The IT Infrastructure Library – the original name for ITIL® – is, officially, not in use!
In fact, we haven’t actively used the name since the formation of AXELOS five years ago.
However, as recently as last month there was debate on Twitter about what happened to the IT Infrastructure Library.
When ITIL was founded in the 1980s, it comprised 48 books containing information about the best way to run an IT department based on a mainframe system.
In that way, it was a library of knowledge for IT infrastructure, hence the name. In time, the full title became abbreviated to ITIL.
Today, it’s no longer treated as an abbreviation but a stand-alone name for a concept known, used and trusted by millions of people around the world.
But the shift to “ITIL” wasn’t accidental or just borne out of verbal laziness! As the IT Infrastructure Library matured, the library of books eventually reduced to five and the emphasis moved to service management and the lifecycle approach, with the infrastructure element all but disappearing over the past 10 years.
And although it has become less and less connected to its original incarnation, ITIL remains relevant and stands up as a beacon of global best practice in IT service management.
In a way, it’s not dissimilar to IBM which began life as “International Business Machines” and whose business has evolved far beyond the description embodied in its first name. Like IBM, what ITIL stands for has become so much more.
As a member of the ITIL update Lead Architect Team, I’m proud to be working on the development of the new version of ITIL. With a new era and the coming of a new ITIL, we’re happy to state that ITIL is ITIL and that the IT infrastructure Library was simply part of our ongoing journey.
So, to settle the debate once and for all, to call ITIL the IT Infrastructure Library today would be both factually misleading and, frankly, rather “retro”. In the fast-changing world of IT and service management, ITIL is the name you need to remember, for today and tomorrow.