What is IT Service Management?

IT Service Management is concerned with delivering and supporting IT services that are appropriate to the business requirements of the organisation. ITIL® provides a comprehensive, consistent and coherent set of best practices for IT Service Management processes, promoting a quality approach to achieving business effectiveness and efficiency in the use of information systems.

ITIL® processes are intended to be implemented so that they underpin but do not dictate the business processes of an organisation.

In essence, ITIL®'s ITSM® guide organisations in the best practices associated with delivering IT services to the business in accordance with service level agreements, underpinned by a set of support services matched to the requirements of the business.

The IT Infrastructure Library®, ITIL®, is a series of documents that are used to aid the implementation of a framework for IT Service Management (ITSM® ). This framework defines how Service Management is applied within specific organisations. Being a framework, it is completely customizable for application within any type of business or organisation that has a reliance on IT infrastructure.

What is ITIL® ?

The philosophy behind the development of the IT Infrastructure Library® is the recognition that organisations are increasingly dependent upon IT to satisfy their corporate goals and meet their business needs. This growing dependency leads to growing needs for quality IT services - quality that is matched to business needs and user requirements as they emerge.

This is true no matter what type or size of organisation, be it government, a multinational conglomerate, a decentralised office with either a local or centralised IT provision, an outsourced service provider, or a single office environment with one person providing IT support. In each case there is the requirement to provide an economical IT service that is reliable, consistent and of the highest quality.

ITIL® is based on the collective experience of UK governmental and Commercial practitioners worldwide. This has been distilled into one reliable, coherent approach, which is fast becoming a de facto standard used by some of the world's leading businesses.

The ITIL® (IT Infrastructure Library® ) consists of 7 sets: Service Support; Service Delivery; Planning to Implement Service Management; ICT Infrastructure Management; Applications Management; Security Management; The Business Perspective.

The main focus of IT Service Management (ITSM® ) itself is generally divided into two main areas, Service Support and Service Delivery. Together, these comprise the disciplines that embrace provision and management of effective IT services.

What is IT Service Delivery?

Service Delivery is the management of the IT services themselves, and involves a number of management practices to ensure that IT services are provided as agreed between the Service Provider and the Customer.

Service Delivery consists of 5 disciplines. These are:

  • Service Level Management
  • Capacity Management
  • Continuity Management
  • Availability Management
  • IT Financial Management

What is IT Service Support?

Service Support is the practice of those disciplines that enable IT Services to be provided effectively. The 6 Service Support disciplines are:

  • Configuration Management
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Change Management
  • Service/Help Desk
  • Release Management

The list below identifies some advantages and disadvantages of ITIL® . This list is not intended to be definitive, but is provided here as a basis for considering the advantages or disadvantages of ITIL® and the different ways in which organizations use ITIL® .

Advantages of ITIL® to the customer/user:

  • The provision of IT services becomes more customer-focused and agreements about service quality improve the relationship.
  • The services are described better, in customer language, and in more appropriate detail.
  • The quality and cost of the services are managed better.
  • Communication with the IT organization is improved by agreeing on the points of contact.

Advantages of ITIL® to the IT organization:

  • The IT organization develops a clearer structure, becomes more efficient, and more focused on the corporate objectives.
  • The management is more in control and changes become easier to manage.
  • An effective process structure provides a framework for the effective outsourcing of elements of the IT services.
  • Following the ITIL® best practices encourages a cultural change towards providing service, and supports the introduction of a quality management system based on the ISO-9000 series.
  • ITIL® provides a uniform frame of reference for internal communication and communication with suppliers, and standardization and identification of procedure.