As IT products and services have become more and more firmly established in all areas over the last few years, there is the need to manage all aspects around these products and services. This ranges from conception and implementation to customer contact and maintenance. To manage these aspects, the framework ITIL offers guidelines and processes. The collection of best practices follows a lifecycle concept and suggests processes for the management of IT products and service in each lifecycle phase.
Today, IT products like software or hardware are used in everyday life as well as in economic but also in academic environment. Thereby the products are mostly used supportively and the users expect a certain performance from a product. To guarantee a certain performance level, the product needs to be managed from its development, through its delivery to the customer, to its actual use. This management is important for big software products like for example Windows operating systems but also for smaller companies which have an IT department that delivers the necessary IT infrastructure for the daily business.
The discipline that is responsible for the management of IT products and services is called IT Service Management. In service management each managed product (software, hardware, other related services) is called service. To manage these services and to satisfy customers, a well-designed structure is necessary. The framework ITIL offers such a structure by defining best practices for service management.
In the following, the framework and its components is examined more closely. First, it is described what exactly ITIL is and where it comes from. Then the most important key concepts are presented. After that, the components of ITIL's lifecycle concept are explained and finally one ITIL process, namely change management, is explained in more detail. Although ITIL is not only used for IT service management, in the following the focus is on IT services. Furthermore, the following explanations refer to ITIL's currently most used version which is ITILv3.
2 What is ITIL?
ITIL is a manufacturer independent collection of best practices for service management. The goal of ITIL is to deliver a framework to ensure efficiency and quality of services and service organisations for a satisfying and consistent service delivery. Nowadays, ITIL is not only used in IT but is industrial standard for service management. It is used in after-sales, HR etc. This is why ITIL's initial meaning "IT Infrastructure Library" is not longer used and ITIL is used as a proper noun 11.
ITIL v3's structure follows the goal of continual improvement. The structure is based on the so-called Deming cycle which supports the idea of continual improvement with the phases plan-do-check-act. By following this structure, ITIL v3 is more aligned with the international standard for service management ISO 20000 4.
2.1 ITIL’s History
In the 1980s, the use and importance of IT increased and with it the expenses for IT. Also the British government was affected by these additional costs. For this reason, the British Central Computer and Telecomunication Agency designed a collection of best practices to reduce IT expenses of the British government. This collection was initially called the "Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management Method" (GITIMM) and was later renamed to ITIL (which at this time still stood for "IT Infrastructure Library"). This was the baseline forthe first ITILversion called ITIL vl (1989-1995) which consisted of 40 booklets (for this reason IT Infrastructure Library). From 2000 to 2004, the 40 booklets got modernised and summarised in 8 books which resulted in ITIL v2. In 2007, a further developed ITIL version was published called ITIL v3. This version got a second refresh in 2011. The newest ITIL version is ITIL 4 which is a refreshed and restructured version that was published in 2019 but is not fully developed yet 10.
Since 2013, the company AXELOS owns ITIL. AXELOS leads the development of ITIL and licenses training and examination institutes. It is possible to get ITIL training certificates in the levels foundation, practitioner, intermediate, expert and master. The last two levels require a lot of training hours and years of professional experience 11.
3 Key Concepts
The following terms and concepts are central in ITIL and service management.
Service A service is a way to generate value for a customer. It helps the customer to achieve targeted outcomes while the customer does not have to bear responsibility for certain costs and risks 1.
There are three service types:
- Core Services: basic services that the customer expects (e.g. e-mail)
- Enabling Services: services that support the core services/are necessary for the core services (e.g. network, servers)
- Enhancing Services: additional services that are not essential for the core services but add value (e.g. spam filter)
Service Management In order to enable a service to generate value for the customer, the service needs to be managed. Service management includes all organisational capacities necessary to operate the service. This includes to measure, monitor and maintain the service 1·
Customer The customer decides what services the organization needs and pays for the service. There are two types of customers: internal customers that belong to the same organization as the service provider and external customers that belong to another organization 1·
Service Provider The service provider supplies the service to the customer. The service provider needs to maintain a close relationship to the customer and understand the customer's needs and processes, especially the ones that should be supported by the services 111,
4 Service Lifecycle
The service lifecycle represents the life of a service from its conception to operation and improvement in operation as well as possible retirement 1, It consists of five components (Figure 1) which each consist of a set of processes that are necessary for the coordination and management of the service. The lifecycle model points out the structure of service management, the way in which the lifecycle components are connected to each other and possible impacts that changes on one component can have on other components 11.
The five lifecycle components are:
- Service Strategy
- Service Design
- Service Transition
- Service Operation
- Continual Service Improvement
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 1: The service lifecycle
4.1 Service Strategy
The service strategy phase is the beginning of the service lifecycle. In this phase, the service provider needs to decide which services should be offered to the customer and what is necessary to deliver these services. It needs to be defined how the service (and the value that this service should offer) is created and delivered. To develop a strategy for service provisioning, the service provider needs to understand the needs of the customer, the current situation on the market and which processes are necessary to deliver and operate the service 17.
Service strategy encompasses the following processes 1:
- Strategy Management for IT Services: definition and maintenance of the alignment of the service regarding the customer's needs
- Demand Management: check if the customer needs any new services/changes on services
- Service Portfolio Management: track which services are currently offered, make sure that matching and complementary services are offered
- Financial Management for IT Services: management of all costs regarding the service (from design and development to delivery, maintenance and improvement)
- Business Relationship Management: maintain a good relationship between service provider and customer (on strategic and tactical level), understand the customer's needs
4.2 Service Design
After defining a service strategy, the service provider needs to design the actual service. The main goal is to deliver a service which does not need a lot of further improvement after deployment. This includes the design of practices, processes and guidelines which are necessary to support the service strategy and the deployment of the service. Furthermore, there need to be regulations to make sure that the service quality is sufficient, the service is cost effective and meets the customer's needs. During the service design, the option for continual improvement needs to be integrated to retain the possibility forfuture improvements 111,
There are five central design aspects 11:
- Service solutions: It needs to be ensured that the new or a changed service fits into the existing service portfolio and into the support structure. If these conditions are not fulfilled, the design of the new service or existing services needs to be adapted.
- Management-information systems and tools: It needs to be ensured that the service management system and the service management tools are able to support and control the new or a changed service over its whole lifecycle.
- Technology and management architecture: It needs to be ensured that used technologies, the customer's and service provider's infrastructure and used applications are compatible with the new or a changed service. If necessary, systems, architecture or service design needs to be adapted.
- Processes: It needs to be ensured that the defined processes are able to operate, support and maintain the new or a changed service. If necessary, processes need to be adapted.
- Measurement methods and metrics: It needs to be ensured that existing measurement methods support the new or a changed service to determine key figures and metrics. If necessary, measurement methods need to be adapted.
Service design encompasses the following processes:
- Capacity Management: make sure that the service capacity and the capacity of the infrastructure is sufficient to meet the targets agreed with the customer, include future developments
- Availability Management: make sure that the service is as available as agreed, include future developments
- IT-Service Continuity Management: make sure that essential parts of services can be delivered in disruptive situations, provide plans to get back to normal operation as fast as possible
- Information Security Management: protect the company's data and information, align IT security requirements with business security requirements
- Service Level Management: make sure that the services are delivered as agreed and that the agreed targets are achievable, monitoring and reviewing of services
- Service Catalogue Management: collect, maintain and provide information about all offered and planned services
- Supplier Management: manage (external) service suppliers and their services