The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework of best practices approaches intended to facilitate the delivery of high quality information technology (IT) services. ITIL outlines an extensive set of management procedures that are intended to support businesses in achieving both quality and value for money in IT operations. These procedures are supplier independent and have been developed to provide guidance across the breadth of IT infrastructure, development, and operations.
Although developed during the 1980's, ITIL was not widely adopted until the mid 1990's. This wider adoption and awareness has led to a number of standards, including ISO/IEC 20000 which is an international standard covering the IT Service Management elements of ITIL. ITIL is often considered alongside other best practice frameworks such as the Information Services Procurement Library (ISPL), the Application Services Library (ASL), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), the Capability Maturity Model (CMM/CMMI), and is often linked with IT governance through Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT).
IT Service Management as a concept is related but not equivalent to ITIL. ITIL contains a subsection specifically entitled "IT Service Management" (the combination of the Service Support and Service Delivery volumes which are a specific example of an ITSM framework), however it is important to note that other such frameworks exist. ITIL Service Management is currently embodied in the ISO 20000 standard (previously BS 15000).
ITIL is built around a process-model based view of controlling and managing operations often credited to W Edwards Deming. The ITIL recommendations were developed in the 1980's by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) of the UK Government in response to the growing dependence on information technology and a recognition that without standard practices, government agencies and private sector contracts were independently creating their own IT management practices and duplicating effort within their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects resulting in common mistakes and increased costs.
ITIL is published in a series of books, each of which covers a core area within IT Management. The names ITIL and IT Infrastructure Library are Registered Trade Marks of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which is an Office of the United Kingdom's Treasury. The content of the books is protected by Crown Copyright.
In December 2005, the OGC issued notice of an ITIL refresh , commonly known as ITIL v3, which is planned to be available in late 2006. ITIL Version three publication is expected to initially include five core texts namely: IT Service Design, IT Service Introduction, IT Service Operations, IT Service Improvement and IT Service Strategies consolidating much of the current v2 practice around the Service Lifecycle.
One of the primary benefits claimed by proponents of ITIL within the IT community is its provision of common vocabulary, consisting of a glossary of tightly defined and widely agreed terms. A new and enhanced glossary has been developed as a key deliverable of the the ITIL Refresh Project.