What is ITIL v3

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  The current version (version 3) consists of five books (or volumes) which each deal with separate but related areas.

Together they provide Best Practice guidelines for IT Service Management.

The initial development of ITIL was by collating evidence from a wide range of organisations that use IT as part of or to support their business practices, that had been found to be successful and support delivering good quality service to the customer.  The results of this were published in a series of books between 1992 and 1998.  Over time this has been refined and reformed through version 2 in 2000 into the current version which launched in May 2007 and then reviewed from 2009 to 2011 to form the current edition.  The main changes from 2007 to 2011 were moving to using more 'plain English' language and finding then removing in consistencies.

The aim of ITIL is to provide non-prescriptive guidelines to organisations to allow them to improve the IT Infrastructure to deliver greater value:

  • To satisfy business needs and the aims of the organisation
  • To improve the experience of users and/or customers through better quality of service
  • To make services more economical and keep costs down

In practical implementation it is important to remember ITIL provides "non-prescriptive guidelines".  That is (like other Best Practice methodologies such as PRINCE2 and CHAMPS2) you are not expected to slavishly (or robotically) follow the word of the text in the books but rather to adapt it to suit your organisation and environment.