What is ITIL?

March 15th, 2007
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The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a series of eight books and is referred to as the only consistent and comprehensive best practice for IT service management to deliver high-quality IT services. Although produced and published by a single governmental body, ITIL is not a standard and is generally referred to as a framework.  There is a lot of work involved in tailoring an implementation to any organization. The published books (subject to change my mid-2007) are:

  • Software Asset Management
  • Service Support
  • Service Delivery
  • Planning to Implement Service Management
  • ICT Infrastructure Management
  • Application Management
  • Security Management
  • Business Perspective, Volume II

There are two main operational components or logical groupings within ITIL, with Security Management completing the underpinning for both groups are:

  • Service Support (activities that are more or less performed daily)
  • Service Delivery (activities that tend to take place monthly or quarterly, but at a minimum annually)

ITIL Process Overview

 ITIL Process Overview

BUSINESS DRIVERS FOR IMPLEMENTING

ITIL is usually implemented subject to one or more of the following business cases:

  • Defining of service processes within the IT organization
  • Defining and improving the quality of services
  • Need to focus on the customer of the IT
  • Implementation of a central help desk function

There are several methods in approaching an implementation of ITIL and having done several operations assessments, I can attest that the two main building blocks that have to be solid are Configuration Management and Change Management.  Both gear their activities off a Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB).  If the CMDB does not exist or if Change Management is a haphazard process, then the other processes within ITIL tend to fail on a regular basis.  Recently more and more vendors are creating products geared specifically towards CMDB (e.g., HP, CA, BMC, etc.) that address a method to collect all of the configuration specifics of your environment.  If you don’t know what you have, it will be problematic when implementing any change, but you can never been certain of the effect of the change.Two principal concepts characterize the basic thinking of ITIL:

  • Service management—IT service managers:
    • Assure the consideration of requirements for operations and maintenance
    • Develop test plans
    • Identify the effects on existing infrastructure caused by new or modified systems
    • Define future requirements
  • Customer orientation—IT services are to be provided at a level of quality that allows permanent reliance on them. To assure this quality, responsibility is assigned to individuals who:
    • Consult the users and help them use the services in an optimal approach
    • Collect and forward opinions and recommendations of users
    • Track complaints
    • Monitor the users’ appraisals of the services delivered
    • Support internal user groups
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