ITIL is the Information Technology Infrastructure Library. Basically, ITIL is a set of best practices for managing IT services. It was originally a scheme for IT managers in the public sector of the UK to share ways of working and has become more formalised through successive versions. In Version 2, it consisted of two main books which covered processes such as incident, problem, change and configuration management. In Version 3, a lifecycle approach was adopted, and the number of books expanded to five:
ITIL 4 has recently been released, which is designed to allow for the adoption of new ways of working, such as Agile, Lean and DevOps. However, ITIL 3 is still very much alive, and there are many organizations out there who are still working to the principles of ITIL 2.
Nowadays, ITIL is managed by an organization called Axelos, which is part owned by the UK government.
The main audience for ITIL is IT service providers, whether they be in-house IT departments or external IT companies or agencies. It is often the case that organizations pick and choose which aspects of ITIL they want to implement; it’s not an all or nothing deal. The most common parts are the basic processes such as incident, access and change management, which have been around since the early days, but the level of ITIL maturity in organizations is steadily increasing over time.
ITIL is essentially about providing better IT services that give the users what they want and need at an appropriate cost. The proactive introduction of defined approaches and processes make the services provided more stable and help to avoid the need for constant firefighting in support.
ITIL is not a standard that an organization can be certified to. To address this need, an ISO standard called ISO/IEC 20000 was introduced. This covers much of the same ground as ITIL and does have a certification scheme. Effectively, ISO20000 represents a “wide and thin” approach to implementing ITIL and is written by many of the same people.
Our ITIL® Service Operation and Service Transition Toolkits provides full process and policy document templates. As an Axelos-licensed product, the CertiKit toolkit means you can spend time implementing the processes rather than writing documents and achieve process maturity quicker and more effectively.