Home / Governance / Information Technology

ITC Goes "ITIL" to Improve IT Service Management

Information Technology

What is ITIL and how does ITIL impact me?

This is the first in a series of communications that are designed to introduce the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standard and help our staff understand why we are implementing this framework at Elizabeth City State University. Over the next several months, you can expect to see more detailed information on this program, the impact to you, and your role in making it successful for IT and ultimately our campus users.

Information Technology Infrastructures Today

Most institutions today are completely reliant on email, Microsoft Office applications, employee share drives, Enterprise Relational Database programs (i.e. Banner) and other basic IT infrastructure applications and services in order to do their business. If any of these systems go off-line, the productivity of the organization is negatively impacted.

However, many of the IT support models for these critical applications and services are the result of sporadic growth, acquisitions, or adding new support tools and personnel only when introducing new technology. Few campus IT installations today are the result of a "big picture" IT infrastructure approach. Instead, they are fragmented groups that often do not communicate well with each other, leading to repetitive systems and support models that do not respond quickly or efficiently to change.

What is ITIL?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library was developed by the British government specifically to address these issues. The British government found that their mainframe systems were supported differently at each location around the country, resulting in a wide range of performance impact on end user productivity, and an even wider range of support models thereby driving up costs. To organize this environment, they developed an IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) that provided the framework for all locations on how they should support these systems, including how different IT groups should communicate and what was appropriate documentation for their systems. The ITIL concept soon grew to include all IT systems, and quickly became the standard for private industry as well as government.

ITIL is now the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. It provides a comprehensive, consistent and coherent set of best practices for managing service delivery processes and promoting a quality approach to achieving business effectiveness and efficiency in the use of information systems. The ITIL framework is supported by a comprehensive qualification scheme, accredited training organizations, and tools for implementation and assessment.

ITIL has been prevalent in the European IT community for years, and is beginning to gain popularity lately in the United States. As technology has allowed true globalization of organizations, the ITIL process is now becoming a standard here in the United States, with many companies requiring their partners/vendors to comply. Therefore, as a leading educator in Northeast North Carolina, Elizabeth City State University is taking the lead in bringing the knowledge and practice to its IT organization.

Why ITIL?

ITIL is focused on the IT organization and its personnel, not the business or production of products. This allows ITIL-compliant organizations to quickly integrate processes, procedures, and best practices for the benefit of business improvement. It is also non-proprietary, which makes it attractive to many institutions, including the State of North Carolina, and now Elizabeth City State University.

The basic ITIL framework has ten core processes grouped into two sets called Service Delivery and Service Support.

Service Delivery is the management of the IT services themselves (tactical), and involves a number of management practices to ensure that IT services are provided as agreed between the IT department and IT users.

The five Service Delivery processes are:

  1. Service Level Management
  2. Capacity Management
  3. Contingency Planning
  4. Availability Management
  5. Cost Management / IT Financial Management

Why ITIL? (continued)

Service Support is the practice of those processes (operational) that enable IT Services to be provided. Without these disciplines, it would be almost impossible to provide these IT Services, and at best in a very unmanaged and haphazard way.

The five Service Support processes are:

  1. Configuration Management
  2. Incident Management
  3. Change Management
  4. Problem management
  5. Release Management

Our primary goals (or business benefits) for implementing ITIL include:

  • Reduced costs for delivering IT services through standardization
  • Improved customer satisfaction through effective and reliable professional approach to IT service delivery and support
  • Improved IT service consistency, delivered through standards and guidance
  • Improved IT staff productivity
  • Improved use of skills and experience

Putting the "I" in ITIL

How does this affect me and my job? Another goal of this project, besides its primary goals, is to help all IT staff understand their role in IT service delivery and support at the University. To facilitate implementation of this and the other ITIL goals, the ITC Operational Quality Implementation Task Force was established. The members are Anthony K Adade (CIO), Mary Leary (Director for Administrative Computing, Matthew Simpson (Director for IT Client Service, and Shelton Spence (Director for Network Services). During the 2008-09 academic year, all IT employees will be trained in ITIL and many will be asked to help with implementation. By the end of that year, University IT service delivery support processes will completely utilize the ITIL framework. As a result, every IT staff member who interacts with our ITIL-compliant UNC-member institutions, other partners/vendors, including the State of North Carolina, will be positioned to even further improve the delivery of IT service for our users.