A Guide on ITIL Process Standards

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Last updated on
18th Apr, 2022
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13rd Apr, 2022
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A Guide on ITIL Process Standards

ITIL was first developed in the late '80s by the Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency in Great Britain to achieve better quality at lower costs for improving their IT infrastructure. In its latest version, ITIL4, supports traditional IT services management along with transformative technologies like robotic automation, cloud computing, and AI. ITIL follows the standard for ISO 20000 and is currently one of the most accepted Service Management frameworks in the global market. ITIL works on the central idea of continual improvement of services, and works with leading project management methodologies and frameworks such as DevOps, Lean, Agile, PRINCE2®, and AgileSHIFT®.

As business systems get increasingly complex, information technology plays a critical role in ensuring the smooth day-to-day functioning of present-day systems. IT is virtually the backbone of business operations and delivery. Over the years, several frameworks have been explored to manage this complexity. One such framework of best practices in the IT domain we come to know is ITIL or ITIL standards. The acronym stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It is a framework that any business can adopt for its internal IT services, ensuring efficient and predictable IT services delivery. Holding an ITIL certification also opens up your IT career path for assured success. You can opt for an ITIL foundation certification course or IT service management certification to boost your career in this field.

ITIL is formally described on its official website as "an adaptable framework for managing services within the digital era. It helps optimize digital technologies to co-create value with consumers, drive business strategy, and embrace digital transformation".

ITIL | A Quick Glance

ITIL sees IT services as a part of the core business rather than a separate silo in its present form. It sees a business as a system of multiple sets of related components and activities that enable value creation. It calls this value system the ITIL Service Value System (SVS), involving 34 practices. Every business's value system is capable of interfacing with the value system of other businesses generating value for the businesses and their customers.

The 34 practices in ITIL are grouped into three major categories:

  • General Management Practices
  • Service Management Practices
  • Technical Management Practices.

The service value chain is a system of six interacting components:

  • Plan
  • Improve
  • Engage
  • Design and Transition
  • Obtain/Build
  • Deliver and Support

service value chain is a system

ITIL defines four dimensions to represent the various resources used in ITIL like people, products, processes, and suppliers.

  • Organizations and People
  • Information and Technology
  • Partners and Suppliers
  • Value Streams and Processes

Here is a quick view of the ITIL SVS, also called SVC(Service Value Chain).

These practices are well defined within the ITIL, providing a framework to effectively and efficiently manage IT services. You can use these established guidelines to manage processes and troubleshoot issues most quickly and economically.

What Is CMDB, and How Does It Fit In the ITIL Scheme?

ITIL 4 mandates that a business should keep track of their assets, including hardware, software, facilities and systems, and roles in a database called Configuration Management Database (CMDB). This CMDB stores the current configuration of these assets as per ITIL documentation standards within an organization to improve ITSM processes and positively impact business decisions. This centralized information on assets allows business leaders to understand configuration items and their relationships better. Configuration records of all assets are held through their lifecycle.

CMDBs have proven successful in impact analysis, incident management, root cause analysis, and ITIL standards change management.

With CMDB, business leadership can quickly get answers to questions like:

  1. What is the installed base for every type of hardware configuration?
  2. What is the installed base for every software configuration?
  3. What is the impact of systems or subsystems outage?
  4. How many software licenses are required?
  5. What should IT assets be purged for any terminated resource?
  6. What will be the IT assets or resources sanctioned to a new hire?

Let's explore some of the key features and benefits of the CMDB approach mandated by ITIL standards for incident management.

Improvement in Transparency and Visibility of IT Assets

Visibility of IT assets is a key requirement, especially in businesses that are scaling up or have grown to an enterprise level. With a diverse and distributed hardware asset, it is extremely important to maintain an updated database every time there is a purge in assets or new hardware is acquired. Without a CMDB system, getting to know the volume of installed hardware and software base will take days, if not weeks, and this impedes agility and quick decision-making. The CMDB approach also keeps the entire asset management system transparent as well.

Helps in Accurate Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is indispensable for change management or new deployments. Any current hardware or software dispensation change requires a thorough risk assessment that plans for unexpected events resulting in system outages. With an accurate risk assessment, the impact of outages can be kept down to a minimum. A CMDB approach helps key relationships between configuration items, the systems, users, and configuration items that may be impacted during a change. Change management teams can isolate changes in high-risk situations and clarify the impacted systems and ensure zero outage.

Effective Incident/Event Management

Incident or problem management systems can be highly efficient and effective if a current and updated CMDB is used. CMDB acts as a valuable source of facts that can be used to engage/disengage/isolate systems as part of any contingency or emergency. Incidents raised against specific configuration items can help calculate accurate levels of impact and allow the assignment of appropriate severity levels.

CMDBs also allows IT teams to tag configuration items with relevant incident reports for future tracking and knowledgebase enrichment. Incident reports attached to configuration items can help IT teams procure future assets based on the incident costs on every CI.

Isolation and Elimination of Failing Configuration Items

With a record of every incident attached to the respective configuration item, IT teams can assess the stability of IT hardware and software assets. Specific information about failing configuration items like the average time to repair, the average time to repair specific asset class, total downtime, the total derived cost of ownership, among others, are recorded with the CMDB. This stability also becomes an important factor in future decisions involving the purchase of IT assets.

ITIL Learning Paths

Now that we have a good idea of what ITIL is and what its applications are. Let's look at what it actually translates to in practice. To implement an ITIL solution in any business, you need certified practitioners and business leaders to mold the existing business processes into the framework envisaged by ITIL. Let's look at the various levels of expertise that any ITIL implementation demands.

ITIL 4 defines 2 cascading paths to expertise.

  • ITIL Foundation
  • ITIL Master

ITIL Foundation defines two separate paths:

  • ITIL Managing Professional (MP)

The following are the modules to obtain for this certification:

  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver, and Support
  • ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value
  • ITIL 4 Specialist: High-Velocity IT

The Managing Professional course leads to certification for IT professionals involved in technology and digital teams who make a business-wide impact. The Managing Professional level is ideal for those IT professionals who are involved in managing and running IT projects, creating workflows, and working with interdisciplinary teams.

  • ITIL Strategic Leader (SL)

The Strategic Leader path is suitable for professionals who engage with both the business and IT operations. The focus here is on leveraging IT operations to implement business strategies.

Both the SL and MP paths can lead you to the ITIL Master level of expertise, which is the highest certification in ITIL 4. You can train online with comprehensive programs like the Knowledgehut ITIL foundation certification course that leads to ITIL Foundation certification.

What Do ITIL Process Standards Mean in Practice?

An ITIL certification helps you demonstrate your skills in implementing best practices in the service management industry using ITSM tools. ITIL-certified professionals are in demand because of their ability to help transform businesses.

Some of the benefits of getting certified in ITIL are

  • Sound product knowledge.
  • Increased career growth prospects
  • Increased earning potential

There are 4 levels of ITIL certification

  • ITIL Foundation
  • ITIL Managing Professional
  • ITIL Strategic Leader
  • ITIL Master

ITIL Foundation

This certification helps candidates with a basic understanding of the ITIL framework, ideal for those who are planning to adopt ITIL in their business. This certification enables candidates to look at an ITSM setup from an ITIL perspective. A successful candidate should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the following.

  • Concepts of Service Management that include value creation and understanding of service relationships
  • Various dimensions of service management
  • ITIL Service Value System
  • Key ITIL practices

ITIL Managing Professional

ITIL Managing Professional certification helps you demonstrate key skills in running IT-enabled services, IT services teams, and a deep understanding of IT workflows. There are 4 courses within this certification path.

  • ITIL 4 Specialist Create, Deliver & Support (CDS)
  • ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV)
  • ITIL 4 Specialist High Velocity IT (HVIT)
  • ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan & Improve (DPI)

ITIL Strategic Leader

An ITIL Strategic Leader certification will help you demonstrate your skills in understanding how IT can be aligned to business objectives and overall strategy. You are typically required to demonstrate your skill in enabling transformation by implementing ITIL standards change process flow. There are 2 courses within this certification path.

  • ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan & Improve (DPI)
  • ITIL 4 Leader Digital & IT Strategy (DITS)

ITIL Master

This certification validates your ability to apply techniques, principles, and methods from the ITIL framework in your workplace. You would have to personally explain how you have selected and applied the ITIL framework's knowledge, principles, methods, and techniques in your work area or a few practical assignments.

Tools for Implementing ITIL

As you know already, ITIL is a framework of best practices in the IT domain of any business. You will need to implement this framework through the use of ITIL-compliant software tools designed to tackle one or many areas of practice. ITIL can be used by any business that provides an ITSM product or service. Software tools like Web Help Desk, SolarWinds Service Desk, and ServiceNow are good examples of ITIL compliant software tools. Both Web Help Desk and SolarWinds Service Desk are tools that can help implement the service management part of the ITIL framework.

Tools that conform to ITIL standards for incident management, like Remedy, ServiceCenter, or RequestTracker, follow a ticketing system. Tools like FobBugz and Bugzilla can help you out with the problem management end of your ITIL framework.

Successful Global Implementations of ITIL

According to Axelos, Spotify, the largest subscription-based music streaming service, has adopted the ITIL framework to streamline its IT infrastructure.

The key to Spotify's success is speed. The speed with which it delivers content and its agility in adapting to specific listener needs. A successful ITIL implementation helped Spotify reduce any friction in the IT space and enabled it to deliver excellent streaming service to millions of its customers across the globe.

Axelos, the business entity that owns licensing authority of ITIL, publishes case studies on ITIL implementations on its website. You can find the latest case studies on ITIL standards and best practices from Axelos at AXELOS Content Hub.

The Career Impact

ITIL certification needs a significant amount of preparation and handholding, particularly if you are not familiar with terms used frequently in the IT world. You must take your ITIL training and certification through an accredited training organization.

Knowledgehut, a trusted partner among online learning portals, offers courses in ITIL Foundation and ITSM. The ITIL foundation certification course is an Axelos accredited training organization (ATO). Knowledgehut also offers training and IT Service Management Certification.

The course fee includes the examination fee and lifetime access to the courseware in both cases.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is ITIL a standard or a framework?

ITIL is more of a framework than a standard, and it can be considered a set of best practices to manage ITSM tools.

What is the difference between ITIL and ITSM?

ITSM is the actual service management software that lets you take in requests, manage tickets, and so on, while ITIL acts as a guideline, a framework of best practices to help manage IT service delivery most efficiently and effectively.

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