The 5 stages of ITIL

If you deliver IT services to customers, you should be familiar with ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library®). It’s the most widely adopted IT service management (ITSM) framework in the world, detailing practices that enable you to provide IT services that are better aligned with your organisation’s business needs.

There are many benefits of adopting ITIL, but for an in-depth discussion about how it helps organisations, let’s take a look at each of the framework’s five stages.

  1. Service strategy

The service strategy stage forms the basis of an organisation’s ITSM framework, providing direction for the other four stages. It determines which services the organisation will offer and what capabilities need to be developed, covering:

  • The definition of markets;
  • Development of strategic assets;
  • Preparation of deployment; and
  • Definition of offers.
  1. Service design

This is the stage where organisations plan and design their IT strategies, as well as make improvements to existing ones. It covers many management issues, including:

  • Service cataloguing;
  • Service levels;
  • Capacity;
  • Availability;
  • Service continuity;
  • Information security; and
  • Supplier management processes.
  1. Service transition

This is where organisations build, test and implement their new designs. By following these steps and rectifying issues that arise, organisations can ensure that there are no disruptions to their services. This is particularly important when modifying existing services.

The transition process should cover:

  • Transition planning and support;
  • Change management;
  • Release and deployment management;
  • Service validation and testing evaluation; and
  • Knowledge management processes (discovery, capture, sharing and application).
  1. Service operation

After the services have been validated, they are put into a live environment. Even though the organisation would have corrected any issues it encountered, new ones are bound to arise when customers start using the service. Therefore, organisations need to closely monitor each service’s delivery, and be prepared to:

  • Fulfil user requests;
  • Resolve service failures;
  • Fix problems; and
  • Carry out routine operational tasks.
  1. Continual service improvement

Organisations should never be content with the quality of their services, as there will always be snags and things that can be improved. The final stage of ITIL addresses this, instructing organisations to identify and analyse potential improvements in any of the four previous stages.

When carrying out continual service improvement, organisations should follow the seven-step improvement process:

  1. Define what should be measured.
  2. Define what can’t be measured.
  3. Gather data, either manually or with measuring tools.
  4. Process the data, i.e. sort it into something quantifiable.
  5. Analyse the data.
  6. Present the data to the appropriate audience (the business, IT management or internal management).
  7. Implement the corrective action(s).

Become an ITIL expert

Our ITIL® Foundation (2 Day) Training Course teaches you the key facts about implementing ITIL. The course outlines the ITIL lifecycle; explains the terminology you need to know; raises your awareness of the selected processes, functions and roles involved in the framework; and helps you prepare and practise for the ITIL Foundation exam.

The course is ideal for those who require a basic understanding of ITIL, and IT professionals working within an organisation that has adopted ITIL.

Looking for more help with ITIL? Take a look at our ITIL books and toolkits >>