IT Management Fundamentals
What is ITIL?
Developed in the late 1980s, the Information Technologies Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become the de facto global standard for information technology systems management. Having begun life as a guide for the UK government, the underlying structure has proven itself useful for organisations in all sectors and it has been adopted by countless companies as the basis for consulting, education and software tool support. Today, ITIL is known and used worldwide. It belongs to the OGC, but it is free to use.
ITIL was developed in response to a recognition that organisations are increasingly dependent on IT to achieve their corporate goals. This increasing dependence has resulted in a growing need for quality IT services meeting business goals and fulfilling customer requirements and expectations. As time has gone by, the emphasis has shifted from developing IT applications to managing IT services. IT applications (or information systems) only contribute to achieving corporate goals if the system is available to users, and in the case of faults or necessary modifications, it is supported by maintenance and operations processes.
Over the course of the IT product cycle, the operations phase accounts for close to 70-80% of the total time and cost, with the remainder being invested in developing or buying the product. Thus, effective and efficient IT services management processes are essential to the success of IT departments. This is applicable to any type of organisation, whether large or small, public or private, regardless of whether its IT services are centralised or decentralised, provided in-house or outsourced to a third party. Whatever the case, the service has to be reliable, consistent, high quality and cost effective.
ITIL was originally produced in the late 1980s and consisted of 10 core books covering the two main areas: service support and service delivery. These core books were later backed up by a further 30 complementary volumes covering a wide variety of topics, ranging from laying cabling to managing business continuity. A revision of the library was begun in 2000. During this revision ITIL has been restructured to make it simpler to access the information necessary to administer its services. The central books have been grouped into two volumes, covering the service support and service delivery areas, in order to eliminate duplication and make the content easier to navigate. The material has also been revised and updated to give it a clear and concise focus.