What is ITIL V3 Anyway?


Quick PC Access, City Campus West, Northumbria...
Quick PC Access, City Campus West, Northumbria University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is an excellent set of best practices, carefully organized and edited to provide readers with information and structure for how to plan, implement, maintain and improve the service delivered to an organizations customers.

ITIL is owned by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and is copyright and trademark protected. The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) is the leading, independent, not for profit, organization that is owned and run by it’s worldwide members – to promote and exploit the benfits of ITIL.

Oftentimes, when people first read one of the core ITIL V3 books, you hear some common themes: ‘ITIL is just common sense and, “yeah, we do that already around here – so what?”

Well guess what?

ITIL V3 is common sense – but unfortunately it is found all to UNCOMMONLY in Service Organizations.

At the heart of ITIL V3 are a core set of 5 books first published in 2007, namely: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. Each book describes processes, procedures, roles, metrics and lots more that all organizations can review, customize and configure to their own satisfaction.

Please Note: The ITIL V3 authors do not have any ‘magic wands’ and so the full text is meant to be good starting point for you and your organization. All the best practices provided should be considered in the light of your organizations strategic goals and then careful adapted for integration into your working practices.

ITIL V3 has evolved over 20 years from a variety of ITIL, Service and Process expert authors. This is the whole point of ITIL – it’s a best practice starting point – to be considered, re-worked and carefully implemented into an organization to match that businesses needs.

English: An ITIL Foundation Certificate pin on...
English: An ITIL Foundation Certificate pin on a shirt. The diamond is the ITIL logo, there are three levels for ITIL v2: Green: Foundation certificate Blue: Practitioner’s certificate Red: Manager’s certificate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No verbatim, to-the-letter-of-the-book, style implementation will ultimately be more than 10% effective for any organization. Every place is different. Every Business is different. Every customer is different.

Over the last ten years, many thousands of IT Service professionals have provided feedback and helped to enhance the core OGC ITIL texts – so you can rest assured that it is THE #1 place to start when implementing strategic IT Service Management.

In the last few years, the worldwide standard for IT Service Management ISO/IEC 20000 has been ‘fast tracked’ through the International Standards Committee to enable Service Providers to gain certification in the standard. In reality, although not mandated, a lot of ISO20000 requires key aspects of ITIL to be implemented, namely the ITIL V2 IT Service Support and IT Service Delivery processes. Note: ISO20000 does NOT specify that ITIL is a pre-requisite for certification – but it is the logical starting place for best practice adoption.

A few home truths about ITIL – having observed its implementation in various guises into many clients over the last 10 years:-

  • ITIL requires investment in time, effort and people’s energy – therefore there’s a big cost
  • ITIL requires capable and experienced people – people who are ITIL foundation and ITIL manager’s certified
  • ITIL requires a transformation programme to own and guide the effort of many smaller, but still significant projects.
  • ITIL requires active, senior buy-in. No buy-in – no ITIL. It’s that harsh.
  • ITIL therefore requires to be understood at a senior level and therefore the ROI in ITIL must be deliberately planned and realized
  • ITIL is ‘transformational’ change – so that means people change roles; people have new ways of working and communicating; the organization begins to hardwire the voice of the customer into the heart of IT/Technology

Some further considerations:-

itil_v321* It’s tough to do; people play politics with their empires; people protect their functional silo’s; people resist change

* It takes time; to plan, to design, to build, to test; to ‘DO’

Essentially you have to change the ‘planes engine whilst the ‘plane is still in flight – meaning – YOU have to transform the way Technology delivers service – without impacting the quality and availability of Service.

ITIL‘s all about Service. Not Tools. Not Technology. Not Process. In my opinion, they are just essential components of what the end goal is.

[Incidently – there’s NO such thing as an ITIL compliant tool. ITIL is a set of best practices – not a ‘standard’ that can be complied to. Vendors always incorrectly say their tool is ‘compliant’. Gartner agrees with me on this.]

ITIL makes you think deeply about who’s doing what, when, how, with what tools, how well are they doing, could they do better, how does the customer perceive us… these are just some of the constant questions that are raised EVERYDAY when you are implementing and running an ITIL based Organization.

These are the RIGHT questions for IT Service Success!!

The benefits of ITIL are many – but here are a few of commonly reported ones: –

  • ITIL breaks down functional silo’s, gets people and information flowing; gets people talking; all for the benefit of the Customer (service recipient)
  • ITIL helps to re-organize IT/Technology to be Customer focussed. The roles, responsibilities, information and reporting requirements all converge to push meaningful and timely information towards the right Customer interfaces
  • ITIL makes people think from a Service perspective; not a technology silo perspective.
  • ITIL reduces costs and helps with automation to further reduce cost. ITIL also lets you do more with less over time – avoiding future staffing cost increases.
  • ITIL can be rolled out in ‘groupings’ of best practice to achieve organizational ‘quick wins’
  • ITIL should be fun. A way of doing things around here with people fully involved and included in key decisions.

It all boils down to this…

Will the IT Service Analyst.Manager sitting on their seat, do the right thing, at the right time, at the lowest possible cost, in a high quality way – in order to play their part in delivering the service that the customer pays for – keep on doing it right first time – and improve things where possible?

Is ITIL some kind of ‘holy grail’?

No way.

Is ITIL already being achieved?

Absolutely! In lot’s of different companies around the world. ITIL’s been around for years.


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