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Five years ago, no one outside the United Kingdom
had heard about ITIL. Now, it seems like you can’t pick up a trade magazine
without someone mentioning it. But despite all the buzz, many IT pros don’t
fully understand what ITIL is all about. Here are the highlights.

#1: ITIL stands for the Information Technology
Infrastructure Library

ITIL contains a comprehensive set of best practices that are
used to develop and execute IT service management. It offers a number of benefits,
including increased competitive advantage through cost reduction, growth, and
agility; more business efficiency through streamlining of IT processes;
enhanced IT value through business and IT operational and goal alignment; and
improved internal customer and user satisfaction.

#2: The organization body that supports ITIL is located in the United

The overall ITIL approach has been available since the late
1980s and has been published on the Internet for years. However, it was largely
unknown in the United States until a critical mass of large companies and media
publications started to take notice. More than 10,000 organizations worldwide
have now adopted ITIL.

#3: ITIL consists of a series of books giving guidance and recommendations

ITIL is undergoing some updates and restructuring to reflect
technology changes. The books now encompass the following areas:

#4: To be successful, ITIL stresses the need for a strong executive sponsor

Implementing ITIL practices is a culture change initiative.
People are going to complain about having to do things differently than they
did in the past. You need a strong sponsor to push the change. If you don’t
have one, don’t attempt the implementation–or look for limited success.

#5: ITIL is not project management

ITIL does not focus on creating things like projects do.
Instead it focuses on delivering IT services to the company.

#6: Despite its popularity, little content is available on ITIL

ITIL is a set of approaches and best practices. It is a
model for IT service delivery. It does contain some processes and templates,
but it is not a methodology and does not contain all the implementation
details. Companies that want to use ITIL can follow the overall guidelines and
then develop the more detailed processes that make sense for the individual

#7: ITIL is not a tool

You can implement many aspects of ITIL using tools, but tools
are not required. If your organization is small, simple templates and
spreadsheets may be all you need. If your organization is large, you may need
to find appropriate software tools to help.

#8: ITIL is not an all-or-nothing proposition

Since ITIL is a series of approaches in different areas, a
company can implement some or the entire overall model. There is no rule that
you have to implement everything.

#9: You can implement ITIL in stages

There is also no rule that you have to implement the entire
ITIL model at once. Many organizations implement ITIL in phases over a period
of time.

#10: You can be certified in ITIL

There are three levels of ITIL certification:

  • Foundation. This level means you understand the terms and have a basic knowledge
    of the ITIL model.
  • Practitioner. This level means that you understand the model to a degree necessary
    to apply the specific and correct ITIL processes where applicable.
  • Manager. This level is available for practitioners who will be
    managing ITIL service management functions.