What is ITIL (IT infrastructure library)?
ITIL stands for IT infrastructure library. It is a framework of best practices and processes for delivering IT services. ITIL helps you determine a baseline for your IT services so that you can plan, implement, and measure improvements. IT teams often rely on ITIL to help demonstrate compliance and evaluate IT service enhancements.
ITIL is the most widely used framework within IT service management (ITSM). It is practiced by many major enterprises and is a professionally recognized certification scheme. And it is popular for a reason — ITIL provides ample direction for businesses to manage end-to-end IT services.
The evolution of ITIL
ITIL began as a series of books by the UK government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) during the 1980s. Today the ITIL framework is owned by Axelos — a joint venture between the UK Cabinet Office and Capita.
ITIL has evolved over time with multiple versions of the framework. The most current version is ITIL 4 and was launched in 2019. ITIL 4 builds on the same principles of the previous version but embraces a wider range of use cases — including customer experience and digital transformation. The latest version also helps to reduce work silos, increase collaboration and communication, and integrate modern methodologies like agile and DevOps into ITSM.
What are the components of ITIL?
The components of ITIL provide structure for planning, delivering, and managing IT services. With ITIL 4, the main components are outlined in seven guiding principles:
Focus on value
Start where you are
Progress iteratively with feedback
Collaborate and promote visibility
Think and work holistically
Keep it simple and practical
Optimize and automate
When it comes to applying these ITIL principles, there are 34 management practices that help define core success factors, service design, and implementation activities. There are also useful tools within these practices like templates and checklists.
The 34 practices are grouped into three categories. Here is the full list of ITIL management practices:
General management practices
Service management practices
Technical management practices
This list may seem overwhelming — but the idea is that all of these practices are intended to be simple, practical, and flexible. This lets individual organizations adapt the ITIL framework to their specific needs or style of working.
What are the benefits of ITIL?
ITSM encompasses a wide array of activities that are all essential to how IT teams generate business value. Using an established framework like ITIL makes it easier to deliver and manage all of these activities, instead of figuring out an ITSM strategy from scratch.
ITIL also helps IT teams build a stable environment that allows for growth, scale, and change. Establishing standards and following guidelines are important for successful ITSM over time.
In terms of specific benefits, ITIL helps businesses to:
Deliver IT services on schedule
Focus on cost-efficiency
Increase productivity through standardization and guidance
Meet internal and external customer needs
Minimize technology risks
Provide better IT services overall
Best practices are best supported with the right tools. IT roadmapping software can help you manage projects, releases, and changes. Get started with Aha! Roadmaps — free for 30 days.
- Introduction to information technology
- How does an IT team create business value?
- What is enterprise technology?
- Who makes up an IT team?
- What are some IT job titles?
- What is the role of an IT manager?
- What does an IT manager do each day?
- What skills do I need to be an IT manager?
- How can I learn to be an IT manager?
- What are some IT manager interview questions?
- What is a typical IT manager salary?