In my previous article I made an attempt to make you understand service, value embedded in a service and service management with more generalised examples. In continuation to the general understanding of Service Management let me now guide you through more specific definitions of Service, IT Service Management, ITIL® history and ITIL® framework that supports the execution of IT Service Management though a life cycle methodology.
A service is “a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks”. IT Service Management is “a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of IT services”.
ITIL® is a framework of best practices to manage IT operations and services so that efficiency can be improved and predictable service levels can be achieved. Its history dates back to the mid-1980s when the UK government decided to document years of knowledge pooled from different people worldwide who managed IT helpdesks.
ITIL® is constantly evolving and in its current form is known as ITIL® 2011 edition, which is an updated expansion of ITIL® 2007 edition (previously known as V3). V3 replaced V2 (phased out in June 2011) and provided a more holistic perspective on the full life cycle of services and supporting components needed to deliver services to the customer.
The framework helps any business to establish a standard way of planning, selecting, delivering, and supporting IT services. It transforms the IT role from backend support to business service partner.
When we remember that ITIL® is a library, it is easy to appreciate the fact that it includes five core books/ volumes/publications, each corresponding to a certain IT service lifecycle phase.
The five books/five life cycle stages are: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement which are explained briefly as follows.
Service Strategy: establishes an overall strategy for IT Services and Service Management by setting objectives and expectations and by identifying, selecting and prioritizing opportunities.
Service Design: designs all aspects of the new or changed services including how it will satisfy business requirements, the technical architecture, the processes to deliver and support the service, the service management systems and tools that will manage the service, and the measurement methods and metrics for the service.
Service Transition: implements the design in a controlled manner, according to plan. Implementation activities include, but are not limited to build/buy/configure, different types of testing, knowledge transfer, deployment and early life support.
Service Operations: coordinates and performs the activities and processes required to deliver and support the service.
Continual Service Improvement: identifies and implements improvements to continually align IT services to the business.
It takes time and patience to go through all the five volumes of ITIL® life cycle in detail and this is generally achieved through various levels of certification schemes currently. I will explain the various ITIL® certification schemes and stages in my next article. How far you would go into its details depends on the scale of IT usage in your own business and your own penchant to understand the concepts better.
One thing is sure though: you need to understand at least the basics of ITIL® Service Lifecycle and an ITIL® Foundation Certification course will enable you with the basic know how which offers you a general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL® service lifecycle, including the links between lifecycle stages, the processes used and their contribution to service management practices.
The ITIL® Foundation certification is considered as the entry level qualification in the field of IT Service Management. The ITIL® Foundation certified professional will be able to best fit in to an organization in implementing and delivering the best practices in IT Service Management and also will be able to use IT as a tool for a business change and growth.
The ITIL® Foundation certification course emphasizes on adapting a common framework of IT Service Management practices that will help deliver value to a business. It also focuses on Quality Management approach and standards apart from following a practical approach to IT Service Management.
In my next writing, I will give you clarity on the detailed levels of The ITIL® certification scheme followed by more enhanced understanding of the five life cycle stages of ITIL®.