As information technology systems continue to grow and require interoperability with other systems and technologies, the need for a resilient methodology to architect the systems then provide ongoing support and enhancements for those systems.

Businesses need assurance from IT that the mission critical systems responsible for keeping the business running will be able to sustain growth, reduce risk of failure and have reliable functionality while keeping up with newer technologies.

There have been several attempts from various IT organizations and associations to establish a proven framework that accomplishes these tasks.  Thankfully, ITIL can fulfill this need and has a proven track record of success.

ITIL was first authorized as a framework in the late 1980’s by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency in the United Kingdom and used with some success by IBM Corporation.  In the mid 1990’s the US was introduced to ITIL through the Information Technology Service Management Institute (ITSMI).  Since then companies such as NASA, Disney, HSBC Bank, and many others have implemented ITIL and adhere to its methodology and framework.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is made up of several different modules and was originally published as books.  Each of these modules build upon the framework to give IT organizations the detailed requirements and direction needed to build or improve an application.  ITIL’s modules also provide businesses with the means to properly communicate the requirements needed to the IT groups.

The primary library sets for ITIL include:

Service Support – what is the business expectation regarding support for the product?  What elements will be used to support the application as far as database, inputs, outputs, and basic functions?  Will the users have adequate capabilities to utilize the services?

Service Delivery – what are the business expectations on how the products will be deployed and maintained?  Long term, what are the capacity requirements?  What is the expected lifecycle of this product?  How many users will need to use the products?

Security Management – what types of clearance is required to access the product?  What tools should be used to mitigate risk?

Application Management – what level of quality and data integrity is expected from the product?  What processes are in place to meet the quality and integrity expectations?

Infrastructure Management – How will the product be designed, installed, and operated?  This could include server specifications and network specifications.

Asset Management – If this software is viewed as an asset, how should it be managed?  Should there be licenses sold?

While there are other modules, these make up the primary references with Service Delivery and Service Support being the foundation for ITIL.  With the best practices outlined in the library, businesses and IT organizations can produce consistently stable and valuable IT solutions.

How is ITIL used in your organization? Is it merely used as a reference book similar to a library or is it being implemented and refined? Are the processes aligning with ITIL or that of the organization?

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David Peterson

David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.