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ITIL - the Information Technology Infrastructure Library

Developed in the late 1980's, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become the worldwide de facto standard in service management. Starting as a guide for UK Government, the framework has proved to be useful to organisations in all sectors through its adoption by many service management companies as the basis for consulting, education and software tools support.

The IT Infrastructure Library documents industry best practice guidance. It has proved its value from the very beginning. Initially, the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) collected information on how various organisations addressed Service Management, analysed this and filtered those issues that would prove useful to CCTA and to its Customers in UK Central Government. Other organisations found that the guidance was generally applicable and markets outside of Government were very soon targeted by the service industry.

Being a framework, ITIL describes the contours of organising Service Management. The models show the goals, general activities, inputs and outputs of the various processes, which can be incorporated within IT organisations. ITIL focuses on best practice that can be utilised in different ways according to the need.

Thanks to this framework of proven best practices, the IT Infrastructure Library can be used within organisations with existing methods and activities in Service Management. By emphasising the relationships between the processes, any lack of communication and co-operation between various IT functions can be eliminated or minimised.

ITIL provides a proven method for planning common processes, roles and activities with appropriate reference to each other and how the communication lines should exist between them.

Generic benefits include:

  • Improved quality service provision;
  • Cost justifiable service quality;
  • Services that meet Business, Customer and User demands;
  • Integrated centralised processes;
  • Individual roles and responsibilities in service provision;
  • Learning from previous experience;
  • Demonstrable performance indicators.

Integrated service delivery refers to the need for Configuration Management, Change Management, Incident Management, Problem Management and Release Management processes that are linked together in a meaningful manner. For example, the process of releasing components to the live environment (the domain of Release Management) is also an issue for Configuration Management and Change Management whilst the Service Desk is primarily responsible for liaison between IT providers and the Users of services. This section highlights the links and the principal relationships between all the Service Management and other infrastructure management processes.

These processes fall under the Operational and Tactical Layer as given in the table. They are as follows:

Operational Layer

Tactical Layer