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ITIL and good practice in Service Management

The context of this publication is the ITIL Framework as a source of good practice in Service Management. ITIL is used by organizations worldwide to establish and improve capabilities in Service Management. ISO/IEC 20000 provides a formal and universal standard for organizations seeking to have their Service Management capabilities audited and certified. While ISO/IEC 20000 is a standard to be achieved and maintained, ITIL offers a body of knowledge useful for achieving the standard.

The ITIL Library has the following components:

  • The ITIL Core – best practice guidance applicable to all types of organizations who provide services to a business
  • The ITIL Complementary Guidance – a complementary set of publications with guidance specific to industry sectors, organization types, operating models and technology architectures.

The ITIL Core consists of five publications (Figure 1.3). Each provides the guidance necessary for an integrated approach, as required by the ISO/IEC 20000 standard specification:

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement.

Figure 1.3 ITIL Core

Each publication addresses capabilities having direct impact on a service provider’s performance. The structure of the Core is in the form of a lifecycle. It is iterative and multidimensional. It ensures organizations are set up to leverage capabilities in one area for learning and improvements in others. The Core is expected to provide structure, stability and strength to Service Management capabilities with durable principles, methods and tools. This serves to protect investments and provide the necessary basis for measurement, learning and improvement.

The guidance in ITIL can be adapted for use in various business environments and organizational strategies. The Complementary Guidance provides flexibility to implement the Core in a diverse range of environments. Practitioners can select Complementary Guidance as needed to provide traction for the Core in a given business context, much like tyres are selected based on the type of vehicle, purpose and road conditions. This is to increase the durability and portability of knowledge assets and to protect investments in Service Management capabilities. Service Strategy

The Service Strategy publication provides guidance on how to design, develop and implement Service Management, not only as an organizational capability but also as a strategicasset. Guidance is provided on the principles underpinning the practice of Service Management, which are useful for developing Service Management policies, guidelines and processes across the ITIL Service Lifecycle. Service Strategy guidance is useful in the context of Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. Topics covered in Service Strategy include the development of markets – internal and external, service assets, Service Catalogue, and implementation of strategy through the Service Lifecycle. Financial Management, Service Portfolio Management, Organizational Development and Strategic Risks are among other major topics.

Organizations use the guidance to set objectives and expectations of performance towards serving customers and market spaces, and to identify, select and prioritize opportunities. Service Strategy is about ensuring that organizations are in a position to handle the costs and risks associated with their Service Portfolios, and are set up not just for operational effectiveness but also for distinctive performance. Decisions made with respect to Service Strategy have far-reaching consequences, including those with delayed effect.

Organizations already practising ITIL use this volume to guide a strategic review of their ITIL-based Service Management capabilities and to improve the alignment between those capabilities and their business strategies. This volume of ITIL encourages readers to stop and think about why something is to be done before thinking of how. Answers to the first type of questions are closer to the customer’s business. Service Strategy expands the scope of the ITIL Framework beyond the traditional audience of IT Service Management professionals. Service Design

The Service Design publication provides guidance for the design and development of services and Service Management processes. It covers design principles and methods for converting strategic objectives into portfolios of services and service assets. The scope of Service Design is not limited to new services. It includes the changes and improvements necessary to increase or maintain value to customers over the lifecycle of services, the continuity of services, achievement of service levels and conformance to standards and regulations. It guides organizations on how to develop design capabilities for Service Management. Service Transition

The Service Transition publication provides guidance for the development and improvement of capabilities for transitioning new and changed services into operations. This publication provides guidance on how the requirements of Service Strategy encoded in Service Design are effectively realized in service operations while controlling the risks of failure and disruption. The publication combines practices in Release Management, Programme Management and risk management, and places them in the practical context of Service Management. It provides guidance on managing the complexity related to changes to services and Service Management processes – preventing undesired consequences while allowing for innovation. Guidance is provided on transferring the control of services between customers and service providers. Service Operation

This publication embodies practices in the management of service operations. It includes guidance on achieving effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery and support of services so as to ensure value for the customer and the service provider. Strategic objectives are ultimately realized through service operations, therefore making it a critical capability. Guidance is provided on how to maintain stability in service operations, allowing for changes in design, scale, scope and service levels. Organizations are provided with detailed process guidelines, methods and tools for use in two major control perspectives: reactive and proactive. Managers and practitioners are provided with knowledge allowing them to make better decisions in areas such as managing the availability of services, controlling demand, optimizing capacity utilization, scheduling operations and fixing problems. Guidance is provided on supporting operations through new models and architectures such as shared services, utility computing, internet services and mobile commerce. Continual Service Improvement

This publication provides instrumental guidance in creating and maintaining value for customers through better design, transition and operation of services. It combines principles, practices and methods from quality management, Change Management and capability improvement. Organizations learn to realize incremental and large-scale improvements in service quality, operational efficiency and business continuity. Guidance is provided for linking improvement efforts and outcomes with service strategy, design, transition and operation. A closed-loop feedback system, based on the Plan–Do–Check–Act (PDCA) model specified in ISO/IEC 20000, is established and capable of receiving inputs for change from any planning perspective.



The aim of this publication is to give the reader guidance on using recommended practices when designing IT services and IT Service Management processes.

This publication follows on from the Service Strategy publication, which provides guidance on alignment and integration of the business needs to IT. It enables the reader to assess the requirements when designing a service, and documents industry best practice for the design of IT services and processes.

Although this publication can be read in isolation, it is recommended that it be used in conjunction with the other ITIL publications. The guidance in the ITIL publications is applicable generically. It is neither bureaucratic nor unwieldy if utilized sensibly and in full recognition of the business needs of the organization. Service Design is important for setting the stage to deliver services effectively to the business and meet the demand for growth and change. Enhancement is typically greater in cost and resource than development. Significant consideration should therefore be given to designing for the ease and economy of support over the whole lifecycle, but more importantly it is not possible to completely re-engineer a service once in production. It may be possible to get close, but it will be impossible to get back to a design once something is running. Retrofitting the design is difficult and costly and never achieves what could have been achieved if designed




This publication is relevant to anyone involved in the design, delivery or support of IT services. It will have relevance to the IT Architect, IT managers and practitioners at all levels. All the publications in the ITIL Service Management Core Library need to be read to fully appreciate and understand the overall lifecycle of services and of IT Service Management.

There are several ways of delivering an IT service, such as in-house, outsourced and partnership. This publication is generally relevant to all methods of service provision. So those involved in delivering IT services – within their own organization, in outsourced service provision or working in partnerships – will find that this publication is applicable to them. Business managers may find the publication helpful in understanding and establishing best practice IT services and support. Managers from supplier organizations will also find this publication relevant when setting up agreements for the delivery and support of services.

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