A Quick Start Guide to ITIL Processes

08/01/2017 by: Jaime Spector

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog lately (if not, you can subscribe on the sidebar), you’d probably notice that we’ve been on bit of an ITIL kick lately. And why not? ITIL is, after all, instrumental in its ability to plan, strategize, implement, manage and govern IT services for the vast majority of enterprise IT organizations. If you want to learn more of the importance of ITIL, check out Frank App’s most recent article on the subject.

So at this point, you might already know what ITIL is and why so many in our industry take it as gospel, however, are you up on the basic foundations of the framework? How can you get started on what will ultimately guide the people, processes and technologies used within your organization? If you're thinking about integrating agile into your ITIL processes, it's probably best to have a firm grasp on the basics.

Read below for a quick start guide to ITIL processes and learn more about the five stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle:

1. ITIL Service Strategy

Sitting firmly in the center of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the first stage known as the Service Delivery stage. This is where the majority of the 2011 updates were made, and in short, this stage gives strategic direction for aligning the delivery of IT services with the overall needs of the business. It is the preliminary step that ensures that the IT strategy of the organization is properly defined, maintained and implemented so that it does not fall out of the scope with the costs and risks associated with the organization’s service portfolio.

The Service Strategy stage is essentially the business case for the ITSM solution. It’s where the Executive Managers weigh the costs, set priorities, and make critical decisions that will determine the long-term success of the implementation over time.

2. ITIL Service Design

Moving on to the second stage, the Service Design stage puts the plan into action. Following up on the groundwork laid in the Service Strategy stage, the Service Design stage focuses on the scope of services that will be delivered, the design architecture of the IT service delivery model that will be used, the coordination of IT activities, processes and resources, measurement and control of services, and more.

This stage does not only focus on the implementation of new services within the scope of the implementation. It also includes any improvements or changes to existing services that may be necessary to better align with business and compliance requirements.

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3. ITIL Service Transition

Once the framework has been strategized and properly mapped out in the first two stages, the next step is to focus on the transition of new or modified services as they move into operation. The ITIL Service Transition stage does just that, as it sets up processes that manage the deployment of IT services into the live environment. This stage uses carefully coordinated efforts to make sure that infrastructure dependent items related to IT changes, testing, validation, configuration, project management etc., are carefully facilitated, managed and handled without issue. It also utilizes Knowledge Management by gathering data, making insights, and improving service efficiency through information collected over time.

Think of this stage as the quality control portion of the lifecycle, as it works to keep operations running smoothly and properly maintains all of the organization’s tightly integrated assets and services.

4. ITIL Service Operation

Now we’re getting to the nitty gritty of what people generally mean when they’re referring to the Service Desk. The ITIL Service Operation stage handles the daily operations associated with the delivery of IT services. It refers directly to processes that manage applications, incidents, controls and functions, events, service requests, facilities, access and more.

This is the stage that typically manages the interaction between IT and end user requests. It also features the ITIL processes that support the administration and business teams.

5. Continual Service Improvement

The last stage in the Lifecycle is the Continual Service Improvement stage. This is stage works constantly in tandem with the other four stages to continuously improve and align IT services with the needs of the business. It is here that process evaluation initiatives are executed such as the review of all business, IT and infrastructure services, evaluation of processes, and more.

This stage is critical in that process and operations must constantly be monitored and evaluated in order to maintain the effectiveness of the plans laid out in the Service Strategy stage.

And there you have, a brief refresher on the Service Lifecycle and a closer look at the ITIL processes involved. If you’re interested in learning more, read our blog about achieving your ITIL v3 certification, or visit AXELOS website for more details about the ITIL framework.

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