Johann Botha, Marval

A new edition of ITIL was released in August 2011, representing the first significant update to the publications since 2007, reports Marval South Africa. ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world.

ITIL provides a cohesive set of best practice, drawn from the public and private sectors internationally.

The update in itself it is not a new version, merely an update to bring the dynamic best practice framework up to date.

To avoid confusion, the core publications will now be referred to simply as ITIL, without versions, and to distinguish between the updates, the latest iteration of the ITIL framework will be referred to as the 2011 edition and not Version 4.

"ITIL is a live framework, not a static set of documentation, so defining versions became problematic. Dynamic updates that address previous issues and inconsistencies and keep the framework up to date have now been put into place, rather than reinventing the entire publication each time an update was needed," says Johann Botha of Marval South Africa. 

The updated ITIL 2011 edition incorporates several changes and updates over the previous edition. Comments and suggestions received regarding the previous edition have been addressed, the Service Strategy publication has been dramatically improved and the new version includes improvements to the clarity, correctness and completeness of the publications and changes suggested by the training community to make ITIL easier to use, among others.

"In the previous edition, the Service Strategy book was very theoretical. Since the main objective of ITIL is to provide practitioners with guidance on how to implement best practice, this needed to be updated. In the 2011 edition the Service Strategy book has been thoroughly reviewed, concepts have been clarified and new processes for strategy management and business relationship management have been defined. Service Strategy has also been more closely aligned with Service Design, and several concepts, principles
and process flows have been clarified or simplified in other ITIL books," Botha adds.

Other changes include a more practical outlook on strategy formulation as well as additional practical guidance on service portfolio management. Cost models from version two have also been reintroduced to simplify financial management concepts and help IT managers to quantify investments in service improvement with regard to return on investment. A design co-ordination
process has been added to the Service Design book to create greater cohesion between various concepts, and several ambiguities in the text of the Service Transition book have been addressed.

"The last major change is the update to Continual Service Improvement, which has been augmented with further practical knowledge." says Botha.

For candidates already holding an ITIL certification, this update does not mean they will need to become recertified. However, the onus is on the candidate to keep updated with changes and improvements in order to ensure that knowledge remains current.

"Continual service improvement is at the heart of ITIL, so it makes sense for the publications themselves to undergo the same process they prescribe.

The updated 2011 edition of ITIL is an improved best practice framework updated in line with current needs, which is now easier to navigate, easier to adopt and easier to teach," Botha concludes.

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