ITIL was created in the 1980s by the UK government’s CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) with the objective of ensuring better use of IT services and resources. ITIL is now owned by AXELOS: the current version is ITIL 2011 Edition (published July 2011), which updates ITIL v3.

ITIL advocates that IT services must be aligned with the needs of the business and underpin the core business processes. It provides guidance to organizations on how to use IT as a tool to facilitate business change, transformation and growth. The ITIL best practices are described in five core guides that map the entire ITIL Service Lifecycle (see Figure).

• Service Strategy – understanding who the IT customers are, the service offerings to meet their needs, and the IT capabilities and resource to deliver the services
• Service Design – assures that new and changed services are designed effectively to meet customer expectations, including the technology, architecture and processes that will be required

The ITIL service lifecycle

• Service Transition – the service design is built, tested and moved into production to assure that the business customer can achieve the desired value
• Service Operation – delivers the service on an ongoing basis, including managing disruptions to service and supporting end-users
• Continual Service Improvement – measures and improves the service levels, the technology and the efficiency and effectiveness or processes. It incorporates many of the same concepts articulated in the Deming Cycle of Plan-Do- Check-Act

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