What is ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library

ITIL is the acronym for Information technology infrastructure library. It is a set of rules that has been used to manage the IT infrastructure, operations and development of any organization. ITIL is considered as a most accepted standard for IT companies worldwide. This is a standard initiated by the former CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) of UK government, which is later merged into OGC (Office of Government Commerce). The various stages or processes that fall under ITIL together termed as ITIL service lifecycle. The service lifecycle uses a hub and spoke design that approaches the infrastructure via different steps – Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.


Before we go in depth with ITIL lifecycle, here are some important terms to be kept in mind:


These are the organization units specialized to perform particular types of work to produce specific results.



Processes define certain actions, dependencies and sequences etc. Process is set activities coordinated to combine and implement resources and capabilities in order to produce outcomes that create value for an external customer directly or indirectly.



These represent a set of activities and permissions granted to a particular person or even a team. Role is defined inside a process or function. One person may hold one or more roles.


Process Owner

The person holds the process owner role in an organization is responsible for the overall quality of the process and oversees the management of, and the organizational compliance to the process flows, procedures, data models, policies and technologies.


Service Owner

The person holds the service owner role is responsible for a particular service within the organization irrespective of the technology category it belongs to.


RACI Model (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed)

A model used to define roles and responsibilities in the ITIL terminology. There is a latest version of RACI model available called RACI-VS; VàVerified and SàSigns off.


ITIL Service Lifecycle processes
1.      Service Strategy

The main goal of service strategy is providing guidance on converting service management as a strategic asset for an organization. This stage of ITIL Lifecycle ensures that the organizations are in a position to handle the costs and risks associated with the respective service portfolios and they maintain operative effectiveness as well as distinctive performance.


Generic Concepts and terms of Service Strategy

Utility and Warranty

Utility is decided by the customer by seeing the positive effect on the performance of tasks related to the desired outcome.


Warranty is derived from the positive effect based on the availability of the service as and when needed. Warranty is the assurance that has been offered to the customers on achieving certain levels such as availability, capacity, continuity and security.


Resources and Capabilities

The service assets are classified into two categories – Resources, capabilities. Resources are tangible assets, which can be acquired or bought anytime based on the requirement.


Service Portfolio

Service portfolio is the complete services provided by a specific service provider. This is used to manage the complete lifecycle of all the services provided. Service portfolio includes three categories – Service Pipeline, Service Catalogue, and retired services. Service pipeline denotes the services which are ongoing or proposed. Service catalogue shows the services that are live; ready for deployment. Service catalogues are of two types – Business service catalogue and Retired services are the one’s no more available to the customer.


Service Portfolio Management

These are a collection of services that are being offered to customers for getting tremendous advantage in a peculiar market space.


Demand Management

A pattern of business activities (PBA) defines the demand of the customer for some particular services. Various customer assets like processes, people etc generates PBA, which drives demand for services.


Finance Management

This is where the accounting, budgeting, and charging for IT services offered happens.


2.      Service Design

Service design stage provides the guidance for the design and development of service management practices as well as services. The key topics that are described under service design are service catalogue, availability, capacity, continuity, information security and service level management. The major terms related to service design are – Risk, Service model, service provider, supplier, SLA, OLA, contract, Service design package etc. The service level management part negotiates, agrees and documents appropriate SLA’s, or service targets with business representatives, and then monitors and delivers the service provider’s ability to maintain the agreed level of service status. Service catalogue management maintains the details of the services which are offered to the external customers. Availability management focuses to produce and deliver the services assured on time. This stage ensures that the agreed level of service has been maintained properly. The information security management ensures that the business information is protected from all available threats like intrusion, theft, loss and unauthorized access. The purpose of ISM is to focus on all possible aspects of IT security and maintain IT security activities like security audits. Capacity management is the only process that extends throughout the service life cycle. This process ensures that the capacity as well as performance of the IT systems and services matches the demands per agreement of the business in a timely and cost effective manner. Service continuity management ensures that the required technical and service facilities can be resumed or retrieved as and when required .This process supports the entire BCM process (Business continuity management).


3.      Service Transition

Service transition provides guidance in the development and improvement stages of capabilities for transitioning new and changed services into live service operation. The key topics described in service transition are – change management, Service asset and configuration management, release and deployment management etc.


4.      Service Operation

Service operation provides guidance on how to maintain stability in service operations, allowing the necessary changes in design, scale, scope and service levels. The key topics under service operation include incident management, event management, problem management, access management etc. The IT service desk is a function that carries out all these processes. The service desk is considered as the single point of contact in the ITSM/ITIL framework.


5.      Continual Service Improvement

This stage in the lifecycle reviews, analyses, and makes recommendations on any improvement chances in the current service level agreed. This helps to improve cost effectiveness of delivering the IT services.


The ITIL lifecycle as well as the ITSM framework is mainly focused on the people works in the IT operations division. There are some certifications available in order to prove your expertise in ITIL, the latest among the basic certifications is ITIL V3 foundation certification.