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What is ITIL?

ITIL stands for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library that contains ITSM best practices.

Why is ITIL important?

Owned by AXELOS Limited, ITIL is an IT service management (ITSM) best practice framework. In other words, the ITIL framework is a guide with all the recommendations that a smart organisation should do with its ITSM to get the most out of it.

ITIL is not an industry standard, but ITIL adoption is widespread and thousands of organisations are already reaping its benefits by improving service delivery.

When adopted, the ITIL framework enhances service management, operations, and outcomes for organisations that commit to the concepts of the ITIL 4 service value chain (or the ITIL v3 service lifecycle).

How does ITIL help businesses?

Because the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is made up of a number of ebooks that detail the best practices for IT service management (ITSM), it assists IT organisations in becoming more efficient and more centred on addressing business issues instead of just being focused on IT problems.

The ITIL framework contains proven methodologies for how organisations can optimise their ITSM for growth and change. ITIL is about adopting and adapting, not the blanket application of one fixed set of activities.

Note, ITIL is not the end or desired outcome, but rather the means to an end.

What is ITIL 4?

The ITIL has a long history of providing guidance to businesses. The latest version of ITIL is ITIL 4 and it was released in early 2019. It is the most agile, flexible, and customizable version of ITIL.

With its systematic approach to ITSM, the ITIL 4 offers enterprises a more stable IT environment, enhanced customer support, reduced expenses, and better awareness of risks.

ITIL 4 has methodologies that are focused on the automation of processes, the improvement of collaboration and communication across the whole organisation, and the integration and expansion of service management beyond IT (like HR, finance, customer support, etc.).

With its systematic approach to ITSM, the ITIL 4 service strategy assists companies in creating a stable IT environment and service operation that improves customer support, reduces costs, and limits threats.

ServiceNow® IT Service Management supports each evolution of the ITIL framework. Though we learn from and support many industry frameworks, ServiceNow is purposefully framework neutral. And while the ITIL framework remains a good resource for IT organisations looking for guidance in defining their core processes, the ServiceNow vision of digital transformation has grown beyond traditional process-oriented frameworks.    

 As ITIL 4 gets further defined, we will continue to provide guidance to our customers on how to align it with their ServiceNow deployment. However, the majority of our focus will be beyond the scope of ITIL 4, delivering on the excellent outcomes our customers expect From ServiceNow.  

What is ITIL Foundation?

ITIL Foundation is what AXELOS, the owners of ITIL, calls its training programme. AXELOS offers a ITIL certification programme that has a modular approach to the ITIL framework, and is made up of a series of qualifications focused on different aspects of IT best practice.

What if I don’t have time to read the 122-page ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition book?

No worries! You don't have to read all of the lengthy ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition because ServiceNow has an ebook titled ITIL 4 in 10 minutes.

ITIL 4 in 10 minutes includes:

  • How ITIL works
  • The difference between ITIL v3 and ITIL 4
  • Five elements of the ITIL service value system
  • Six activities with the ITIL service value chain

How do most organisations start with ITIL?

Traditionally, organisations start the service lifecycle with one of three pairs of activities:

  • Incident and problem management
  • Incident and change management (now called "change control in ITIL 4")
  • Change and configuration management (now called "service configuration management in ITIL 4")

Ultimately, organisations should start with ITIL practices that will make the biggest difference to IT, business operations, and outcomes. In the past, incident, change, and problem management were the most commonly adopted ITIL practices.

Now, continual improvement, self-service, and service catalogue are also included at the outset of ITIL adoption.

What if I don’t have time to read the 122-page ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition book?

Yes, there is a practical approach to ITIL adoption. ITIL is widespread and tens of thousands of companies are already reaping its benefits. But, as with any process, there are a number of common ITIL adoption mistakes to avoid.

When you adopt ITIL best practices, it's important to learn from previous adopters to avoid setbacks and delays. ServiceNow has identified some common mistakes to avoid when adopting ITIL

To successfully adopt ITIL and get the most out of your IT service management solution, you should become an ITIL expert and:

  • Understand what ITIL can and cannot do for your IT service management
  • Acknowledge that ITIL will not magically improve everything that be wrong with your service operations
  • Not treat ITIL as a one-off project, because ITIL is about continual service improvement

With a clear understanding of ITIL best practices, you will have a great start in bringing improved IT service delivery and support to your organisation.

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