ITIL® 4 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)

The basics

ITIL® is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world; it focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business.


ITIL was created in the 1980s by the UK government’s CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) with the objective of ensuring better use of IT services and resources.

ITIL is now owned by AXELOS: the current version is ITIL 4 (published February 2019), which updates ITIL v3/2011.

ITIL focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business and is supported by quality services from a wide range of providers including examination institutes, accredited training providers and consultancies, software and tool vendors. ITIL provides a structured approach to one of the most important support domains for modern business: the provision of information technology services for the improvement of business results. The new ITIL 4 guidance supports modern ways of delivering value in a co-creation effort of stakeholders, using an Agile approach in a customer-focused setting. This supports modern technologies, including DevOps and cloud computing. Its holistic approach not only supports the management of IT services, but now also supports other domains, enabling theintegration of IT with the business and with other support domains.


Target audience

IT service providers and IT professionals in a wide range of roles.

Scope and constraints

The ITIL service value system (Figure 1) is a model demonstrating how all the components and activities of an organization work together to facilitate value creation through IT-enabled services. The ITIL service value chain (Figure 2) is a set of interconnected activities that an organization performs to deliver a valuable product or service to its consumers and to facilitate value realization. It provides an operating model for

service providers that covers six key activities, applying practices to continually improve the enabled values.



•   Universally accepted as the good practice guidance for IT Service Management, with process and service focus

•   Supported by a vast community of ITIL practitioners, gathered around itSMF (IT Service Management Forum)



When implementing ITIL-based IT Service Management processes in an IT provider organization, the most common pitfalls are:


•   Narrow focus on the IT Unit’s technology and process perspectives to gain incremental improvements; the organization should be embarking on a radical transformation journey to run IT as a business

•   Failing to do an assessment before implementing ITIL practices; identifying how the current organization structure compares to the ITIL framework and the changes that will be needed to the organization and its culture

•   Short term expectations; it is not a quick fix, achieved with just a handful of personnel trained and the purchase of some ITIL tools