The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and techniques for managing information technology (IT) infrastructure, development, and operations. ITIL® is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL provides a cohesive set of best practice, drawn from the public and private sectors internationally. A whole ITIL philosophy has evolved from the guidance contained within the ITIL books and the ITIL professional qualification scheme.
ITIL consists of a series of books giving guidance on the provision of quality IT services, and on the accommodation and environmental facilities needed to support IT. ITIL has been developed in recognition of organizations’ growing dependency on IT and embodies best practices for IT Service Management.
Benefits of ITIL: By providing a systematic approach to the management of IT service, ITIL can help an enterprise in the following ways:
- reduced costs
- improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes
- improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service delivery
- standards and guidance
- improved productivity
- improved use of skills and experience
- 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 certifications are among the most sought after in the IT industry. Several of the ITIL Certifications typically make it to the list of the highest paying technical certifications. ITIL certifications are managed by the ITIL Certification Management Board (ICMB) which is composed of the OGC, IT Service Management Forum International and two examinations institutes: EXIN (based in the Netherlands) and ISEB (based in the UK).The EXIN and ISEB administer exams and award qualifications at Foundation, Practitioner and Manager/Masters level currently in ‘ITIL Service Management’, ‘ITIL Application Management’ and ‘ICT Infrastructure Management’ respectively.
The Five ITIL Volumes
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 on the 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 on delivery and control process activities based on a selection of service support and service delivery control points.
- Continual Service Improvement: This book focuses on 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. ITIL V2 was divided into two main areas: service support and service delivery.
Service Support answers the concern How does the data center ensure that the customer has access to the appropriate services? It includes disciplines that enable IT Services to be provided effectively. Service Support is divided into the following areas:
- Change Management
- Release Management
- Problem Management
- Incident Management
- Configuration Management
Service Delivery is the management of the IT services themselves, and involves a number of management practices to ensure that IT services are provided as agreed between the Service Provider and the Customer. Essentially, service providers need to offer business users adequate support. Service Delivery covers those issues which must be taken into consideration to ensure this. Service Delivery is divided into:
- IT Financial Management
- IT Continuity Management
- Capacity Management
- Availability Management
- Service Level Management
- Service Desk
Each version of ITIL has three corresponding certification programs. They are:
- 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 on 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.
ITIL Exams are coordinated through two agencies, the EXIN and the ISEB.
EXIN is the Examination Institute for Information Science in the Netherlands. They are a global IT examination provider and an independent organization establishing educational requirements, for developing and organizing examinations in the field of Information Technology.
EXIN has been involved in the ITIL Certification area since ITIL’s inception in the early 1990’s and is now one of the agencies involved in ITIL’s continued development.
The ISEB is the Information Systems Examination Board. They are aligned with the British Computer Society and focus on providing certifications that add value to professional careers by providing both the means and the platform for recognition and enhanced career development.