ITIL V4: The Use and Proper Understanding of Managing IT Services

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ITIL V4 is a term that is rapidly making money around the IT world. It is often misdiagnosed as ‘IT governance’; In fact, on its own, it certainly is not this. ITIL V4 is a collection of best practices that helps companies implement an IT service management culture. However, its ever-increasing fame and usage are indicative of the undeniable influence it can have on a company’s business and IT capabilities. When integrated with lethal frameworks, ITIL can be a vital ingredient to create true IT governance.


What is the Management of IT Services?

Today companies are delivered or enabled more and more using information technology. Business and IT management need guidance and support on how to manage the IT infrastructure to improve functionality and quality in a cost-effective way. Conceptually, IT Service Management is concerned with defining and delivering that needed support and guidance. In common with other modern management practices, it sees things from the client’s perspective, that is, it is a service that the client or consumer receives. It may be composed of hardware, software and communications facilities, but the client perceives it as an independent and coherent entity.

So, What is ITIL V4?

By representing the “IT Infrastructure Library,” ITIL V4 is a set of best practices that lie at the heart of the IT service management approach. It provides guidance on how to manage the IT infrastructure to optimize IT services in line with business expectations. ITIL V4 is a framework of best practices, which presents the consolidated experience of organizations around the world on how to better manage IT services to meet business expectations.

ITIL V4 was originally developed by the Central Agency for Information Technology of the United Kingdom (CCTA), a government agency that created ITIL V4 as an approach to incorporate various provider technologies and serve organizations with different needs. CCTA has now become part of the Government Commerce Office (OGC), which, as the official editor of the ITIL V4 library, updated it, published the latest version and continues to develop and support it.

Since then, ITIL V4 has been widely adopted throughout the world, both in the public and private sectors, and is recognized as the best practice, as it is implemented in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

What Makes Up the ITIL V4 Library?

The ITIL V4 documentation consists of seven ‘sets’ or ‘volumes’: Service Support, Service Delivery, ICT Infrastructure Management, Security Management, Planning to Implement Service Management, Business Perspective, and Application Management.

Of these, Service Support, Service Delivery, and Security Management are considered the central components of the ITIL V4 framework and cover vital issues such as Incident Management, Configuration Management, Change Management, Service Continuity Management IT, Availability Management and IT Security Management.

Learning About ITIL V4

The seven volumes of ITIL V4 are published by The Stationery Office, the official publisher of the government of the United Kingdom. In addition, to obtain an overview and an idea of how to navigate these, it is useful to consult one of the several recommended introduction texts. The fundamentals of IT service management based on ITIL V4: an introduction is widely accepted as the best starting point and a self-learning guide. “Implementation of service management and support processes: a practical guide” is a comprehensive manual on the subject, while the “itSMF pocket guides” provide a good overview of each of the ITIL V4 components.

Obtain Certification

Part of the reason for the recent growth in ITIL V4 ‘s knowledge is the publication in December 2005 of a new global standard for which companies can be certified. IEC 20000 or ISO 20000: 2005, to name it correctly is closely based on the pre-existing BS15000 standard, but the fact of the matter is, it is virtually indistinguishable. The standard consists of two distinct parts i.e IEC/ISO 20000-1, which is the accepted specification for IT Service Management against which the practices of an organization can be certified; IEC/ISO 20000-2, which is the ‘code of practice’ that describes the best practices and requirements of Part 1.

BS15000 has been widely used around the world since its publication in 2003 and was adopted virtually unchanged as the national standard in Australia and South Africa. Several companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia have already obtained certification in accordance with BS 15000. There are several excellent books that provide guidance to achieve compliance with BS15000 / ISO 20000.

Following the publication of the ISO 20000 standard, BS15000 was withdrawn and individual standards and certification bodies are developing their own formal transition programs for conversion to the new standard. Companies that already have BS15000 should have no difficulty converting their certification to the new standard, as this should be one of the considerations addressed by individual certification bodies.

Professionals can also follow a structured ITIL V4 exam and certification program, which includes the ITIL V4 Foundation Certificate, the ITIL V4 Practitioners Certificate and the ITIL V4 Managers Certificate. Examinations and certification in Europe are managed through two independent bodies: EXIN, the European Institute for the Examination of Information Sciences; and ISEB, the Information Systems Review Board. Among them, these two organizations control the entire certification scheme. In the United States, HDI is a leading organizer of exams and certifications, and this and similar organizations provide coverage in other parts of the world. These organizations ensure that personal certification is fair, honest and independent of the organizations that provide the training and accredits the training providers to achieve constant quality in the delivery of courses.

ITIL V4 and IT Government

When combined with certain other frameworks, ITIL V4 makes an important contribution to the creation of effective IT governance. ITIL V4 processes can be assigned to the CobiT processes (Control objectives for information and related technology), and the two frameworks complement each other. If the implemented framework of COBIT control keeps the organization well-informed on the right course of action pertaining to support areas and delivery, ITIL V4 best practices help the organization in defining ‘ know how’ to meet these requirements. Similarly, ITIL V4 works are compatible and work gracefully with ISO 17799, which is globally accepted code of best practices related to the security of information. It dictates the path on the proper management of the various processes prescribed by ISO 17799.

By using these three complementary frameworks according to their needs, an organization can establish an IT governance regime that provides a real and lasting competitive advantage for its business.

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