The impending release of the third version of the IT Infrastructure Library has a lot of people talking.
A recent edition of CIO offers a story by Laurianne McLaughlin that serves as a good primer on the history of ITIL, the current version, and what improvements can be expected when the next version is released in June.
To boil it down, the article talks about ITIL being somewhat pigeon-holed as a best-practices framework for solving specific operational needs, as opposed to a strategic tool for adding business value through improved service delivery.
One of the flaws with the current version of ITIL in the eyes of people like Lee Hayes, vice president of enterprise technologies at SLM, the mortgage lender known as Sallie Mae, is it is "very descriptive, but not prescriptive."
The U.K Office of Government Commerce (ITIL's creator) hopes to remedy complaints like those with the new version. Trimmed down from the current eight books to just five core books, the updated version boasts more real-world examples, best-practice models and metrics - and emphasizes the entire IT lifecycle and ROI issues. The new version also addresses how to apply ITIL principles in outsourced operations, a growing facet of today's IT operations.
According to independent ITIL consultant Malcolm Fry, one of the benefits of implementing an ITIL framework is the ability to get to the bottom of an IT problem. "Looking for root causes is now important - you just can't keep fixing things," he said.
Overall, as George Spalding, a vice president for the consultancy Pink Elephant, stated, "ITIL drives the strategic direction that IT is about services, and it provides a definition of success."
If you are among the more than 97% of organizations that are either considering or are engaged in implementing the ITIL framework, the improvements in the third version should provide the additional guidance necessary to further accelerate your efforts.