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Monday, December 19, 2011

The ITIL Framework

ITIL is not a standard in the formal sense but a framework which is a source of good practice in Service Management. Just because you follow ITIL doesn’t mean that your service will be of top quality. It is just a guideline or a framework that can increase the quality of your service and the chances of success. There is no guaranteed success if you implement ITIL.

The requirements focus on what must be achieved rather than how that is done. ITIL provides guidance about how different aspects of the solution can be developed.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), with the cooperation of the independent user group itSMF (the IT Service Management Forum), have publicly committed to keeping the standard and the framework as aligned as possible. However, it has to be accepted that they serve different purposes and have their own development lifecycles so it is unlikely that they will ever be completely synchronized.

The ITIL Library has the following two components:
The ITIL Core: Publications describing generic best practice that is applicable to all types of organization that provide services to a business.
ITIL Complementary Guidance: A set of publications with guidance specific to industry sectors, organization types, operating models and technology architectures.

The objective of the ITIL Service Management framework is to provide guidance applicable to all types of organizations that provide IT services to businesses, irrespective of their size, complexity, or whether they are commercial service providers or internal divisions of a business.

ITIL-based solutions have been deployed successfully around the world for over 20 years. Over this time, the framework has evolved considerably. The original publications, of which there were over 40, tended to be single topic and function-based. The next iteration reduced the number of books considerably, taking a process-based view and concatenating topics together to reinforce the integrated nature of service management solutions. The latest iteration (commonly referred to as v3) now provides a broader, holistic approach to the Service Lifecycle.

The generic nature of ITIL has both strengths and weaknesses. Since it is generic, it truly can be applied to any organization of any size in any market sector and regardless of whether the service provider is internal to the business or a commercial enterprise. However, organizations have to adopt and adapt the guidance that it contains to their specific requirements, which in some cases requires considerable effort and commitment.

Unfortunately, much of the focus in learning programmes is on the specifics of terminology and process definitions included within the ITIL volumes, which means that individuals aren’t always equipped to make the necessary decisions about how to implement key processes and functions.

Organizations should not be seeking to ‘implement ITIL’, but to implement a service management solution based on ITIL that meets the needs of the organization.

Implementing ITIL in your organization improves the quality of the service, provided it is done the right way. Considerable effort is required to successfully implement ITIL

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Next: The ITIL Core

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