ITIL is the most widely adopted approach for IT Service Management in the world. It advocates that IT services must be aligned to 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.
As the most widely adopted framework for IT service management in the world, it is hard to believe that ITIL® is more than 20 years old. Its practical, no-nonsense approach to the identification, planning, delivery and support of IT services to businesses has revolutionised IT service management, and thousands of practitioners now implement ITIL best practice in their working environments. The latest editions of ITIL from the Cabinet Office were published in July 2011, and these five publications (ITIL Service Strategy, ITIL Service Design, ITIL Service Transition, ITIL Service Operation and ITIL Continual Service Improvement) form the core guidance of best management practice.
In the early 1980s, the evolution of computing technology moved from mainframe-centric infrastructure and centralised IT organisations to distributed computing and geographically dispersed resources. While the ability to distribute technology afforded organisations more flexibility, the side-effect was inconsistent application of processes for technology delivery and support. The UK government recognised that utilising consistent practices for all aspects of an IT service life-cycle could assist in driving organisational effectiveness and efficiency, as well as achieving predictable service levels. It was this recognition that gave rise to ITIL, which has become a successful mechanism to drive consistency, efficiency and excellence into the business of managing IT services.