What Is Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)?
IT service management (ITSM), a discipline for managing information technology (IT) systems, evolved naturally as IT services required support. At first, IT focused mainly on application development. To incorporate the benefit of these new technologies, the focus then shifted to delivering the created applications as part of a larger offering, supporting the business.
The help desk was developed to help people as they used IT serve services in their business. The U.K. government embarked on a project to discover and document how industries approached service management, thus creating the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), containing over 40 books about ITSM. In 2004, Version 2 of ITIL was created, releasing nine books that bridged the gap between technology and business with a strong focus on the processes that effectively serve the business customer (see Figure 1).
| Figure 1. Version 2 of the ITIL. The diagram includes ten processes of service management executed by the service desk. The service desk functions as the executor of these processes by serving as a single point of contact for all requests. The service support processes include incident, problem, configuration, change, and release management. The service delivery processes include IT financial, capacity, availability, continuity, and service-level management.|
In 2007, Version 3 of the ITIL was released in cooperation with the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) and the U.K. government. This version changed the way processes interact, to make them more focused on the business with service strategies in the center. The main stages of service strategies include service design, transition, and operations.
What Are the Tool Suites That Automate ITIL?
The ITSM industry has been growing in popularity, and its automation has not been far behind. There are a large number of vendors that provide either software as a service (SaaS) or hosted solutions. There are four companies that have hosted solutions. According to The Gartner Group, they are Computer Associates (CA), BMC Software, IBM Tivoli, and HP Software. The emerging SaaS company is ServiceNow.
The following are some of the available tool suites that automate ITIL:
The choice of a single vendor or a hybrid platform has not yet been made by the Church.
What Is the LDS Church Doing with the Automation of ITIL?
Currently the Church has implemented the incident, problem, and knowledge management processes using the Remedy suite from BMC. The Information Communications Services (ICS) department of the Church provides these applications for many departments of the Church, such as Church Educational System, Distribution Services, and Family History.
The goal of the service request management module is to provide users a customer-friendly way to make requests, check the status of their requests, and provide both internal and external users with a single catalog of services. For example, if an employee of the Church has a need for a cell phone, he or she can access a single Web application to create and track the request. This application will provide additional efficiencies and reduce the number of calls that must be logged by the Global Service Center.
As the Church embraces cutting-edge technologies for its members, it is vitally important to provide low-cost support for these new applications. Currently the Church is evaluating support chat applications that will allow members and nonmembers to chat with support personnel to resolve their issues. This allows agents to handle multiple issues simultaneously, increasing the hourly volume and reducing the costs associated with each issue.
John Irwin is an IT service manager for the Church.