For IT organizations, IT Service Management (ITSM) goes hand-in-hand with ITIL practices. ITIL acts as the framework for guiding organizations through the ITSM lifecycle, setting processes, best practices, and tasks aimed at helping organizations establish and improve IT services. Learning about the basic tenets of ITIL can help IT professionals understand what goes into the services they provide, and helps management determine whether their services align with business goals. In this article, we describe ITIL, its purpose, and its components.

Understanding the Basics of ITIL

We should begin with explaining what ITIL is and what it does. ITIL – known formally as The Information Technology Infrastructure Library – is a service strategy currently governed by AXELOS that provides the “best practices” framework for your IT services and support. This framework contains IT service management practices that help align services to the actual needs of the business and its customers. ITIL is a valuable asset to any business structure because it aims to improve IT service delivery through technology, streamlined processes, and people’s abilities.

General ITIL describes practices that are not necessarily specific to an organization, meaning any company can apply its processes, procedures, and information to their services. It is worth noting that ITIL can be applied in many ways – and is not necessarily a rigid standard that needs to be followed. Organizations should adopt ITIL practices but should tailor them to fit specific needs within their industry and environment.

What is the Purpose of ITIL?

ITIL offers guidance for companies to plan out their service design, transition, operation, and improvement, making sure they meet business priorities. Think of ITIL as the foundation on which all IT service management, planning, and executing is built. ITIL also covers reporting, compliance, and performance measurements, to help companies track their service performance and make adjustments as needed.

Who Uses ITIL and Why?

Companies of all sizes and in any industry use ITIL practices to optimize their IT services and ensure they align with their business goals and customer needs. Some organizations customize their ITIL framework and some adhere only to certain standards. The reason organizations rely on the ITIL framework is because there are clear business benefits, like improved customer satisfaction, better resource allocation for services, and faster response to IT issues.

Successful businesses actively seek ways to improve their service performance, because customer retention and satisfaction rates are key performance benchmarks for company growth. Aligning services with business goals is therefore critical to operations.  

Components of the IT Infrastructure Library

As mentioned above, there are specific stages of ITIL that encompass all IT service design, planning, and managing:

  • Service Strategy: includes portfolio, financial, demand, business relationship, and strategy management for IT services.
  • Service Design: best practices for designing services that meet strategic needs as well as customer demands, managing systems, and setting metrics.
  • Service Transition: planning and managing service changes, including risks, legacy or outdated systems, and informing involved parties of change.
  • Service Operation: includes all activities, processes, and infrastructure for daily work needed to maintain IT operations.
  • Continual Service Improvement: continuously seeking ways to improve services through performance metrics and measurement data.

Through these five stages, businesses can:

  • Create better strategic plans surrounding IT services
  • Actively design services based on measurable needs
  • Transition users to new technologies or services
  • Control and maintain all aspects of daily IT operations
  • Constantly measure performance to find areas to improve or adjust

Within these categories, ITIL offers best practices for managing IT security operations, supplier management, asset and release management, and more. Every aspect of an IT service – from design all the way to deployment – is covered within the ITIL framework. ITIL practices will guide your company into improved IT service management.

Consider Adopting ITIL-Based Technology

Many IT organizations have benefited from service automation software, particularly solutions that integrate into existing systems and programs. ServiceNow, for example, is a consolidated platform that offers automation across business areas to improve department connectivity and improve services. For IT departments swamped with routine requests, automation, and self-service access portals can be huge time savers. But what does this have to do with ITIL?

Connecting ITIL practices to automation solutions can help businesses improve their IT service delivery while maintaining constant improvement awareness. ServiceNow offers ITIL-based practices that ensure your IT department is working at its highest level: from on-demand performance reporting to intuitive dashboards that improve IT visibility and compliance measurements, your company can be confident it is adopting a technology solution that brings IT best practices to your work.

Beginner’s ITIL: Final Thoughts

Remember that ITIL is a framework that can be adjusted to fit your specific business needs. Rather than a rigid set of rules, ITIL aims to help your company align its services to the needs of your customers, industry, and business. These principles can make the difference for companies looking to create dynamic and improving IT services. Since ITIL is scalable and customizable, companies can maintain best practices at any size. Opting to choose technology solutions that abide by ITIL-based practices helps ensure your company is investing in a long-term product that follows the same rules as the rest of your services.

As a ServiceNow Technology Partner, Infocenter can help. Contact us today to learn more. 

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