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ITIL® and Its Origins

While only on its third version, the IT Infrastructure Library® (ITIL®) has been around for over 20 years. Over that span, it has become the most widely adopted IT Service Management (ITSM) framework worldwide. In brief, ITIL is considered a practical approach to determine, prepare, present and support IT services.

The birth of the IT Infrastructure Library began as early as the 1980s, when computing technology evolved from mainframe, centralized IT organizations to distributed systems and strategically dispersed global resources. Despite being more flexible, distributed technology had a critical drawback for organizations: support.

The UK’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC) distinguished how orderly, logical, aesthetical practices  for a Service Lifecycle can help drive organizational efficiency as well as predict service levels, and thus ITIL came into being. Since then, ITIL has turned into a proficient tool for a more consistent, effective, and superior management of IT services.

Since ITIL is a practical approach to IT Service Management, the concept of service must be discussed. A service is anything that provides value to customers. Services customers use or consume directly are called “business” services. One example of a business service across all industries is Payroll.  Several “infrastructure” services support Payroll as part of a business. An infrastructure or technology service works in the background. While it interacts indirectly with the business, technology services are critical to the overall value chain of the business service. For example, the successful delivery of the Payroll business service requires technology services such as Server Administration, Database Administration, and Storage Administration.

While conventional IT focused on the management of technology and infrastructure services, ITSM guidance in ITIL proposes a holistic strategy to the management of services.  Business Service Management, together with its fundamentals, ensures a thorough look at every aspect of a service to crosscheck the delivery of required functionalities and service levels to business customers.

ITIL usually manages information technology by linking up with other good practices such as:

  • Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) – an IT Governance and Controls framework
  • ISO 27000 – an IT Security Management Systems (ISMS) standard
  • Six Sigma – a business management strategy
  • The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) – an IT architecture framework

To learn more about ITIL, contact Ashford Global IT today!

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