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ITIL, formerly[1] an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a set of detailed practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business.

ITIL describes processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists which are neither organization-specific nor technology-specific, but can be applied by an organization toward strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency. It allows the organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement, and measure. It is used to demonstrate compliance and to measure improvement. There is no formal independent third party compliance assessment available for ITIL compliance in an organization. Certification in ITIL is only available to individuals. Since 2013, ITIL has been owned by AXELOS, a joint venture between Capita and the UK Cabinet Office.[2] AXELOS licenses organizations to use the ITIL intellectual property, accredits licensed examination institutes, and manages updates to the framework. Organizations that wish to implement ITIL internally do not require this license.

Although ITIL underpins ISO/IEC 20000 (previously BS 15000), the International Service Management Standard for IT service management, there are some differences between the ISO 20000 standard, ICT Standard by IFGICT and the ITIL framework.


Responding to growing dependence on IT, the UK Government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the 1980s developed a set of recommendations designed to standardise IT management practices across government functions, built around a process model-based view of controlling and managing operations often credited to W. Edwards Deming and his plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.[3]

  • In April 2001, the CCTA was merged into the OGC, an office of the UK Treasury.[4]
  • In 2006, the ITIL Version 2 glossary was published.
  • In May 2007, this organization issued ITIL Version 3 (also known as the ITIL Refresh Project) consisting of 26 processes and functions, now grouped into only 5 volumes, arranged around the concept of Service lifecycle structure. ITIL Version 3 is now known as ITIL 2007 Edition.
  • In 2009, the OGC officially announced that ITIL Version 2 certification would be withdrawn and launched a major consultation as per how to proceed.[5]
  • In July 2011, the 2011 edition of ITIL was published, providing an update to the version published in 2007. The OGC is no longer listed as the owner of ITIL, following the consolidation of OGC into the Cabinet Office.

The ITIL 4 Edition starts with the ITIL Foundation book, which was released on February 18, 2019.


While a number of researchers have investigated the benefits of the ITIL implementation,[6][7] it has been criticised on several fronts, including:

  • the books are not affordable for non-commercial users
  • implementation and accreditation requires specific training
  • debate over ITIL falling under BSM or ITSM frameworks
  • the ITIL details are not aligned with the other frameworks like ITSM

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Hearsum, Phil (2018-06-04). "ITIL's the name - you won't wear it out!". AXELOS. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  2. ^ White, Sarah K.; Greiner, Lynn (January 18, 2019). "What is ITIL? Your guide to the IT Infrastructure Library". CIO.
  3. ^ David Clifford; Jan van Bon (2008). Implementing ISO/IEC 20000 Certification: The Roadmap. ITSM Library. Van Haren Publishing. ISBN 978-90-8753-082-2.
  4. ^ Office of Government Commerce (UK). CCTA and OGC. Retrieved on 2005-05-05 from
  5. ^ Office of Government Commerce (UK). Retrieved on 2009-08-19 from
  6. ^ Marrone, Mauricio; Kolbe, Lutz M. (2011-01-15). "Impact of IT Service Management Frameworks on the IT Organization". Business & Information Systems Engineering. 3 (1): 5–18. doi:10.1007/s12599-010-0141-5. ISSN 1867-0202.
  7. ^ Pollard, Carol; Cater-Steel, Aileen (2009-04-14). "Justifications, Strategies, and Critical Success Factors in Successful ITIL Implementations in U.S. and Australian Companies: An Exploratory Study". Information Systems Management. 26 (2): 164–175. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/10580530902797540. ISSN 1058-0530.

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