What is ITIL? And Why do I Need an ITIL Foundation Certificate?

What is ITIL? And Why do I Need an ITIL Foundation Certificate?

Insights | 21 January 2010

ITIL, or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a standardised set of IT processes that are essential for the management of the lifecycles of a project. The ITIL Foundation Certificate provides IT practitioners and project managers with essential knowledge and accreditation in IT Service Management Best Practice. In order to qualify for the certificate, students must pass the examination held at the conclusion of the workshop.

The Lifecycles of IT Projects are broken down into five core stages:

• The Service Strategy Lifecycle
Ensures that the direction of the IT organisation is consistent with its customer’s expectations.

• The Service Design Lifecycle
Designing services which best meet the needs of the customer

• The Service Transition Lifecycle
Best practice for transitioning new services into the live environment

• The Service Operation Lifecycle
Best Practice in the management of day to day operations

• The Continual Service Improvement Lifecycle
Ensure the ongoing quality and relevance of the services to the client

Use of the ITIL framework in IT Project Management helps to establish common terminology for all involved, establishes consistency in the delivery of services and provides a business understanding with the IT organisation.


ITIL, a standardised set of IT management processes and best practice, was originally developed by the UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s. The standard practices were established in order to ensure that government agencies and private sector contracts were developed using similar terminology and methodologies. ITIL is now the most widely accepted IT-process management framework in the world.

Description of 2 Life Cycles: The Service Strategy and the Service Design Lifecycles

• The Service Strategy Lifecycle
Customers and users are the entry point of the process model.
They become involved with the process by asking for changes, needing communication and updates, having difficulties and queries, and requiring real process delivery.

End-users will first contact the service desk to find a direct solution for an incident. If the service desk cannot solve the incident, then the problem will be passed to the 2nd/3rd level group within the incident management system. Incidents can initiate a chain of processes: 1. Incident Management, 2. Problem Management, 3. Change Management, 4. Release Management, and 5. Configuration Management.

A Configuration Management Database records each process and creates output documents for traceability (Quality Management).

• The Service Design Lifecycle
This lifecycle consists of the following processes:
o Service Level Management
Provides for the identification, monitoring and review of the levels of IT services specified in service level agreements (SLAs). It is helpful in establishing metrics and monitoring against a benchmark.
   Capacity Management
This process ensures that IT Resources meet business demands.
o    IT Service Continuity Management
Ensures that the end-to-end business process can continue should a serious incident occur at the primary support level. Risk assessment, contingency plans and regular testing and revision of the plan is also a must.
o    Availability Management
This allows that organisations can sustain the IT service-availability at a justifiable cost.
o    Financial Management
The discipline of ensuring that IT infrastructure is obtained at the most effective price and calculating the cost of providing IT services so that an organisation can understand the costs of its IT services.

To find out more about the lifecycles of the ITIL process management framework, enrol in our ITIL Foundation Course.

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