What is the ITIL library and why does your company need it

The rapid growth in the importance of information technology for business requires more attention to the organization and implementation of the provision of IT services. Today, information technology is used not only to solve local problems in the organization, they are also involved in the development of its business strategy. The importance of these tasks required the development of a fundamentally new approach to the problem of systematizing the accumulated information. For these purposes, an ITIL library was created that describes the best practices for providing IT services. Thus, IT specialists were able to use the best practices in their work, improving the quality of service delivery.


Why is this needed?

Every year, information technology (IT) plays an increasingly important role in business. IT allows the organization to be competitive, as it provides tools to help collect, process, store and analyze large amounts of information for further business decisions. Those companies that have better knowledge of information technology show better results, as they have a competitive advantage in the form of a tool that allows you to use existing data to maximize benefits. Thus, IT is a means of increasing the efficiency of the entire organization.

For several decades, business informatization has played an increasingly important role in the effective functioning of companies. At different stages of the existence of IT, many attempts were made to use them in business processes, and not all of them turned out to be effective. So there was a need to accumulate world experience in using IT in doing business, which was eventually implemented in the form of an ITIL library containing a methodology for managing and improving business processes related to IT in one way or another. The ITIL library can be used both by companies providing IT services, and by individual divisions of companies of other profiles that provide IT work for the entire organization. ITIL guidelines are used in an approach to managing and organizing IT services such as ITSM.

What is ITIL?

The IT infrastructure library (ITIL library) or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a series of books containing a set of guides for managing, debugging, and continually improving business processes related to IT.

The first edition of the library, commissioned by the British government, was created in 1986-1989, and began to be published in 1992, and the last, third version, ITIL V3, was released in 2007. The latest edition of the library, released in 2011, consists of 5 volumes. At the beginning of 2019, a harbinger of the fourth version of the V4 library was released, the full version of which the developer AXELOS will release approximately in a year.

Structure and content of the ITIL library

When developing the third edition, a new approach to the formation of its content was used, the so-called "service life cycle". Its essence is that each volume of the library focuses on a certain phase of the “life cycle”. Since there are five phases of this cycle according to the ITIL library, there are also five books that it contains:

  • Strategy of services (Service Strategy);
  • Design of services (Service Design);
  • Transformation of services (Service Transition);
  • Operation of services (Service Operation);
  • Continuous Service Improvement


The first phase of the Service Strategy helps the business to understand who its target audience is, what their needs are, and therefore what services they need, what equipment they need to provide these services, and the development of requirements for their implementation. Also, as part of the Service Strategy, work is constantly being adjusted to understand whether the price of the service corresponds to the values ​​that the client can receive from this service.

The next phase is the Service Design phase, which allows you to make sure that the service fully meets the expectations of the client.

The Service Transformation phase is responsible for the production and successful implementation of the service required by the client. At this level, testing, quality control, product sales, etc.

This is followed by the exploitation of services, in which there is a planned production of services, the work of a support service to solve local problems, the accumulation of a database of uniform problems to further improve the quality of service delivery.

The last phase is the Continuous Improvement of Services, which is responsible for changes and improvements at all stages of the production of the service and for the efficiency of all organization processes.

These five phases are the skeleton of the service life cycle structure, the key concepts that can be operated on in the context of the ITIL library.

Each phase (and, accordingly, the book) covers various aspects of business management. Examples include demand management, financial management in the field of IT services, supply chain management and many others.

Principles of using the ITIL library

Since ITIL is one of the key points in applying an approach such as ITSM in business management, the basic principles of using the library stem from the philosophy of ITSM. The main idea of ​​the ITSM approach is to shift the focus from technology to the services provided. The ITSM approach assumes that instead of technology, the organization should focus on customers and services. Thus, the business needs to concentrate on what opportunities and results of technology are able to give the client, what values ​​the business is able to create, how the business can improve.

The ten key principles taken from the ITIL Practitioner Guidance guide, sponsored by Kaimar Karu and other library developers, are listed below:

  • Focus on values;
  • Design for practice;
  • Start from where you are right now;
  • Approach work holistically;
  • Move forward iteratively;
  • Watch processes directly;
  • Be transparent;
  • Interact;
  • Main principle: simplicity;
  • Put these principles into practice.

We can conclude that these principles, which are key for ITIL, in one form or another can be applied to other approaches and methodologies in business management, product development, etc. (Lean, agile and others), which only confirms that these principles work. Since the ITIL library has encompassed many years of experience in many organizations, these principles have become the basis for effective business.

Since these principles are relatively nonspecific, they, as a tool, possess such quality as flexibility. One of the main points when working with ITIL is as follows: "Adopt and adapt", that is, "Accept and adapt."

“Accept” refers to the adoption by the business of the ITIL philosophy, a shift in focus to customers and services. The “Fit” thesis implies the thoughtful use of ITIL best practices and their adaptation to the needs of a particular business.

Thus, a commitment to an ITIL-compliant approach, using library guidelines, can change and significantly improve various organization processes.

So, the conclusions

ITIL takes a new approach to the development and provision of IT services, which addresses the entire IT service life cycle. This systematic approach to managing IT services allows businesses to make the best use of the opportunities that the ITIL library provides: manage risks, develop a product, improve customer relationships, optimize costs, speed up the flow of processes, increase the number of services due to the competent development of the IT environment.

As business conditions are constantly changing, the ITIL library must also be changed and improved in order to best meet all the requirements that the modern world makes. At the beginning of 2019, a new version of the ITIL library is planned to be released, and the application of its guidelines in practice will show in which direction the business and its processes will develop further.


Cartlidge A., Chakravarthy J., Rudd C., Sowerby JA Operational Support and Analysis ITIL Intermediate Capability Handbook. - London, TSO, 2013 .-- 179 p.
Karu K. ITIL Practitioner Guidance. - London, TSO, 2016 .-- 434 p.

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