What is ITIL®? A Simple Overview

ITILIf you only want to know what ITIL® is all about without reading a doctoral thesis, then this article is for you. It is a simplified, buzzword-free, explanation of the main components of ITIL. Firstly, what is the acronym? ITIL stands for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library. In keeping with the spirit of simplicity of the What is ITIL article, we will define IITL as “an integrated set of best business practices and processes designed to deliver IT services to business”.

The primary focus of ITIL is to maximise value for the business by aligning IT resources with business needs.” At the core of ITIL, is the core idea that value is provided in the form of business-aligned IT Services.


A question that our customers often ask us is ” Where does ITIL come from?” Well, it was published in 1989 by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in the UK for the Central Communications and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). The goal was to standardise and document a set of operating practices for IT operations. To achieve this goal, a wide variety of public and private sector IT experts were engaged in assembling a collective set of best practices.

What is ITIL

ITIL is a set of approaches and best practices. It is a model for IT service delivery. It does contain some processes and templates, but it is not a methodology and does not contain all the required implementation details. An organisation can implement ITIL by following the overall guidelines and then develop more detailed processes in line with their culture and business requirements.

Why is ITIL Required?

ITIL assists business to deliver an efficient and effective service to their customers, hence gaining their customers confidence and satisfaction. Some of the most notable areas where ITIL assists business are as follows:

  • Strategic planning for both business and IT.
  • Integrating and aligning IT and business goals
  • Implementing continuous improvement
  • Acquiring and retaining the right resources and skill sets
  • Reducing costs and the Total Cost of Ownership
  • Demonstrating the business value to IT
  • Achieving and demonstrating Value for Money and Return on Investment.
  • Measuring IT organisation effectiveness and efficiency
  • Developing business and IT partnerships and relationships
  • Improving project delivery success
  • Managing regular business and IT change

Major Components of ITIL

ITIL is published in five volumes, each of which covers an IT Service Management Stage. The five books are:

  • ITIL Service Strategy
    A view of ITIL that aligns business and IT so that each brings out the best in the other. It ensures that every element of the Service Lifecycle is focused on customer outcomes and relates to all the companion process elements that follow.
  • ITIL Service Design
    To meet the current and future business requirements, Service Design provides guidance on the design of IT services, processes, and other aspects of the service management effort.
  • ITIL Service Transition
    Consists of the delivery of services required by a business, and often encompasses the “project” side of IT. It covers the broader, long-term change management and release and deployment practices.
  • ITIL Service Operations
    Best practice for achieving the delivery of agreed levels of services both to end-users and the customers
  • ITIL Continual Service Improvement
    Align and realign IT services to changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to the IT services that support the business processes

Facts About ITIL

ITIL is Not a Tool

You can implement many aspects of ITIL using tools, but tools are not required. If your organisation is small, simple templates and spreadsheets may be all you need. If your organisation is large, you may need to find appropriate software tools to help.

ITIL is Not an All-or-nothing Proposition

ITIL is a series of approaches in different business areas enabling a company to implement some or the entire overall model. There is no rule that you have to implement everything.

ITIL is Not Project Management

ITIL does not focus on creating things like projects do. Instead, it focuses on delivering IT services to the business user base.

You Can Implement ITIL In Stages

There is no rule dictating that you have to implement the entire ITIL model at once. Many organisations implement ITIL in phases over a period of months and even years.

You Can Be Certified in ITIL

There are three levels of ITIL certification:

  • Foundation
    This level means you understand the terms and have a basic knowledge of the ITIL model.
  • Practitioner
    This level means that you understand the model to a degree necessary to apply the precise and correct ITIL processes where applicable.
  • Manager
    This level is available for practitioners who will be managing ITIL service management functions.


What is ITIL? It is a set of approaches and best practices. It is a model for IT service delivery. It does contain some processes and templates, but it is not a methodology and does not contain all the required implementation details. ITIL can be implemented in stages according to the business requirements of the organisation. This brings us to the end of the What is ITIL article. Please follow us on Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn. We will post notifications of the next article in the series on those platforms.

If you would like to know more about ITIL, please fill in the form below and one of our ITIL consultants will contact you.

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