ITIL Version 3: What you need to know

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Version 3 is a move to tie IT and business functions closer together, according to Ottawa-based chief architect Sharon Taylor.

“We went to all stakeholders and talked to them about what they felt truly reflected best practices of today and what would make ITIL better,” says Taylor. “The entire structure is new, and it reflects a move by the public to take a more business-centric approach.”

The result of a two-and-a-half-year development process, ITIL Version 3 looks to build on a thorough set of guidelines presented in previous releases by concentrating on the life-cycle management of IT services, rather than merely the execution of processes.

This means “looking at things like the capabilities and resources you have within a service portfolio – both those delivered today and what you have the capability to deliver in the future.”

When compared to Version 2, “there is a much broader focus on the planning elements and looking to see what markets as a service provider you should be in, which you shouldn’t be, and what capabilities and resources you want to develop,” Taylor adds.

Forrester analyst J.P. Garbani believes Version 3 is a good reflection of the technological times. Some processes included in Version 2 have simply proved themselves outdated because many software offerings have made them redundant, he says.

“[Today’s software products] provide more intelligence than the products we had 10 years ago. This changes the process because they may completely skip a step in the previous (ITIL) process, as the product provides more intelligence right out of the box,” Garbani says.

This new life-cycle orientation to ITIL allows all involved parties to get a firm idea of how the guidelines are affecting the organization and the return on investment in technology, Taylor says.

For those contemplating an ITIL implementation, Taylor advises that it involves cultural change and has to be done with a careful amount of planning and forethought.

“You can’t ram and refine ITIL,” she says. “Some organizations have taken the path of saying, ‘We are adopting ITIL and thou shalt do this or that.’ But when you don’t deal with the cultural sensitivities around ITIL, you tend to lose traction because people are your strongest success factor.”

Wynnan Rose, director of service management for the IT Services group, Ontario Ministry of Government Services, agrees and adds that the right kind of leadership is essential to ITIL success. Rose’s organization is an amalgamation of eight previously decentralized clusters that provided IT services to various ministries.

Bringing eight separate groups together, each with their own level of best practices and their own way of doing things, has hardly been a snap-of-the-fingers task, according to

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