ITIL (IT Information Library)

Introduction to ITIL

ITIL (IT Information Library) is a framework proposed by the United Kingdom's OGC (Office of Government Commerce) that gathers together in a series of books the best practices in the area of managing IT services. The ITIL library was started in the early 1980s by the British government with the goal of improving the service provided by their IT departments.

The goal of ITIL is to provide the managers of IT systems with the tools and documents that will allow them to improve the quality of their services, i.e. improve client satisfaction while meeting the strategic goals of their organization. To do this, the IT department must be considered to be a series of closely linked processes. Pragmatically, ITIL meets the logic of making IT serve employees and clients rather than the other way around.

IT departments are not the only organizations benefitting from the ITIL approach because this approach consists in making IT departments aware of the fact that the quality and availability of the IT infrastructure has a direct impact on the overall company quality.

The Scope of ITIL

ITIL is divided into nine areas (that correspond to nine books) that cover all of the problems encountered by IT systems managers. The first two (in bold) are considered to be the core of the ITIL method:

  • Service Support
  • Service Delivery
  • Infrastructure Management
  • Applications Management
  • Service Management
  • Business Perspective
  • Business Requirements
  • Technology

Service Support

The Service Support area deals with the operation and support of the IT infrastructure. It is broken down into the following six processes:

Process Goal
Configuration Management Manage the IT infrastructure by taking an inventory of the current infrastructure in order to improve its management and development
Incident Management Improve incident detection; improve incident recovery time depending on their criticality to company operation
Problem Management Improve the management of recurring problems and implement prevention solutions with the goal of reducing or even eliminating their occurrence
Change Management Establish how changes will behave in order to anticipate side effects.
Implementation Management Ensure the proper functioning of the department by setting job requirements
Availability Management Ensure a satisfactory level of availability at a reasonabe cost

Service Delivery

The Service Delivery area is broken down into the following four processes:

Process Goal
Management of Service Levels Maintain a specific service quality level by using periodically renegociated service contracts
Management of Abilities Verify that abilities and performance levels match current and future requirements
Management of IT Services Continuity Define and implement contractual deadlines for recovery after an incident
Financial Management of IT Services Manage the profitability of the means put in place to provide the service

Benefits of the ITIL Approach

Given that the ITIL approach proposes a best practices benchmark, the observed benefits of implementing it are:

  • User (employee and client) satisfaction
  • Clarification of roles
  • Improvement in inter-department communication
  • Monitoring of processes with relevant and measurable indicators that can be used to identify tools to produce savings
  • Improved competitiveness
  • Enhanced security (availability, reliability, integrity)
  • Capitalisation of company data
  • Optimised use of resources
  • Benchmarking tool and positioning tool vis-a-vis the competition
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