Well having spent the last three days in a classroom learning about ITIL, I thought it was time to present a sensible review of what ITIL means and what it could do for an organisation, there will I am sure be a less sensible review of ITIL and what it means for my current company, over at my less sensible blog, in a day or two.
The first question is obviously, What is ITIL, well ITIL is simply a set of best practices that any company can use, they don't have to use them all, in fact they could only use one part and ignore the rest, and that would still likely give them some benefits. ITIL covers the varied aspects of IT Service Management, from the poor people on the Service Desk, through the 3rd Line support guys all the way through to the Finance guys, the guys building your Business Continuity Plans etc. Most of the ideas are really simple common sense, but for many organisations, systems were put in place 10-20 years ago, have evolved and in many cases the technology whilst moving on has always been updated with an aim of keeping things the same rather than really making great improvements.
The biggest concept that some on our course struggled with is the view that any request to IT should follow the same path to start with, ie. through the Service Desk, if a user reports a server down, phone the Service Desk, if they have a problem with their pc, phone the Service Desk, if they want a new application, phone the Service Desk, if they want a PC, phone the Service Desk etc etc etc. This single interface to the user community should improve user perception of the IT Dept and also improve the flow of information within the dept as well.
Once you take in the "incidents" from the helpdesk and start looking at the overall ITIL picture, it becomes somewhat easy (as long as you can remember the acronyms, CDB, CMDB, MTBF, MTTR, SLA, SLR, SLM* to name but a few about 0.5% or so it seemed) to see how incidents/problems/changes flow through the departement in a controlled manner, totally different to many companies current systems I am sure.
Anyway I could go on and on and on about this but I think that for those people who want to look into ITIL, then training or consultancy are definately the best options as it is certainly one of those subjects where you need to ask questions to get a better understanding.
CDB - Capacity Management Database
CMDB - Configuration Management Database
MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure
MTTR - Mean Time to Recovery
SLA - Service Level Agreement
SLR - Service Level Requirement
SLM - Service Level Management