In our Publications section you can read reviews of ITIL publications that are based on the practical experience of the reviewers. They discuss what works well and potential areas for improvement.
Business and technology change continues to advance rapidly. In 2007, ITIL recognized the emerging trends towards governance of IT, risk management, standardisation, globalisation, sustainability and different sourcing strategies. Since 2007, when the ITIL Service Lifecycle books were published, trends have continued to emerge and the ITIL update incorporates the latest thinking. For example, sourcing services from multiple providers has been delivering benefits and gaining increasing support. Improvements to the ITIL guidance on multi-vendor sourcing will help a service provider to manage the challenges around governance and management of multiple providers. Maintaining a strong relationship with each provider can spread the risk and reduce costs.
The "cloud" is another emerging trend that an organisation needs to consider; the ITIL update recognises this and provides guidance around service strategies, sourcing structures and delivery models.
There are also new and updated best practices and international standards related to service management reflected in the ITIL update, including the 2011 edition of ISO/IEC 20000-1, Requirements for a Service Management System. The ITIL update provides guidance on using the ITIL common terminology and process definitions together with ISO/IEC 20000 that provides a means to determine whether a service provider has truly adopted the standard framework.
'ITIL Service Strategy' provides guidance on the importance for all organizations of a well defined business strategy, underpinned by an effective IT strategy. ITIL Service Strategy is the starting point in the ITIL service lifecycle, setting the vision, direction and many of the goals, objectives, policies, requirements and targets for the other lifecycle stages and the processes and functions within them.
Put simply, the strategy will ultimately decide and justify what services will be provided to whom, when, in what way and at what cost - easy to say, but a lot more complex to achieve!
When ITIL was first introduced in the late 1980s it rightly concentrated on the operational areas where focus was needed at that time. The scope was later widened and when the lifecycle approach was introduced it broke new ground by including guidance for the first time, regarding the vital area of service strategy. The aim of this updated version has been to provide greater clarity regarding the practical activities involved with the development, introduction and ongoing management of an effective strategy.
A clearer definition has been drawn between an organization's business strategy and its IT strategy - the business strategy (amongst other things) defines the IT strategy and the IT strategy supports the business strategy.
The processes within service strategy have now been more clearly named and defined: strategy management for IT services; service portfolio management; financial management for IT services; demand management; business relationship management.
Greater clarification has been provided around value creation with a sharper differentiation between value added and value realized, including a new table to give better examples of utility and warranty. Financial management guidance has been re-instated regarding budgeting, accounting and charging.
Business relationship management is now covered as a process as well as a role. The differentiation between business relationship management for a Type I, II and III service provider is better explained and clarified. Greater detail of how customers differ from users and consumers is provided and internal and external customers are more clearly defined and explained. The role of business units and other IT departments as customers has also been clarified; IT as an external service provider has been expanded and clarified.
More detail has been included regarding governance, including a fuller definition of what governance means, the difference between governance and management, a governance framework and how service management relates to governance.
By way of an update, some coverage has been added on how IT service management is impacted by the prevalence of cloud computing, and a new appendix has been added specifically covering service strategy and the cloud; characteristics, types, types of services, components of cloud architecture.
In summary, an effective IT strategy is essential for all IT service management organizations. It is hoped that this book now gives improved, more practical guidance on how such as strategy can be assessed, planned, implemented and managed.
'ITIL Service Design' provides guidance for the design of appropriate and innovative IT services to meet current and future agreed business requirements. It describes the principles of service design and looks at identifying, defining and aligning the IT solution with the business requirement. It also introduces the concept of the service design package and looks at selecting the appropriate service design model. This publication covers the methods, practices and tools to achieve excellence in service design. It discusses the fundamentals of the design processes and attends to what are called the 'five aspects of service design'.
The accurate identification, documentation and agreement of customer and business requirements are fundamental to the production of good service solution designs. ITIL Service Design enforces the principle that the initial service design should be driven by a number of factors, including the functional requirements, the requirements within service level agreements (SLAs), the business benefits and the overall design constraints.
Continual improvement should be embedded in all service design activities to ensure that the solutions and designs become even more effective over time, and to identify changing trends in the business that may offer improvement opportunities. Service design activities can be periodic or exception-based when they may be triggered by a specific business need or event.
The processes considered important to successful service design are design coordination, service catalogue management, service level management, availability management, capacity management, IT service continuity management, information security management and supplier management. Although these processes are described in detail in ITIL Service Design, it should be noted that almost all of them are also active throughout the other stages of the service lifecycle. All processes within the service lifecycle must be linked closely together for managing, designing, supporting and maintaining the services, the IT infrastructure, the environment, the applications and the data.
The guidance in ITIL Service Design is relevant to all IT organizations, from the smallest internal IT department to the largest external service provider, in both public and private sectors, and in all kinds of industry. It is concerned not just with the technical aspects of service design, but also with the non-technical aspects such as the design of training, documentation and communications and marketing.
Service design produces a service design package (SDP) that enables the build, test and release activities of service transition, and the operation, support and improvement activities of service operation and continual service improvement to occur.
Any IT service provider who is expected to deliver quality to the business customer must have the capability to design services that meet the customer's expectations, and then go on to continually improve further over time. The guidance in this publication will help organizations to do this consistently.
'Service Operation' is where the business finally realizes the value of their IT investments. It achieves this by delivering IT services to the business, customers and users day-to-day, ensuring that quality levels agreed with them are met or exceeded. IT delivery organizations face many challenges with this objective. Whether to focus more on being proactive versus being reactive, delivering high quality while reducing costs, or focusing on stability versus responsiveness to the business - all present a delicate balancing act that occurs every day.
This publication provides valuable guidance on meeting those challenges. Careful details are provided for organizing service delivery through the functions of operations management, technical management, and applications management integrated with the service desk that provides a key link between their activities and the business. It identifies how to link operational activities to the value of the organization and how to couple infrastructure and service management for optimum service quality and value.
Details are provided that also address the day-to-day operational activities for running an operational infrastructure. These include activities around job scheduling, backup/restore, print and output management, server and mainframe support, network management, storage management and management of databases, middleware, desktops and internet technologies. In addition, management of the physical facilities that house IT service assets is also addressed.
The cornerstone of the publication centers on the five key service operation processes that hold all of these support and delivery activities together:
In addition, this publication also provides guidance around service operation support roles, measurements, reporting and supplemental guidance with the objective of linking service operation to business value and optimum service quality.
'ITIL Service Transition' provides guidance on how to manage many different kinds of transition. Following this guidance will help to ensure that the requirements from service strategy, developed in service design, are effectively realized in service operation while controlling the risks of failure and subsequent disruption. The main focus of this publication is on the introduction of new and changed services, but the scope also includes transition of service provider capabilities such as management information systems and tools, technology and management architectures, processes, and measurement methods and metrics.
For each new or changed service, all of these aspects are defined in a service design package which is created during the service design stage of the service lifecycle and implemented during the service transition stage. ITIL Service Transition also discusses insourcing, outsourcing and retirement of services, and aspects of organization and stakeholder management needed to ensure the success of service transitions.
The configuration management system (CMS) and service knowledge management system (SKMS) described in this publication underpin all aspects of service management, throughout the entire service lifecycle. They provide controlled access to up-to-date data, information and knowledge that IT staff need to provide services and to make informed decisions, and support organizational learning and development.
Some service transition processes have a wide scope with interaction across the whole of the service lifecycle:
Other service transition processes are concerned specifically with the management of service transitions:
All of these service transition processes interact with each other, to provide value to the service provider and their customers. This value can be seen in:
The guidance in ITIL Service Transition is relevant to all IT organizations, from the smallest internal IT department to the largest external service provider, in both public and private sectors, and in all kinds of industry. It is concerned not just with operational aspects of change, but with the full lifecycle management of all aspects of service transition.
Large-scale IT change is often driven through project or programme initiatives. These may be seen to be outside 'change management', and not considered a service management concern until it is time to implement. However, experience teaches us that this approach rarely yields the best possible benefit to the business. Programme and project managers will find the guidance in ITIL Service Transition useful when planning service testing and validation, release and deployment.
'ITIL Continual Service Improvement' provides guidance for the identification of improvement opportunities in all aspects of the service lifecycle. Feedback from any stage of the service lifecycle can be used to identify improvement opportunities for any other stage of the lifecycle. ITIL Continual Service Improvement also looks at the changing business outcome requirements and suggests how these requirements can be met by the delivery of ever increasing quality IT services.
From the very beginning, one of the cornerstones of ITIL has been that improvement opportunities should be sought and implemented. An integral part of every process has been the need to measure efficiencies and effectiveness with a view of analyzing these and seeking opportunities to do it better. If we don't continually improve then effectively we are losing ground on our competitors and others in our industry. We identify our strengths and build on these to ensure they remain our strengths but even more importantly we look for areas of weakness so that we can rectify these and enhance our service provision. ITIL Continual Service Improvement offers guidance on ways to measure, review and act to identify and adopt improvements in service provision.
Specifically, ITIL Continual Service Improvement uses a number of techniques to recognize what needs improving. It is not about improvement for improvement's sake, but improvement for the benefit of the business, so any initiatives have to have a clear business case which will show either a financial return on investment or a return in the shape of value to the business of a non-financial nature. One technique used is outlined in the seven-step improvement process which monitors performance data and analyses this to ultimately turn it into knowledge and wisdom, which can be applied to improve the way we deliver our services.
Also covered in the book is the CSI approach - once the business vision is understood, then we can assess how well we are delivering against this vision, and from this an improvement road map can be produced. A number of quality measures such as the Deming Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle are looked at to ensure the appropriate ones are being utilised to support continual improvement activities.
ITIL Continual Service Improvement also looks at ways of assessing organizations and explores benchmarking an organization's maturity levels. Measuring and reporting is covered - including the balanced scorecard - as this is key to understanding where improvements can be made. "You cannot manage what you cannot measure."
If we are to consistently deliver quality services to the business customer, we must meet the customer's expectations and then improve over time. The guidance in this publication will help organizations to do this consistently.
Some time ago I reported on the ITIL 2011 update and commented that ITIL might have trouble in future if the robust logical model behind it wasn't separated from its implementation. I commented that its saviour, when the world moves from in-house services based on physical hardware that you own, to rented services owned by someone else, might be its service life-cycle model and process improvement focus.
Now I'm reading a book, associated with the ITIL 2011 update, that seems to make the ITIL service life-cycle model more accessible than perhaps it was originally: "Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle", written by Anthony Orr of BMC and published by HM Government (ISBN 978-0-11-331309-9). To me, this fits with the ITIL 2011 update's aim of making ITIL easier to use - it describes each stage in the life-cycle and how they all fit together.
The book is designed to stand alone, if necessary, although (of course) reading it in conjunction with the other volumes is recommended. It will certainly help to bring the other ITIL manuals together but I think that one of its key beneficiaries will be the generalist, working at a strategic level, trying to get his/her head around questions like "what does ITIL do for me overall?"; "how does ITIL fit with other governance-oriented initiatives such as COBIT?"; "how will our ITIL practices change when we move into the cloud?". For me, it's the missing manual that tells me what ITIL really means.
It is written in an accessible style. The second chapter, "service management as a practice", for instance, includes a set-piece conversation between an operations manager and a strategy manager about the meaning of the term "services". It also explains the difference between utility ("fit for purpose") - which people buying technology tend to over-concentrate on - and warranty ("fit for use") - which tends to become increasingly important to the people actually trying to use technology to do business. Utility is what a service does and warranty is how it is delivered, and this book explains that value comes from a combination of the two.
My speciality at Bloor is "governance" - which is not the same as compliance. I liked Orr's statement that "governance is the single overarching area that ties IT and the business together" and his definition talks about policies actually being implemented, roles, and responsibilities - rather than just ticking boxes for an auditor. I think that "governance" is a vital part of implementing ITIL and achieving business value from it.
There are chapters for all of the ITIL best-practice areas - strategy, design, transition, operation and continual service improvement. For each, it describes the area (overview), principles, processes and interfaces (inputs/outputs). These are very much, with the pretty meaty second overview chapter, the meat of this book.
There is a (short) chapter on ITIL qualifications and credentials although this doesn't cover the ITIL Software Scheme, which isn't really relevant to the Service Lifecycle but (I think) should be mentioned, together with appropriate warnings - buying ITIL-capable software can't ever deliver ITIL good practices or its service life-cycle by itself! I'm not sure that the qualifications chapter shouldn't be an appendix, anyway.
There is a useful set of appendices: example inputs/outputs across the life-cycle; where to find related guidance; and a pretty full ITIL glossary. In a world where vendors often redefine terms to suit their own marketing strategies, the ITIL glossary is an extremely useful independent reference, one that vendors still respect.
This book does not, of course, replace the full ITIL volumes - although it is a very good starting point for practitioners new to ITIL. However, for many managers and strategists it could be all the ITIL they need - and I think it could also be appropriate reading for many technology-aware business managers too. Integrating IT with the business is a two-way thing - not the sole responsibility of IT - and I think that many business managers, these days, would find "Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle" readable enough to give them an insight into the technology processes underneath most business processing.
I have just read through the newest book to carry the official ITIL logo: Collaborative Consulting by Peter Brooks. First of all let me say I liked it - and I think it will be a valuable source of sound common sense to many making the jump into consultancy in our industry.
In the second paragraph of the introduction, we are told that this book is a 'practical guide to consulting collaboratively with your stakeholders.' In fact - well to my eyes anyway - the real messages of the book are signposted even before that, in the very first paragraph, by the words 'welcome to the ….world of service management consulting.' What we have here is a book introducing some of the important aspects of, attitudes around and techniques to deliver consulting services. So … here is something for those fairly new to the game.
In my experience, many books that set out to make you better at your job, or purport to groom you for new jobs, take themselves far too seriously. Reading them, you are - tacitly or explicitly - encouraged to recreate yourself in the image of the author. That's a very hard thing to avoid, since the mere act of writing an informational book implies an invitation to imitation. And being asked to write it implies that at least one other person (presumably his commissioning editor in this case) also believes you are clever enough to tell others what to do.
And yet overall Peter has managed to avoid this, by keeping his book both broad and simply stated. In fact it answers very few questions; that, in this context, is a very good thing because instead it obliges the reader to ask themselves the right questions, the questions they must answer if they are to become their own kind of consultant. This book is packed with triggers to make the reader examine how they would approach things.
It seems to me that you know a book feels right when you keep saying to yourself - 'yeah, that's right and then you could do …..'
And that is what I found happening to me as I read it, seeing where the ideas and concepts introduced could be developed and expanded for the particular circumstances you might find yourself in. As well as a good guide for the new entrant consultant, it provides a great aide-memoire and trigger document for those managing consultants and committed to helping them develop their career.
What is actually in there? Well, the book addresses a wide spectrum of considerations for consultants, ranging from basic skills like pricing and planning through to useful concepts to master-like negotiation, personality types and common sense views on the broad concept of management. I was delighted also to see it address head-on some topics that too often get suppressed or slipped to the side, with a chapter on ethical consultancy and the advice on knowing when to walk away when necessary.
The book ends with two scenarios to illustrate the concepts. I didn't find them as useful as I thought I might, but I suspect that is because I had already read and liked the concepts advanced throughout the main body of the book. Someone actually facing the task for the first time will likely find the second scenario, based on a smaller organization, a really useful starting point for their own preparation.
This is a book written in the true - and sometimes ignored - spirit of ITIL as generic guidance to build your own work and ideas on. It is not a style guide, rather it's a vital tool for those who want to create and enhance their own style as consultants.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book as an essential tool in the armoury of new and wannabe consultants. The guidance is built around ITSM concepts but almost everything in here is good basics for anyone called upon to share their experience with customers - internal or external. Buy it and read it if you are starting out, thinking of jumping from a job actually doing to one where you help others to do. And if you are managing consultants, I think you will find some really good stuff here that could help you to help others in their consultancy roles.
One last word; I've touched on it being an ITIL book so of course it mentions ITIL a lot, but nothing in here really requires deep knowledge of ITIL, nor is its value limited in any way to ITIL devotees. The guidance and coverage is good solid generic stuff. We understand that - as part of the larger ITIL library - it must cross refer and indeed cross-sell. However, if you are not an ITL fan but still a consultant - or wannabe consultant - you will still like this book. But best read the bibliography backwards - the last three books mentioned therein are the added value, after you have waded through all the usual ITIL, PRINCE, M_o_R, etc. that turn up in every ITIL bibliography.