in 2007, 2011, and 2019.
  • Contents of ITIL:
    • ITIL V4, released in 2019, retains its core focus on process automation, service management improvement, and integration of IT departments into the broader company.
    • ITIL V4 accommodates modern philosophies such as Agile, DevOps, and Lean, shifting the focus from IT Service Management (ITSM) to general service management.
    • ITIL V4 introduces five key stages with 26 processes collectively:
      • Service Strategy
      • Service Design
      • Service Transition
      • Service Operation
      • Continual Service Improvement
  • ITIL V4 Guiding Principles:
    • ITIL V4 defines seven guiding principles that cover areas like change management, measurement, communication, and more.
    • These principles draw inspiration from various disciplines like manufacturing and software development.
    • The seven guiding principles are:
      • Start where you are.
      • Focus on value.
      • Collaborate and promote visibility.
      • Keep it simple and practical.
      • Optimize and automate.
      • Progress iteratively with feedback.
      • Think and work holistically.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • ITIL is a framework for best practices in delivering IT services.
    • ITIL has evolved over time to incorporate advancements in technology, tools, software, and business practices.
    • ITIL V4 introduces five key stages and 26 processes, focusing on service strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual service improvement.
    • ITIL V4 also includes seven guiding principles to help organizations effectively manage their IT services.

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