ITIL® stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is vendor independent. It was developed in the 1980’s within the British government to provide efficient and cost-effective use of IT resources.
It is mistakenly called a standard or methodology. It is a framework that organizations can adapt to provide IT services to the organization.It is called a library because it is a compilation of 8 books that discuss best practices used to implement the framework for delivering IT services. These publications are divided into 8 books:
- Business Perspective
- Service Support
- Service Delivery
- Planning to implement Service Management
- ICT Infrastructure Management
- Security Management
- Application Management
- Software Asset Management
ITIL is concerned with processes rather than resources to deliver quality IT services. It defines different processes needed to deliver quality IT services.
Why a focus on processes
Resources change because it depends on technology. Processes are less volatile. Example of this is cutting wood. Centuries ago, cutting wood is done manually. Now, you have electric saws that do the work. Whatever the technology used, the process is still the same – running a metal with teeth on a piece of wood.
ITIL benefits customers because it focuses more on the customer. IT services are – focused on corporate objectives. Services and documentation are presented in terms that customers can easily understand. Customers also have a single point of contact to the IT organization.
Aside from benefiting the customers, ITIL also provides the IT organization some benefits. The IT organization has a framework to base its structure. Clearer structure means more efficient and effective organization. Controls are defined so these are easier to manage.
Lastly, in an ITIL environment, everyone uses the same language.
ITIL also has some challenges to hurdle. Implementing ITIL requires a change in corporate culture. There will be a tendency to make the processes as the ends rather than the means. Since implementation may take a while, improvements may not be readily visible. It requires commitment from all levels and lastly, it needs investment in tools.
Organizations involved in ITIL
The prime mover for ITIL is the Office of Government Commerce (OCG) of the UK government. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) originated ITIL. It is currently consolidated to the OCG.
IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) is a non-profit organization. It aims to promote current IT service management expertise and practices. It is the only internationally recognized user group for IT service Management.
EXIN and ISEB jointly developed a professional certification system for ITIL. EXIN is a Dutch foundation while ISEB is the UK Information Systems Exam Board.
There are three levels of certification:
Foundation Certificate is for those who have to be aware of the major tasks in the IT organization and relationship between them
Practitioner Certificate is for those who are directly involved in a specific process. The exam requires passing the Foundation Certificate and 3 years of experience in the process.
Manager Certificate is for IT service managers. The exam requires passing the Foundation Certificate and a several years of experience in managing IT Services.