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What is ITIL? – A Process Framework

By Michael Jones

 

 

 

ITIL – A Process Framework

 

ITIL provides a framework at the process level – a how to guide – to enable IT to meet its objectives and therefore enabling the business to meet their customers expectations.  Version 3 offers a lifecycle, phased approach, complete with a continual process improvement wrapper. 

 

In recent years, IT Management has been barraged by more acronyms than ever and many of them are used to tell us how to do our jobs.  The Information Technology Infrastructure Library or ITIL is one case in point.  IT has been in a compliance frenzy since the dot-com bust.  Sarbanes-Oxley compliance has put the spotlight on the ISACA / ITGI CoBIT (Control Objectives for Information and related Technology) framework.  Of course, CoBIT essentially is an IT-specific framework  with roots going back to COSO (The Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the Treadway Commission) which provided an internal control framework for corporate governance.  Now, with the release of Version 3, ITIL is getting a renewed level of press.  What next?

 

In 2005, ITGI published a very helpful document entitled “Aligning COBIT, ITIL and ISO 17799 for Business Benefit”.  The document points out that CoBIT is a framework for control and management, not for the IT processes themselves.  Therefore, CoBIT provides a framework for what IT management needs to do, not how to do it.  This is where ITIL, a process framework, comes into play.  ITIL is also very focused on Service Management as opposed to some of the other IT areas such as software development.  ITIL is providing a best-practices approach to helping the IT Management team define robust, repeatable and measurable processes to deliver services to their internal and external customers.

 

ITIL actually pre-dates CoBIT, having first been published in 1989.  Version 2 was released in 2000 and revised in 2004, and Version 3 came out it 2007.  The first incarnation of ITIL truly was a library – of 31 books.  Now, at a mere 5 books, the material is at least more easily transported (in fact, you can now get the complete library in soft copy form).  The other major change moving to Version 3 is that ITIL has taken on a lifecycle, phased approach, complete with a continual process improvement wrapper.  The Version 3 processes are expanded and refined from Version 2 and several IT functions are added as well.  The books are now Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.  This logical approach to IT Service Management (ITSM) can help an IT group define a more customer-driven, measurable, repeatable and accountable set of best-practice based processes.  All of this is then put into the context of continuous improvement.

 

Already deluged with acronyms, frameworks and guidelines, IT is trying to enable the business to carry out its mission and goals.  ITIL provides a framework at the process level – a how to guide – to enable IT to meet its objectives and therefore enabling the business to meet their customers expectations.

 

        

 

 

 


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