Over the past twenty-some years, ITIL® (IT Infrastructure Library) has gone from just another good idea to the development of a major movement within the IT universe. The version that most people know today as ITIL (often referred to as ITIL v2), is defined within the two Office of Government Commerce (OGC, U.K.) publications – Service Delivery (the “Red book”) and Service Support (the “Blue book”). In these publications the 10 core ITIL processes and Service Desk functions are described in (more or less) self-contained blocks. In this world, things were relatively simple. Process areas roughly mapped on to how many organizations could structure their job roles and thus make parts of the framework operational relatively quickly. As a result, many organizations adopted ITIL as their framework of choice and in a very real sense have begun to “think in ITIL”.
With the release of ITIL v3, we now have five volumes to work with:
• Service Strategy
• Service Design
• Service Transition
• Service Operation
• Continual Service Improvement
Without being overly dramatic about it, the recent launch of ITIL v3 changes everything – this is not just a repackaging of content! As such, those that adopt ITIL v3 will face significant challenges presented by:
• Changes in basic structure and theory
• New training and certification requirements
• What will be required to accomplish a v2-v3 migration effort
These impacts should not be underestimated and is especially acute for ITIL v2 enthusiasts. Many of the assumptions adopters make about how v2 should work are now either invalid or will require significant alteration (and organizational disruption). Despite the imposition and anxiety such changes may represent, these enhancements to ITIL are both timely and appropriate. Some practitioners have argued that these enhancements did not go far enough.
While the changes to ITIL v3 do bring with them a number of important issues to consider, let’s not lose sight of some good news:
• The ITIL refresh is well underway. Any publicly available framework should realistically be expected to change/evolve over time and set their expectations accordingly. Organizations who adopt frameworks should design in mechanisms to deal with these changes and how they will be accounted for.
• I believe that the focus and emphasis placed on customer alignment is ultimately the best news of all, as it keeps the most important issue up in front of us – delivering the necessary results to the customer/user communities that we serve.
In upcoming blog entries, I intend to provide more details on ITIL v3 framework by:
• Providing an overview of the five books and how they relate to each other
• Discussing the ITIL Core processes and mapping them to their respective books
• Discussing the changes associated with the shift from a process- to lifecycle-centric orientation
• Examining the impact of the changes in certification and education