Defining Some Basic ITIL Terms
As you use ITIL for your day-to-day IT service management, you regularly come across key terms which you need to understand. This list covers the basic and most frequently used ones.
Service: Something that provides value and is available to a customer from a provider. For example, take travel agents. They sell you a holiday package and make sure all the individual bits work together. They book the flights, the transfers, the hotels and any excursions. What do you do? Pay the money and turn up. Travel agents save you the effort, cost and risk of doing the individual bits for yourself. They provide a service that is of value to you.
IT service: A collection of IT bits and bobs along with the people and documents required to provide an IT system which delivers a service that provides value to a customer. Basically, a bunch of techie stuff that allows you to do something useful with your computer.
For example, when you shop using the Internet, you’re using an IT service. Your PC, your Internet provider and the company providing the website are all providing IT services for you to use. When you shop online, the service you use consists of many component parts – some of them you own, some of them other people own.
You own your PC. Your Internet provider owns your Internet connection and some network stuff. The online store that you’re buying from owns the website. But you want it all to work as one seamless system. Wouldn’t it be great if regardless of which bit breaks, one person deals with it for you?
Service management: Brace yourself, this is a tricky term to define. Only joking – service management means managing a service. In a nutshell, the provider is encouraged to identify and agree what the customer needs and then provide it in an ongoing way. The following section elaborates further on service management.
IT service provider: An organisation that provides IT systems to a user (customer). The organisation may be an internal IT department of the company you work for – the people who put the computers on your desks and fix them when they go wrong. Equally it may be a commercial organisation that provides IT services in exchange for money, in other words an Internet provider or IT outsourcer. In all cases these organisations are providing a service to their customers.