What is ITIL? Why is it important for a company to implement it?
In a nutshell, ITIL, also known as IT Information Library, is a library consisting of five volumes, with each volume covering a different area of IT process management. Each of these books has almost 300 pages of best practices, procedures and studies.
ITIL is a framework to allow an organization’s IT department to manage the menu of items that it offers to their customers; both internal and external, by following the best practices from each ITIL topic. I will cover each of these topics separately in my future articles, so come back later to learn more about them.
For now, let’s look at the image below. What we see here is a Service Lifecycle
The Service Lifecycle includes five different areas. Starting in the middle, we have “Service Strategy," moving on to the outside of the diagram; “Service Design,” "Service Transition” and “Service Operation.” Finally, on the outer ring, there is a lonely “Continual Service Improvement.” These five areas are the basis of IT Information Library (ITIL). Each part of the lifecycle exerts influence on the other and relies on the other for inputs and feedback. A consistent set of checks and balances throughout this Service Lifecycle ensures that as business demand changes with business need, the services can adapt and respond effectively to them.
Let’s look at what each of these volumes provides us with. Keep in mind that each organization could be in a different phase of the process. Company ABC could be creating new service offerings for their clients, while Company XYZ could already have a service portfolio created and now they are providing reliable services to their clients (Service Operations).
Service Strategy is the first of five pillars of ITIL Lifecycle and probably the most important one to start with when implementing ITIL in an organization. It should be done early in the process of creating new services. If you are putting together business plan, retirement plan or any plan, you must have strategy. This is where we define things such as; service definitions, potential customers, how value is created and delivered, opportunities to improve existing services – or add new services. This is where we think WHY before we waste resources on the HOW. This ITIL volume helps us with the WHY.
With all of our WHY questions hopefully answered (not hopefully – they SHOULD all be answered) we are now ready to start designing our services. This is where we will see eight processes:
- Service Level Management
- Design Coordination
- Service Catalog Management
- Availability Management
- IT Service Continuity Management
- Capacity Management
- Information Security Management
- Supplier Management
The entire design process, will come from the previous service strategy. The complexity of the design, a different challenge we will face in the design, can depend upon a lot of factors. It can depend upon corporate culture, type of business sector, the size of the network infrastructure and the maturity of the organization.
Service Transition is a critical phase in between Service Design and Service Operations. Not only is it important for our ongoing deployments of IT services, but it also allows us to be able to have reusable and modular implementation abilities of new services.
Service Design consist of five processes:
- Transition Planning and Support
- Knowledge Management
- Service Asset and Configuration Management
- Change Management
- Release and Deployment Management
We need an efficient and quick method of transition into Service Operations, especially when we have a solid Service Strategy and Service Design methodology.
Everything so far has led us to this point. This is the area where we organize, deliver, and manage services according to agreed levels. All while meeting expectations of the business, customers, users and stakeholders. This is where we manage the ongoing technology that is used to deliver and support the services. Service Operations represents critical ongoing operations and daily functions to help meet target objectives. The most important of all – it is visible to our clients, both internal and external. ITIL Service Operations volume helps us accomplish exactly that.
Continual Service Improvement
We strategized, designed, and connected our Service Operations through Service Transition. Now it is time to continue providing our stakeholders with excellent services. As the name implies, Continual Service Improvement provides us with processes and best practices on how to accomplish that. Here, we bring everything together and are shooting for perfection.
It must be measurable. We can think of it as:
- Constant Reviews
- Ongoing Audits
- Periodic Assessments
- Satisfaction Surveys
- Reviewing Trends
- Recognizing Changing Priorities
- Observing the Competition
- Conducting Service Reviews
What is the vision or mission? Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How do we get here? Did we arrive? How do we persist and maintain our momentum?
All of the five volumes in ITIL library, provide us with an excellent framework for exceptional design, valuable and consistent services for our clients. It is very beneficial for any organization to implement ITIL framework in their environment.
Check back for a continuation of this blog series.