The rules of gentlemanly behavior in IT: the history of ITIL

    In early 2019, the ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library is waiting for the most serious update since 2011. For almost 30 years, it has been used all over the world, both in private business and in government institutions. Recall what ITIL was created for and how it changed.

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    Making ITIL: Teaching Zoo Solutions

    The first compilation of best practices for organizing IT processes was compiled in the UK in the late 1980s. To better understand where ITIL's legs grow from, it is worth making a brief excursion into the then state of the British sphere of information technology.

    In the 1980s , targeted government computerization was carried out in the UK . After some time, each government agency and private contractor developed its own methodology for managing IT processes.

    Rapidly increasing, the industry environment was utterly fragmented. Each of its elements acted according to its own rules, and the same mistakes were regularly repeated in different parts of the system, which entailed, among other things, high costs. So a single set of best practices was vital.

    At that time, there was a department in the UK that was involved in the implementation of information technologies and their unification - the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). His responsibilities included assisting private companies in developing products and services for the government. Initially, CCTA was mainly engaged in the procurement of equipment, but in the late 80s switched to the implementation of a business-oriented systems approach to IT management.

    The UK government has set before the CCTA the task of combining the best practices of organizing processes in the field of information technology - with the sole purpose of pragmatic: to increase the recoupment of government computerization costs.

    The agency, in turn, instructed the research team to collect the necessary information from representatives of about 2.5 thousand large and small enterprises in various industries. According to one of the specialists who participated in the creation of the library, the idea was to highlight the most successful developments and form a standardized approach to building routine processes that any organization could adapt to their needs in the future.

    An important role in the compilation of the code was played by IBM, which by that time had already developed its own systematic approach to the management of IT services. She called it the Information Systems Management Architecture (ISMA). Based on IBM's recommendations and largely based on ISMA, a prototype of ITIL - Government IT Infrastructure Management Method (GITIMM) was formed. The document contained several sections, including “Change Management,” “Problem Management,” and “Availability Management.”

    Later, CCTA board member Roy Dibble insisted on changing the title of the document. The words “government” and “method” were excluded from it. The first did not fit, as it was assumed that these developments would be used by private companies, and the second did not correspond to the essence of the project (since this is a set of best practices). As a result, only IT Infrastructure Management remains from the name. And in 1989, it turned into an IT Infrastructure Library, abbreviated ITIL.

    IT cookbook: three versions of ITIL

    In the same 1989, the first book of the ITIL library, IT Service Level Management , was published . New volumes came out over the next seven years. Appeared: "Change Management", "Problem Management", "Configuration Management", "Cost Management", "Availability Management" and many others. Total ITIL v1 included more than 30 books.

    Compared to future versions, ITIL v1 had a pronounced technical bias. However, this did not prevent large companies and government institutions in Europe to begin to implement it without delay. ITIL penetrated the USA in 1996 - with the opening of the first certification courses on the practices outlined in it.

    Around the British approach to the management of IT gradually formed a circle of committed individuals and organizations. Formation of community creators of the library planned from the very beginning. For the first time, it was a group of “active users”, and subsequently grew into an IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) with offices in different countries.

    In the meantime, IT management concepts have evolved. Private companies that have adopted the arsenal, now tried to connect technology with business processes, which required to simplify and update the library. Work on ITIL v2 began in the late 1990s. The first volume of the series - ITIL Service Support - was released in 2000. CCTA is now replaced by the UK Chamber of Commerce(Office for Government Commerce), and she intercepted the baton in coordinating work on the library.

    When preparing the second version of ITIL, the developers decided to limit themselves to seven volumes - each about a different aspect of the development of projects in the field of information technology. They were called “Service Support”, “Service Provisioning”, “Planning for Implementing Service Management”, “Application Management”, “Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Management”, “Security Management” and “Business Perspective”. Thus, the focus of ITIL was shifted from the technical component to the service one.

    In 2000, Microsoft used ITIL as the basis for developing the Microsoft Operations Framework.(MOF) - its set of recommendations for the effective operation of the IT infrastructure.

    The second version of ITIL remained relevant until the end of 2006. By that time, the UK State Chamber of Commerce transferred to HP the right to compile an ITIL glossary . In 2006, he was reissued. His publication marked a smooth transition to the third version of ITIL.

    An updated version of the library was released in May 2007. The number of volumes has again decreased - this time to five: "Service Strategy", "Designing Services", "Transforming Services", "Operating Services", "Continuous Improvement of Services". Each volume serves as a set of recommendations for automating processes in the relevant field and describes the necessary tools for this.

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    In the third guise of ITIL v3, 26 processes and functions are described - three times more than in the previous version. And it is even more closely related to the integration of IT into business processes.

    During this period, several more ITIL-based IT control systems were formed, besides the previously mentioned MOF: ISO 20000 standard, ITSM Reference Model from HP, Process Reference Model for IT from IBM.

    In 2011, the third version of ITIL was updated. Conceptually, it was still ITIL v3, but with a slightly reworked structure: a number of processes added, some have revised. For example, the audit has undergone the “Service Strategy”, and entities such as “management of relationships with business”, “management of strategy”, “demand management”, and “project coordination” were introduced.

    The Future of ITIL: Practices to Practitioners

    In 2013, the trademark and ITIL development rights were transferred to Axelos, a joint venture of the UK government and Capita. Axelos licenses organizations to use ITIL's intellectual property, accredits examiners and is responsible for implementing new versions of the library and updating it. This company announced the upcoming update.

    From the words of the head of Axelos it follows that ITIL 2018 will be compatible with the DevOps, Agile and Lean methodologies. The industry really needs it: many companies already combine these practices, and updating the library will simplify their mutual integration.

    The current vector of development of ITIL and its entire history is a good example of how the concept originated in the public sector, reversed stereotypes about its bureaucracy and sluggishness and formed the basis of the toolkit demanded by the largest companies from the Fortune 500 list.

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