Thursday, November 13, 2008

People, Process, Technology - ITIL v3

From my previous post, you probably get the idea that I view ITIL favorably. It is a comprehensive framework that provides a lot of good advice, and it provides a common language for IT practitioners.

While it is useful, learning about ITIL can be a challenge by itself, as it is like learning another language even though the language may already be somewhat familiar. Last year, we conducted a survey at OpenWorld, which asked several questions about practices on service level management and change management. Many people checked the box indicating that they had some sort of processes in place. Yet, when we asked whether people were implementing ITIL, the same people who checked those boxes stated that they were not implementing ITIL. That was rather strange as service level management and change management were two of ITIL processes, so either people did not know what ITIL stood for, or did not think their process implementation was up to the standard that ITIL defined. We think the former reason was more probable.

So what is in the “ITIL v3 language?”

ITIL v3 is made up of five application lifecycle phases, which Wikipedia describes as:

Service Strategy - focuses on the identification of market opportunities for which services could be developed in order to meet a requirement on the part of internal or external customers. The output is a strategy for the design, implementation, maintenance and continual improvement of the service as an organizational capability and a strategic asset. Key areas of this volume are Service Portfolio Management and Financial Management.

Service Design - focuses on the activities that take place in order to develop the strategy into a design document which addresses all aspects of the proposed service, as well as the processes intended to support it. Key areas of this volume are Availability Management, Capacity Management, Continuity Management and Security Management.

Service Transition - focuses on the implementation of the output of the service design activities and the creation of a production service or modification of an existing service. There is an area of overlap between Service Transition and Service Operation. Key areas of this volume are Change Management, Release Management, Configuration Management and Service Knowledge Management.

Service Operation - focuses on the activities required to operate the services and maintain their functionality as defined in the Service Level Agreements with the customers. Key areas of this volume are Incident Management, Problem Management and Request Fulfillment. A new process added to this area is Event Management, which is concerned with normal and exception condition events. Events have been defined into three categories:
- Informational events -- which are logged
- Warning events -- also called alerts, where an event exceeds a specified threshold
- Critical events -- which typically will lead to the generation of Incidents

Continual Service Improvement - focuses on the ability to deliver continual improvement to the quality of the services that the IT organization delivers to the business. Key areas of this volume are Service Reporting, Service Measurement and Service Level Management.
If you are familiar with ITIL v2, you probably recognizes that many of these processes are similar to those in v2. I think one way to look at v3 is that it is an improved and superset of of v2.

For more details on these processes, you need to get the official books from Office of Government and Commerce, the United Kingdom agency who serves as the official publisher of this methodology.


Alon said...

Thanks for the insight, being in the BTM field and an advocate for BSM (both a part of ITIL), the way i look at things is; Business Service Management for IT is like changing your life style. Business Transaction Management is a means within BSM to achieve the change of life style.

Unknown said...

I am not sure why you are surprised that people don't think they are implementing ITIL. Configuration management and incident management processes are part of other process libraries such as CMMI among others. Depending on the industry, the process methodology of choice may not be ITIL.

Anonymous said...

The ITIL is IT Infrastructure Library. Originally, ITIL was developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) as a set of comprehensive and iter-related codes of practice. In IT community such code of good practice was / is very useful in terms of achieving the efficient support and delivery of high quality, cost effective IT services so this blog is very helpful to know more about it.Good post. ITIL V3