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What is ITIL?

History of ITIL

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. ITIL is a best practice framework for IT service management (ITSM) within organizations.

ITIL is the most popular ITSM framework used today.
ITIL was first used in the 1980s. It was established as a solution to the poor provision of IT services. At the time, the UK government required a more efficient and financially responsible ITSM framework that could be used in the public and private sectors.

ITIL was used by both government agencies and large corporations in the 1990s especially in Europe. Since then, ITIL has been revised 3 times to reflect modern developments in ITSM.

ITIL v3 was released in 2011. V3 consisted of 5 core volumes, each covering one of the ITSM life cycle stages. ITIL v4, the latest revision was released in 2019.


In 2013 AXELOS, a joint venture between Capita and the UK Cabinet Office, became the owner of ITIL.

AXELOS delegates the management of ITIL examinations and training organizations to PeopleCert, the sole ITIL exam institute. AXELOS also manages updates to the ITIL framework.

Organizations wanting to implement ITIL internally may do so without needing a license from AXELOS. ITIL certifications are only available to individuals, not organizations.

Revisions to ITIL

ITIL 4 has built upon ITIL v3 by introducing new concepts and aligning the framework to the most recent developments in IT, namely agile, DevOps and Lean.

Both agile and DevOps approaches, including Lean, have been incorporated into ITIL v4.

ITIL 4 enables an organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement, and measure improvements in its ITSM capability.

ITIL Structure

ITIL describes an IT service value system (SVS) and a four dimensions model.

ITIL Service Value System (SVS)

The ITIL 4 Service Value System consists of 5 core components:

  • Service value chain.
  • Practices.
  • Guiding principles.
  • Governance.
  • ITSM Continual improvement.

Four dimensions model

The 4 dimensions model includes:

  • Organization and people.
  • Information and technology products.
  • Partners and suppliers.
  • Value streams and processes.