What is ITIL?
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework of best practices to manage IT operations and Services. ITIL consists of a series of books giving guidance on the provision of quality IT services, and on the accommodation and environmental facilities needed to support IT. It was defined in the mid 1980s by the Central computer and Telecommunications Agency of the UK Government in response to the growing dependence on information technology and a recognition that without standard practices, government agencies and private sector contracts were independently creating their own IT management practices and duplicating effort within their Information and Communications Technology projects resulting in common mistakes and increased costs. Although the UK Government created the ITIL, it has rapidly been adopted across the world as the standard for best practice in the provision of IT Service.
ITIL’s main objective is to align business and information technology. ITIL helps organizations to efficiently manage software, hardware, and human resource services to ensure continued and uninterrupted business.
The goal of this library is to consolidate the works into number logical sets that aimed to group related sets of process guidelines for different aspects of the management of Information Technology systems, applications and services together. Using the library provides a comprehensive set of guidance to link the technical implementation and operations guidelines and requirements with the strategic management, operations management and financial management of a modern business.
The eight ITIL books and their disciplines are:
The IT Service Management sets
· Service Support
· Service Delivery
Other operational guidance
· Infrastructure Management
· Security Management
· The Business Perspective
· Application Management
· Software Asset Management
Details of the ITIL Framework
The service Support ITIL discipline is focused on the USER and is primarily concerned with ensuring that they have access to the appropriate services to support the business functions.
To a business, customers and users are the entry point to the process model. They get involved in service support by:
· Asking for changes
· Needing communications, updates
· Having difficulties, queries
The service desk is the single contact point for the customers to record their problems. It will try to resolve it, if there is a direct solution or will create an incident. Incidents initiate a chain of processes: Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Release Management and configuration Management.
The IT Infrastructure Library approach to a Service Desk acts as the Central point of contact between service providers and users/customers, on a day-to-day basis. It is also a focal point for reporting Incidents and for users making service requests. It handles incidents and service requests, as well as providing an interface, with users, for other Service Management activities such as Change, Problem, Configuration, Release, Service Level and IT Service Continuity Management.
The objectives of the Service Desk are:
· Providing a single (informed) point of contact for customers
· Facilitating the restoration of normal operational service with minimal business impact on the customer within agreed levels and business priorities
· Incident Management
Incident Management is an IT Service Management process area. The first goal of the incident management process is to restore a normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimize the impact on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. ITIL terminology defines an incident as:
“Any event which is not part of the standard operation of a service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of that service”.
The goal of Problem Management is to minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems on business that are caused by errors within the IT infrastructure, and to prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors. A problem is an unknown underlying cause of one or more incidents, and known error is a problem that is successfully diagnosed and for which a work-around has been identified.
A problem is: “a condition often identified as a result of multiple Incidents that exhibit common symptoms. Problems can also be identified from a single significant Incident, indicative of a single error, for which the cause is unknown, but for which the impact is significant.
A known error is: “a condition identified by successful diagnosis of the root cause of a problem, and the subsequent development of a work-around”.
Problem Management is different from incident management. The principal purpose of problem management is the detection, resolution, and prevention of incidents; incident management records the incident.
In the ITIL framework, change management is responsible for controlling change to all configuration items within the live environment, test and training environment.
Release Management is used for platform-independent and automated distribution of software and hardware, including license controls across the entire IT infrastructure. Quality control during the development and implementation of new hardware and software is also the responsibility of Release Management. The goals of Release Management are:
· Plan to rollout of software
· Design and implement procedures for the distribution and installation of changes to IT systems
· Communicate and manage expectations of the customer during the planning and rollout of new releases
· Control the distribution and installation of changes to IT systems
The focus of release management is the protection of the live environment and its services through the use of formal procedures and check.
The discipline consists of the following processes, explained in subsections below:
· Service Level Management
· Capacity Management
· IT Service Continuity Management
· Availability Management
· Financial Management
Service Level Management
Service Level Management provides for continual identification, monitoring and review of the levels of IT services specified in the Service Level Agreement. Service Level Management ensures that arrangements are in place with internal IT support providers and external suppliers. The Service Level Management process is in close relation with the operational processes to control their activities. The central role of Service Level Management leads to it being the natural place for metrics to be established and monitored against a benchmark.
Service Level Management is the primary interface with the customer (as opposed to the User who is serviced by the Service Desk). Service Level Management is responsible for ensuring that the agreed IT services are delivered on when and where they are supposed to be and for liaising with Availability Management, Capacity Management, Incident Management and Problem Management to ensure that the required levels and quality of service are achieved within the resources agreed with Financial Management and Appropriate It Service Continuity plans have been made to support the business and it’s continuity requirements.
The Service Level Manager is reliant upon all the others areas of the Service Delivery process to provide the necessary support which ensures the agreed services are provided in cost effective, secure and efficient manner.
Capacity Management supports the optimum and cost effective provision of IT services by helping organizations match their It resources to the business demands. The high level activities are: Application Sizing, Workload Management, Demand Management, Modeling Capacity Planning, Resource Management, and Performance Management.
IT Service Continuity Management
It Service Continuity Management helps to ensure the availability and rapid restoration of IT services in the event of a disaster. The high level activities are: Risk Analysis, Manage Contingency Plan Management, Contingency Plan Testing, and Risk Management.
Availability Management allows organizations to sustain the IT service availability in order to support the business at a justifiable cost. The high level activities are: Realize Availability Requirements, Compile availability Plan, Monitor availability, and Monitor Maintenance Obligations.
Financial Management for IT services
Financial Management for IT services is responsible for budgeting for IT services, accounting for expenditure and where required implementing charging for IT services. Financial Management also assesses the Total Cost of Ownership and oversees activities in demonstrating value for money.
ITIL does not mandate enterprises and organizations to implement all the framework specifications. This freedom to choose is one of the prime reasons why ITIL is still very relevant to enterprises of all sizes. Without ITIL, there is no vision to proactively identify and resolve problems before it affects service and business. ITIL provides the framework to IT service support so that each issue is analysed to determine the root cause. The root cause of the problem is eliminated to prevent similar problems in the future.