ITIL, the highly recognized acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, defines the set of best practices for IT Service Management. ITIL is one of the most widely recognized and valued IT Service Management frameworks, and focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business. The ITIL Service Lifecycle divides the ITIL framework into five distinct stages to determine the best approach to designing, delivering, managing, and improving how IT is used within any organization.
Overview of the ITIL Service Lifecycle
The ITIL Service Lifecycle supports business transformation through five unique, yet complementary stages of the ITIL Service Management framework:
1. The Service Strategy stage serves to understand the organization’s objectives and customer needs.
2. The Service Design stage serves to turn the organization’s service strategy into an executable plan for delivering business objectives.
3. The Service Transition stage serves to develop and improve the organization’s capabilities for introducing new services into supported environments.
4. The Service Operation stage serves to manage the organization’s services in the supported environments.
5. The Continual Service Improvement stage serves to achieve incremental and transformational service improvements for the organization.
Each stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle relies on the principles, processes, roles, and performance measures of service. Each stage of the service lifecycle is dependent on each other for inputs. There is a constant set of checks and balances throughout the service lifecycle ensuring that as business demand and needs change, the organization can adapt and respond accordingly with their services. Let’s now review each of the stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle in more detail.
ITIL Service Strategy
At the centre of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the first and core stage, the ITIL Service Strategy stage. This stage focuses on identifying business goals and opportunities. This stage also ensures that the approach required to translate these goals into services to meet client needs is defined, implemented, and maintained. In the Service Strategy stage, the approach for the entire lifecycle is identified to provide value to customer needs through IT Service Management. This stage covers key topics such as:
- Service Value Definition
- Business Case Development
- Service Portfolio Management
- Demand Management through market analysis
- Business Relationship Management
ITIL Service Design
The second stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the ITIL Service Design stage. This stage concentrates on transforming the service strategy into a tangible plan for delivering business goals and meeting client needs. In the Service Design stage, all elements relevant to the delivery of technology services are considered. This stage considers a number of key areas like:
- How a planned service solution interacts with the larger business and technical environments;
- The service management systems required to support the service;
- The architecture required to support the planned service;
- The supply chain required in supporting the planned service.
ITIL Service Transition
The third stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the ITIL Service Transition stage. This stage focuses on bridging the gap between design and development activities (also known as projects) and operational activities (better known as business-as-usual tasks). This stage also concentrates on the changes that are being implemented into live service by bringing together all the assets within a service and ensuring these are integrated and tested collectively. This stage covers key topics such as:
- Transition Planning and Support
- Change Management
- Service Asset and Configuration Management
- Release and Deployment Management
- Service Validation and Testing
- Change Evaluation
- Knowledge Management
ITIL Service Operation
The fourth stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the ITIL Service Operation stage. This stage emphasizes on providing best practices to ensure operational excellence. At this stage services and value is directly being delivered, and operations teams are accountable for achieving an agreed level of service. This stage considers key processes such as:
- Event Management
- Access Management
- Request Fulfillment
- Problem Management
- Incident Management
ITIL Continual Service Improvement
The final stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle is the ITIL Continual Service Improvement stage. This stage focuses on aligning and re-aligning IT services to ever-changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to the IT services that support business processes. This stage works with the other four stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle to align the services to the business needs. It is critical for this stage to be planned and scheduled as a business process with supporting activities, inputs, outputs, roles, and reporting.
A comprehensive understanding of the ITIL Service Lifecycle has become increasingly important to translating best practices into exception results for any organization offering IT services. Thought Rock offers online ITIL training designed to help managers and IT professionals meet or exceed the conditions of international service guidelines. To inquire about Thought Rock’s ITIL Foundation e-learning program, we invite you to send us an email today at [email protected]