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Chief ITIL architect Sharon Taylor and Ken Turbitt of BMC Software team up to give you the skinny on ITIL v3.
Oct 4, 2007

Ken Turbitt,Sharon Taylor

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) version 3 (v3) books have hit the streets. As you and your staff become familiar with the v3 practices, you will probably have many questions: Will this new version provide better guidance to help the IT organization work more efficiently, even in a cost-constrained environment? Will it speed IT implementations and make deployments run more smoothly? How will current ITIL processes be affected?

While there are many differences between the ITIL version 2 (v2) and v3, the newest version represents more of an evolution than a revolution. Major changes include:

  • A transition from aligning IT with the business to integrating IT into the business.
  • A new focus on service lifecycle management.
  • Enhancements that make process more versatile.
  • The introduction of services as assets .
  • Clear measurement of return on investment (ROI) and return on value (ROV).
  • From Alignment to Integration

    The underlying philosophy of v2 is the alignment of technology with business objectives and the creation of a common language to facilitate communication between IT and business owners. v3 takes a quantum leap with respect to the IT/business relationship. The new philosophy is one of integrating IT with the business.

    As the distinction between IT and the business blurs, and the language of the business replaces the language of IT, communication with business managers is easier. In addition, you gain visibility into the relationship of technology to services and business processes so you can make decisions based on business impact.

    A Lifecycle Approach

    One of the shortcomings of v2 is that each process has its own module. This modularity prevents you from viewing activities in terms of the lifespan of a service. v3, in contrast, helps you think more strategically across the full lifespan of a service.

    The new guidelines define five stages of the service lifecycle: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement. The new model contains the processes you need to manage services within this lifecycle structure. The objective of every stage is to produce business value.

    v3 promotes a flexible model for service provisioning using a value network approach. It also introduces the concept of adaptable models. This is a key component of service transition, in which guidance is offered for selecting a fit-for-purpose model for each type of service transition that moves from design into the live environment. Adaptable models make it possible to respond quickly to rapidly changing business requirements.

    Finally, improvement is no longer viewed as the last process event in service provision. Instead, continual service improvement has evolved to exert influence throughout the service lifecycle by identifying triggers for improvement at every stage of service management.

    Process Changes and Enhancements

    Processes have been enhanced in v3 to operate in a lifecycle context. Gaps have been eliminated and practices have become more versatile. Here are just a few examples:

  • The service request activity has been removed from the incident process and reinstated as a separate request fulfillment process.
  • Event management provides formal process elements to proactively manage potential service issues before they become incidents, and to more quickly recognize issues that are incidents.
  • Change management processes have been overhauled to leverage adaptive models to suit change types.
  • Change management has been streamlined and updated to permit change while retaining the risk-mitigation elements.
  • Release and deployment management has undergone extensive changes to expand its focus to include all areas of release and deployment, including infrastructure, applications, services, and project initiatives.
  • Services Become Assets

    v3 introduces the concept of services as assets. Service assets consist of utility and warranty. Utility is the service itself. It is provided by a combination of people, processes, and technology. An online retail order-entry service and an online company health plan enrollment service are utility examples.

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