ITIL Service Management

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) provides a comprehensive and consistent set of good practices for IT service management, promoting a quality approach to achieving business effectiveness and efficiency in the use of information systems. The foundation for IT Service Management (ITSM) is a set of management processes that provide guidance and best practices on managing assets, bugs, changes, disasters, efficiency, and finances.

ITIL V3 focuses on the service lifecycle, which consists of five phases:

  • Service Strategy;
  • Service Design;
  • Service Transition;
  • Service Operation;
  • Continual Service Improvement.

1. Service Strategy understands organisational objectives and customer needs.

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  • The origin point of the ITIL Service Lifecycle provides guidance on clarification and prioritisation of service-provider investments in services. The covered processes include:Strategy management for IT Services.
  • Service portfolio management. The service portfolio comprises: the pipeline section, the service catalogue section, and the retired section.
  • Financial management for IT services, ensuring that the IT infrastructure is obtained at the most effective price and calculating the cost of providing IT services.
  • Demand management.
  • Business relationship management.

2. Service Design turns the service strategy into a plan for delivering the business objectives.

IT provides good-practice guidance on the design of IT services and processes. The covered processes include:

  • Design coordination.
  • Service catalogue management maintains and produces the service catalogue and ensures that it contains accurate details, dependencies and interfaces of all services made available to customers.
  • Service-level management provides for continual identification, monitoring and review of the levels of IT services specified in the service-level agreements (SLAs). IT ensures that arrangements are in place with internal IT support-providers and external suppliers in the form of operational level agreements (OLAs) and underpinning contracts (UCs).
  • Availability management allows organisations to sustain IT service-availability in order to support the business at a justifiable cost.
  • Capacity management supports the optimum and cost-effective provision of IT services by helping organisations match their IT resources to business demands.
  • IT service continuity management covers the processes by which plans are put in place and managed to ensure that IT services can recover and continue even after a serious incident occurs (see BCP).
  • Security management describes the structured fitting of information security in the management organisation, based on the ISO 2700x code of practice for an Information Security Management System (ISMS).
  • The purpose of supplier management is to obtain value for money from suppliers and contracts.

3. Service Transition develops and improves capabilities for introducing new services into supported environments, and it relates to the delivery of services required by a business into live/operational use.

The covered processes include:

  • Transition planning and support.
  • Change management aims to ensure that standardised methods and procedures are used for efficient handling of all changes.
  • Service asset and configuration management is primarily focused on maintaining configuration information about assets required to deliver an IT service, including their relationships.
  • Release and deployment management ensures platform-independent and automated distribution of software and hardware, including licence controls across the entire IT infrastructure.
  • Service validation and testing’s goal is to make sure the delivery of activities adds value that is agreed and expected.
  • Change evaluation aims to assess major changes.
  • Knowledge management aims to gather, analyse, store and share knowledge and information within an organisation.

4. Service Operation aims to provide best practice for achieving the delivery of agreed levels of services both to end-users and the customers.

The covered processes include:

  • Event Management. An event may indicate that something is not functioning correctly, leading to an incident being logged.
  • Access Management focuses on granting authorised users the right to use a service, while preventing access to non-authorised users. Certain identity management processes execute policies defined in Security Management.
  • Request Fulfilment focuses on fulfilling Service Requests, which are standard changes (e.g. requests to change a password) or requests for information.
  • Incident Management aims to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimise the adverse effect on business operations.
  • Problem Management aims to resolve the root causes of incidents and thus to minimise the adverse impact of incidents caused by errors within the IT infrastructure, and to prevent recurrence of incidents.

The service desk’s tasks include handling incidents and requests, and providing an interface for other ITSM processes with the business customers.

5. Continual Service Improvement

Continual Service Improvement achieves incremental and large-scale improvements, built around the Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act.

Additional information

Video presentation on ITIL 4, the latest version of the IT service management framework

Related trainings

  • ITIL Service management


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