Stands for "Information Technology Infrastructure Library." ITIL is a set of recommended procedures and guidelines organizations should follow when using or delivering information technology (IT) services. It provides an organized approach to managing IT services, which is designed to benefit both companies and clients.

The five primary stages of the ITIL service lifecycle are listed below.

  1. Service strategy - the planning stage of creating or using a new IT service. Examples include building a wireless campus network or a implementing an intranet for members of an organization. This step involves defining the purpose and goals of the service.
  2. Service design - the design stage of the service, which may also include the initial implementation. The service must be designed to meet the needs of the end users and be sustainable for the expected duration of the service. Choosing the appropriate technologies is one of the most important aspects of the design stage. Typically scalable solutions are preferred so they can grow with the organization.
  3. Service transition - the stage that focuses on transitioning between IT services and IT personnel. This includes the initial transition of rolling out the new service as well moving to other solutions in the future. It also involves creating a plan for who will manage the services if the technologies or personnel change.
  4. Service operation - the stage that covers the actual management and operation of the service once it is live. This includes monitoring and maintaining the service as well as developing a plan for fixing issues as they arise. The goal is to provide a reliable service with limited downtime throughout the life of the service.
  5. Continual service improvement (CSI) - a plan to continually update and improve the service as needed. In the IT world, the needs of businesses and clients are constantly changing. Therefore a successful service must be flexible and upgradable, adapting to these changing needs. A plan to regularly update the service can help meet this goal.

Businesses and organizations are not required to follow the practices outlined by ITIL. However, the recommendations can be helpful to any organization looking to offer or implement an IT-related service. AXELOS, which maintains the ITIL best practices, provides ITIL certifications to individuals who have developed a comprehensive understanding of ITIL.

Updated March 1, 2017 by Per C.

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