What is ITIL? - Framework & Processes

Instructor: James Kuhn

Jim has taught adults for more than 20 years and has a Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

This lesson provides an overview of ITIL, including its history and development. With this as a baseline, the lesson then goes into a discussion of the ITIL framework or methodology, and how its adoption can result in better IT services and lower costs within an organization.

What is ITIL?

ITIL is an acronym for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a well-documented and globally recognized set of guidelines for managing complex technology systems. Originally developed in the UK in the 1980s as a solution for growing dependence on technology, it has grown to become a universal body of knowledge for organizations to implement best practices within their technology infrastructure. ITIL has evolved over the years through several comprehensive revisions, as technology and its organizational impact has grown, and is now in its third iteration, widely known as v3. While not a standard outline for all engagements, the ITIL framework provides methodology for organizations to improve IT service levels and reduce the costs of those services. Organizations, and individuals, can become certified through implementation, adherence, and knowledge of ITIL methodology.


ITIL Lifecycle
ITIL Lifecycle

The ITIL framework is all-encompassing across the entire information technology lifespan in an organization, terming this as the 'IT Service Lifecycle.' Principle elements in the ITIL Services Lifecycle include:

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continuous Service Improvement

Each of the elements of the ITIL services lifecycle contains specific processes, requirements, and guidelines appropriate to the lifecycle phase, allowing organizations to implement ITIL in specific areas or in a phased approach. Best results, however, are achieved through adoption of the entire lifecycle principles, as discussed below:

Service Strategy

The service strategy element of the ITIL lifecycle is the core of the methodology, as it contains the organization's primary goals, requirements, and financial models for its IT systems. Within the strategy, the breadth and scope (components and boundaries) of service operations are established, as well as any business principles and/or policies that must be considered in the lifecycle model. Think of this element as the vision and mission of the services lifecycle.

Service Design

The service design element of the ITIL lifecycle helps to guide the organization in crafting the necessary IT infrastructure and architecture necessary to carry out its service strategy. Here, the required people (internal/external), processes (for the services in scope and accompanying service levels), and tools (technology, suppliers, etc.) are identified and provisioned for implementation. Think of this element as the blueprint for the organization's IT services lifecycle.

Service Transition

The primary focus of the service transition element of the ITIL lifecycle is to configure and implement the IT services as provisioned through the service design element. During the transition, resources are deployed not only to implement IT assets (such as servers or network components), but also to manage the project scope and changes that are inherent in the transition to the new services. Think of this element as the project plan for the organization's IT services lifecycle.

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