IT services have lifecycles just like products and processes. ITIL is the short form for IT Infrastructure Library and is a well-known set of IT best practices meant to help businesses to align their IT services with business and customer needs. These services include IT related resources, accessibility and assets that deliver benefits and value to customers.
ITIL process framework objectives include delivering valuable service offerings, meeting the needs of customers and achieving the business goals of an organization. In the proper practices of ITIL service management, the component parts of the life cycle are clearly defined to describe the process of how to initiate and maintain services. It is impossible to implement and manage services with optimal efficacy and efficiency without the ITIL lifecycles. It is crucial to abide by the principles of the ITIL lifecycles so that IT services can run smoothly.
There are 5 stages in the ITIL lifecycles for services. The stages are linked with each other since they all share a common goal. During the development and implementation of these stages, the common goals are always kept in mind and is always what is aimed for. Providing consistent IT services is the goal of this interlinked system.
Stages of ITIL
It is of paramount importance that the stages are clearly defined to know what exactly the desired result of each stage is. The first stage of the ITIL cycle is service strategy. This is followed by service design and service transition. The penultimate stage is service operation, then last of all; continual service improvement.
Service strategy is the lifeline by which all the other stages that succeed it cling onto. It is here that all the objectives of the product to be designed are laid out. The aim of all the other stages is to meet the long-term objectives that are outlined in this stage.
In this stage, the organization’s business objectives are laid bare. The objective of IT service management should diverge to these requirements and not run parallel. Consequentially, the service strategy stage is the core of the cycle. Strategies are generated, discussed and analyzed. The approaches that do meet the set objectives and criteria go through to the next stage.
Here, strategies that filtered through form the first stage are put into action; like adding flesh to bones. Creativity is the driving entity to this stage. Products that are designed should meet the requirements of the customers, and moreover stir up fulfillment and delight at their efficiency. A team of professionals is necessary for the enactment of this stage. Attention to detail is also essential, as any hitches in this stage will carry through to all the other stages.
In this stage of the ITIL life cycle, the processes designed are assimilated to the environment. These processes and services are audited and assessed to make sure that they are running smoothly. All possible scenarios of interaction between the processes and the customers are generated, and the hitches that are noted fixed.
Thoroughness is fundamental to this process, as any laxity may have great implication in the running of the processes and the provision of services. The aim of this is to ascertain that services run smoothly and that the customers are pleased with the outcome.
Once the service and processes have been fully integrated into the environment and are now in use, they require management in order to facilitate their smooth running. As its name implies, service operation covers this management. As the owner of the service is in charge of its day to day processes, he, or she, has to ensure that the services and processes meet the ever so dynamic needs of the customers. Glitches tend to occur and may hinder normalcy, and service operation management makes sure that they are fixed on time.
Continual service improvement
The needs and necessities of customers are not static. The preceding stages of the lifecycle are also implemented to meet initial objectives. These objectives may change over time. No matter how nuanced these changes may be, the services and processes also need to be dynamic, otherwise they may be old, useless and easily phased out. Continual service improvement ensures the progressive maintenance and updating.
Performance indicators are needed to determine whether the processes are performing at an optimal level. Once the initial objectives are met, new ones are required to make sure that the services stay ahead of the demand. The scope of this stage doesn’t bind it to being the last stage, as it covers all other stages of the life cycle.
All stages of the life cycle need to be conducted appropriately. Consequentially, the results obtained with each stage will converge and meet with the desired aim and ultimately the long-term strategy of the business. Smooth running will also ensure that the customers remain not only satisfied, but also delighted with the efficiency that is displayed. Continual service management will ensure that the services are dynamic. Optimal performance is also guaranteed, meaning that a business will remain profitable and relevant for a long time to come.