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Understanding The Five Stages Of ITIL® Helps To Digest Its Concepts

ITIL Five StagesITIL® is no small matter. With 30-plus processes and over 120 sub-processes; training, customization and implementation can be a real challenge. Each sub-process requires customized and measurable procedures as well as culture changes.

It’s a daunting project and one which can be difficult to grasp. Fortunately, ITIL is organized into five intuitive stages that lend themselves to training and implementation strategies.

Get Your High-Level Overview

Read on for an overview of ITIL’s five stages.

1. Service Strategy (SS)

At the heart of ITIL implementation is the understanding that IT exists to support business requirements and that resource investment should favor those IT services that are key to business operations and success.

Stage 1, Service Strategy, is the essential research and definition phase. In it, the IT department defines its portfolio of services and works with the business to prioritize them.

Application owners, budgets, and performance parameters are defined. This information is critical for the following step.

2. Service Design (SD)

Once the importance and availability of services are known, each can be processed in the design phase. This phase seeks to ensure that the proper supporting services are in place for each application, that the application has proper controls and audit trails, and that sufficient computing resources are dedicated to that application to ensure it runs in accordance with business needs.

There are eleven separate processes and over forty sub processes in the Design stage. It may seem like a lot of effort is put into design over execution, but a complete understanding of the requirements means development and implementation are done swiftly and correctly.

Service Design embodies the old carpenter’s principle: measure twice, cut once.

3. Service Transition (ST)

IT departments typically manage a large portfolio of widely varied applications. The eight phases of Service Transition are in place to ensure that services are properly developed, tested, monitored, and scheduled into production in a manner to minimize the risk of disruption to the changed service as well as to all the other services in flux.

Encompassing project management, application development, configuration control, quality assurance testing, and the change management office, it is the gating phase from design to successful implementation.

4. Service Operation (SO)

The work doesn’t end when a service goes live. The Service Operation stage is where IT Operations and Service Desk departments focus their efforts. They ensure that applications and infrastructure are monitored and problems corrected, proactively if possible.

Problems are recorded, categorized, and routed to support. But in a mature IT department, this phase is more than reactionary. It is also where problems are analyzed in a big-picture way to ensure that root cause issues are located and service support can be improved. It is also where the critical business-facing availability reports are generated.

5. Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

This is a meta-phase that encompasses all the others. Comprised of six steps, CSI is an ongoing effort to review the success of the ITIL implementation and evaluate its processes, define improvement initiatives, and monitor them for success.

It allows for a gradual implementation of all other ITIL processes by ensuring that the most important processes are implemented first, then improved and refined as new processes come on board.

Setting Up a Manageable Process

As with any large project, ITIL can seem overwhelming. By breaking it down into manageable concepts, then into manageable processes, the ITIL five-stage road map helps IT organizations focus their efforts in the right place at the right time.

Ashford Global IT, AGIT, is a leading provider of ITIL training. Contact them today to discover the training options available for you.

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Frank is a leading trainer in IT Security.

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