ITIL Service Lifecycle

 ITIL v3 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is the latest iteration of the popularly accepted and trusted source of best practices for IT Service Management. The ITIL framework has helped organizations throughout the world develop a practical, holistic approach to IT service management in that it is both vendor-neutral and non-prescriptive. ITIL is vendor-neutral in that it’s not based on any specific platform or technology within the industry but rather it’s principles and practices can be applied to any IT organization regardless of what proprietary technology they may be using. By the same token, ITIL isn’t prescriptive meaning organizations shouldn’t regard ITIL to be a checklist of practices and once you’ve checked every box your organization is ITIL aligned. ITIL constitutes a framework of best practices for organizations to refer to. To get the most out of ITIL, organizations need to adopt practices that make sense within the context of their business rather than focusing on every single ITIL process.

With the advent of ITIL v3, ITIL remains the leading IT best practices framework looking at IT service management through the concept of the ITIL Service Lifecycle. The ITIL Service Lifecycle emphasizes the cruciality of coordination and control between the processes, functions, and systems an organization uses to deliver services.

Service Strategy constitutes the core of all ITIL processes and determines the direction and organizational capabilities to deliver service. Your Service Strategy designs and executes an organization’s approach to meet their business needs to deliver service.

Service Design converts an organization’s Service Strategy into a plan of action for delivering services to their customers. It’s imperative that these design services follow the objectives and requirements set forth in Service Strategy to ensure the resulting services provide business value. Proper Service Design means designing services so effectively that they require minimal improvement/upkeep once they are transitioned into the live environment. This stage of the lifecycle outlines how businesses create value for their customers and enable an organization to deliver cost-effective quality services to their customers.

Service Transition translates the objectives set forth in Service Strategy as designed in Service Design into production in the form of services while simultaneously managing the risks and disruptions associated with service development. At this stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, organizations transition new/changed services into the live operational environment all the while mitigating the risks of development and production. Service Transition is responsible for ensuring service changes create the expected business value and making sure the deployment of these new services is successful.

Service Operation is a best-practice guide to managing your services within a live operational environment. This stage of the lifecycle takes the objectives outlined in Service Strategy, the plan created in Service Design and the lessons learned in Service Transition and incorporates them into the delivery of service to your customers. This is where an organization will realize its strategic objectives and the knowledge gained here will help streamline service delivery in a live environment.

Continual Service Improvement takes the lessons learned in Service Operation and makes the effort to align and realign IT services to the ever-changing business needs and objectives. At this stage of the lifecycle, organizations maintain an ongoing effort to identify and implement changes and improvements to their business model. According to the ITIL framework, “If it isn’t broke; don’t fix it” doesn’t apply because there’s always room for improvement. Any organization that isn’t constantly trying to improve their efforts in each stage of the lifecycle is doomed to stagnate and die. As a result, CSI activities should be incorporated into an organization’s day-to-day functions represented by CSI encircle the rest of the lifecycle stages. The cyclical nature of the ITIL framework emphasizes that this is an unending, ongoing effort that every organization should strive to achieve.

The ITIL Service Lifecycle provides a graphical representation of best practices in IT Service Management. These stages group different aspects and efforts undergone by companies to create value for their customers. To reiterate, this shouldn’t be regarded as a checklist of activities for organizations to undertake but rather constitute a framework of best practices for organizations to adopt as they see fit. One of the hallmarks of ITIL is that organizations can create quality, cost-effective services that create value for your customers.