ITIL Continues to Grow and Evolve

February, 2007

In 2005, Computer Economics posted a Research Byte on the expected growth of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) in the U.S. in 2006. At that time, many IT professionals were not familiar with ITIL. But just as we projected, 2006 turned out to be a watershed year for ITIL in the U.S., and today ITIL is a hot topic for many IT organizations.

For instance: in 2006, the Examination Institute for Information Science (EXIN) oversaw approximately 100,000 new ITIL certifications in the U.S.–more than twice the number from the previous year. Additionally, EXIN states that the number of ITIL certifications it has administered hit 350,000 worldwide by the end of 2006, up from 170,000 in 2005. With over half of the worlwide growth in 2006 coming from the U.S., it is clear that ITIL has achieved mainstream status here in the states.

Another ITIL growth indicator is the increasing membership within the IT Service Management Forum USA (itSMF USA). This organization is a key sponsor of ITIL and holds an annual conference on ITIL best practices. The last conference, held in September 2006 in Salt Lake City, attracted over 1,800 IT professionals and more than 80 IT vendors exhibiting on the show floor. Additionally, the organization reports that its membership has doubled each year for the past several years and now exceeds 6,000 individuals. 

While it is expected that ITIL will continue to experience solid growth in the U.S. well into 2008, the next big growth spurt for ITIL will come from Asia. In 2005, EXIN opened an office in Malaysia and just recently announced that it is moving into a bigger facility to accommodate the significant growth it anticipates in that region. Adopting ITIL best practices may help many Asian service providers increase their IT service management credibility in western markets.

ITIL–Keeping Step with Business
The UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) oversees all changes in the core ITIL methodology, although it works closely with a large number of stakeholders worldwide. OGC is aggressively pushing the evolution of ITIL forward and has announced the release of what is being called the ITIL Refresh.

The ITIL Refresh project began in 2004 and is truly a massive effort including input from thousands of stakeholders. The ITIL Refresh Program Board held workshops in Europe and North America with businesses that have adopted ITIL, the vendor community, managed service providers, training organizations, consulting firms, and academia.

Actually, the refresh represents ITIL Version 3 and includes five core books that are designed to replace the current nine books that comprise ITIL Version 2. The ITIL Refresh will include a new focus on specific vertical markets and technological issues. Additionally, this release will offer material that will help explain ITIL to non-IT business professionals, with an emphasis on IT and business alignment. This is an important addition, as many business professionals have indicated that they feel ITIL is too technical and is somewhat out of step with business needs.

The ITIL Refresh is slated for release by the end of April, 2007. A brief description of the five core volumes being developed for the ITIL Refresh is shown in Figure 1.

 ITIL Version 3: Core Volumes

  • The Service Strategy Volume–this is the hub of the core: understanding and translating business into IT strategy; recognizing and responding to business catalysts; selecting the best practices based on industry, regulatory environment, firm size, etc.
  • The Service Design Volume–IT service and architecture design models to consider, including outsourcing, in-sourcing, co-sourcing, etc.
  • The Service Transition Volume–how to create a transition strategy from service design and put it into the live environment. Topics include change and release management, service models, and checklists for taking designs into production (analogous to a software development lifecycle, but for IT services).
  • The Service Operation Volume–how to manage services in the production environment, day-to-day management issues, how to react to failures, how to develop and monitor metrics of quality, and how to manage reactive elements and processes.
  • The Continual Service Improvement Volume–how to improve services once deployed.

Figure 1

February, 2007

More information on this subject may be found in our report, ITIL Adoption Moves into U.S. Mainstream. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website at (click for pricing).