IT service management industry celebrates 20 years of ITIL best practices

The U.K.-born IT service management best practice framework took time to take off in the U.S., but now American IT shops embrace ITIL as it turns 20.

The IT Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, turns 20 this year after launching in 1989 in the U.K. Now American IT departments and vendors embrace the best practice import.

IT management practitioners realize process improvements doesn’t always sound exciting, but the results achieved by scores of companies embracing the best practice framework ITIL understand that cost savings, streamlined operations and optimized IT service delivery is something significant to talk about.

Keeping current with ITILFAQ: ITIL origins, Version 3 explained

IT service management became the must-have management know-how in the U.S. earlier this decade, but proponents of the IT Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, know better. They realize the best practice framework got its starts in the late 1980s in the U.K. Now 20 years old, ITIL is on the minds of IT executive everywhere looking to streamline processes, reduce downtime, eliminate unnecessary manual labor and maintain compliant environments.

“The intent of IT management frameworks is to improve the management of IT so that it enables more efficient delivery of services to the organization,” reads a 2009 Forrester Research report on IT best practice frameworks.“ITIL describes how to define and manage an effective service strategy that entails the guidance to questions such as, ‘What services should we offer and to whom?’ or ‘How do we truly create value for our customers?’”

ITIL’s British creators, The Stationery Office (TSO), this week plans to celebrate the frameworks birthday at the itSMF UK 2009 conference and expects to be touting the benefits of best practices in an economic downturn.

“The benefits of good IT service management become very apparent in a recession. ITIL is arguable even more important now than when it was launched 20 years ago,” said Janine Eves, OGC (office of government commerce) contact manager and publisher of TSO, in a statement. “By always taking into account the latest best practice developments, we can ensure the core ITIL guidance remains vital for at least another 20 years.”

Over the years, Network World has chronicled several U.S. company ITIL success stories.

Toyota unit gets ITIL right the second time aroundUniversity taps ITIL to build open source CMDBITIL shapes help-desk overhaul at JPMorgan Chase

Do you have an ITIL story? Please let me know your experience with the best practice framework at

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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