ITIL v3 offers strategic view on service delivery

The U.K. government has published a new version of the ITIL best practice guide, aiming to give IT staff more strategic how-to guidance.

Version 3 of the ITIL framework contains more prescriptive guidance, and follows a service-driven life-cycle approach, according to its creators. But others are likely to be questioning whether they can get to grips with v3 in the midst of implementing v2.

ITIL first appeared 30 years ago, and the new version has been in the works since 2004. It is available in five core books from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and published by The Stationary Office in the United Kingdom.

“ITIL v3 really talks about how IT organizations deliver services within their companies and the processes that underpin the successful delivery of IT services,” says ITIL chief architect Sharon Taylor, president of IT service management consultancy Aspect Group in Ottawa. “This is something we have been saying over the years, but until now it has never been part of the core volumes.”

Gartner analyst Ed Holub reportedly agrees. “Rather than being tactically focused on improving distinct operational processes, this version is more strategic,” he told

“It will probably have more appeal to the CIO-level person, rather than just the people running infrastructure operations,” says Holub, research vice-president for IT service management. “We do see it as becoming the de facto best practice guidance for IT services.”

Gartner predicts that ITIL penetration within organizations of fewer than 1,000 employees will be 30 per cent by 2010, while it will be in use by 60 per cent of organizations with larger headcounts.

The more high-level focus of the ITIL v3 release has also seen its 10 authors reduce the previous version’s nine books down to five, while those who have taken the most common “foundation level” ITIL v2 exam are unlikely to have to take additional courses. Gartner is likely to move to the v3 course later this year and vendors and trainers are likely to respond quickly to its detail.

Organizations such as JPMorgan Chase, Toyota Financial Services and Brigham Young University have successfully adopted previous versions of the framework.

The publisher says electronic versions of the hardcopy books will be available shortly, and additional materials will be released over the summer.

Highlights of the latest version of ITIL include:

  • Service strategy: aligning the role and requirements of IT with business goals
  • Service design: identifying processes that can deliver on strategy efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Service transition: deals with change management in more detail, including guidance on testing agility, mitigating risk and the speed of response of the IT department to business needs
  • Service operation: creating and managing effective processes
  • Continual service improvement: to measure the cost and quality of IT services

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