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ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework library of best practices for IT service management (ITSM). It is designed to ensure that IT services meet the needs of the business.

The ITIL framework particularly helps manage delivery, industrialisation, support and consumerisation from inception to retirement stage. These include strategy, design, transition, operation and continual service improvement.

It also includes a systematic approach which helps businesses to manage risk and customer relations, while also building a stable IT environment for growth, scale and change.

IT Governance

IT Governance provides a formal framework to align business and IT aspects of an organisation’s operations, which means that organisations can work to overcome any obstacles that may arise leading up to the business goal.

With a strict IT governance strategy, the aim is to ease any concerns, offer a definition of risk and provide the opportunity to manage variants.

For business users to gain benefits of IT governance, a set of three pillars should be followed to align the business strategy with the business of IT infrastructure. These are structure, process and communication.

Overall, IT governance aims to guarantee effective business performance by focusing on the end-to-end business process, as well as the journey towards continuous improvement. 

Read next: What is IT governance? How to implement a robust IT governance strategy

What is the framework?

Originally developed by the UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s, ITIL first included over 30 books which were developed over time. The books detailed best practices in IT around the world.

The original 30 books were first condensed in 2000, when ITIL V2 was launched, to seven books. These detailed service support, service delivery, planning to implement the service management, ICT infrastructure management, applications management, security management and the business perspective.

ITIL has been owned by Axelos, a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita, since 2013. Businesses are given a licence to use the ITIL framework while managing updates and process changes.

Benefits

Over the years, IT has grown to provide a huge impact for businesses in different ways and with the adoption of ITIL organisations receive a stronger alignment between IT and the business, along with greater visibility of IT costs and assets.

The benefits of adopting ITIL include improved service delivery and customer satisfaction, reduced costs through the improved use of resources and better management of business risk and service disruption or failure.

Most especially, when improving business processes around IT organisations will benefit from many factors such as improved availability, reliability and security of mission critical IT services.

To ensure maximum gains from the ITIL framework, businesses are advised to align the process with the desired business outcome. In doing so, not only will the organisation be meeting customer demand but it will also improve the capability of process, people, suppliers and technology.

With five core volumes, when deployed accurately, the volumes work to help organisations run more effectively. These are service strategy, design, transition, operation and continual service improvement.

ITIL can be adopted within organisations of any size, both across public and private sectors. It is the most adopted IT practice around the world and examples of firms that have implemented ITIL include IBM, Microsoft and HP.