Training and Certification

ITIL Foundation Terms and Concepts You Need to Know

December 9, 2016

Guest Author

ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a collection of best practices in IT service management with the ability to be implemented in a variety of businesses. It is the most widely embraced IT service management method guidelines for this very reason. ITIL Foundation is the basic ITIL certification level. The concepts, terms, and definitions taught in ITIL Foundation courses will give you the knowledge to support communicate within your organizations. The concepts learned in ITIL Foundation will allow you to actively participate in discussions surrounding IT service management.

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The lifecycle is comprised of 5 phases:

  1. Service Strategy
  2. Service Design
  3. Service Transition
  4. Service Operation
  5. Continual Service Improvement

The ITIL Service Lifecycle phases are interconnected components that rely on service standards, processes, roles, and performance measures. All phases run continuously and depend on the other phases to maintain a high-functioning IT service.


The first phase of ITIL’s method to IT service management is Service Strategy. This phase contains four main processes and lays out the terms in which a service provider can assist an organization in meeting their goals and objectives.

1. Service Portfolio Management (SPM): manages the customers interests across the lifecycle through four steps: Define, analyze, approve, and charter.

2. Financial management: part of the IT service that keeps track of the money flowing in and out of the service making sure funds are available for the development of new services. There are three sub-divisions in financial management: budgeting, accounting, charging.

3. Business Relationship Management: analyzes the demands of current and future customers and assures that the correct services are created and defined to meet the demands.

4.Demand management: facilitates the service provider in the realization and actualization of the needs of the customer demands.


This second phase uses the ideas defined in the service strategy stage to create methods to follow in order to achieve business goals. Here are service design terms and concepts to know.

Design coordination: organizes all service design operations, procedures, and assets.

Service Catalog Management: controls the production and renewal of the service catalog; ensuring it consists of all necessary information on the services being delivered and to be delivered in the future

Service Level Management: mediates the contracts for Service Level Agreements with customers to ensure all needs will be met. Service level management encompasses multiple types of agreements on several different levels.

Availability Management: method used to evaluate whether IT services meet present and projected availability needs of the business being serviced in an economical and time-effective manner. This management takes place at two interdependent levels Service Availability and Component Availability in two ways.

IT Service Continuity Management (ITCM): assesses uncertainties that have the potential to jeopardize the service, used to assist with BCM.

Information Security Management: safeguards the privacy of several different varieties of an IT services information.

Security Policy: a defined set of procedures and formal documents adhered to and agreed upon at all levels that lay out how an organization deals with security incidents.

Information Security Management System (ISMS) consists of 5 parts, each with their own objective in order to address all aspects of security threats.

  1. Plan
  2. Implement
  3. Control
  4. Evaluate
  5. Maintain

Capacity Management: the organization of making certain that the IT service has the ability and infrastructure to deliver promise services to a customer.

  • Business Capacity Management: evaluating business demands in the future will be available when the need for them arises.
  • Service Capacity Management: overseeing the daily operations of IT services in the field.
  • Component Capacity Management: IT infrastructure operations evaluating if everything is running smoothly or if changes are needed.


Implement new methods created in the earlier lifecycle, through seven main processes of Service Transition.

1. Transition Planning and Support: large-scale release strategy design detailing how assets are used and how it will occur in the agreed upon capacity, time frame, and expenditure.

2. Change Management: conduct valuable changes within all phases of the lifecycle to facilitate limited interruptions to the IT services.

  • Requests for changes (RFCs): formal outline proposing changes. There are three types of changes: Standard change, Normal change, and Emergency change.
    • Standard Change Model: processes occurring before changes are complete; Role, Initiator, Change management.
  • Remediation Planning: the plan created to restore the original IT services if the changes implemented do not work.
  • Change Advisory Board (CAB): Change Management support to analyze and prioritize possible changes.
  • Emergency Change Advisory Board (ECAB): a subdivision of the CAB that determines Emergency Changes with a high-significance to the IT service.

3. Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM): gather data about the configuration items necessary for providing an IT service.

4. Release and Deployment Management: design, organize, and conduct the timing of releases to a variety of settings.

5. Service Validation and Testing: evaluate and establish releases are meeting customer demands; certify that IT operations are able to strengthen and sustain the service.

6. Change Evaluation: evaluate large-scale changes prior to moving on to the next lifecycle phase.

  • Evaluation report: the formal report that summarizes the Risk Profile, Deviations Report, and contains a qualification statement, validation statement, and a recommendation (if necessary).

7. Knowledge Management: assemble, evaluate, preserve, and distribute information within an organization.

  • The Data-to-Information-to-Knowledge-to-Wisdom structure (DIKW)
    • Data: facts collected and available through their organization
    • Information: context added to the data increasing understanding
    • Knowledge: information strengthened with experience and ideas
    • Wisdom: utilizes “Knowledge” to add value


Service Operation is the continual daily application and management of IT services that is comprised of five main processes and four main functions.


5 Main Processes of Service Operation

  1. Event management: consistently monitored events and CIs; events ordered so proper action will be taken.
  2. Incident management: controls the lifecycle of every event in order to return the fundamental IT service to users.
  3. Problem management: controls the lifecycle of every problem; dominant function is to eliminate the possibility of an incident occurring and to lower the effect of incidents that are unavoidable; has two tracts.
    1. Reactive problem management: determining and resolving the cause
    2. Proactive problem management: working to prevent future occurrences
  4. Request Fulfillment: to perform requests; usually low-impact from small changes to information requests.
  5. Access Management: allows only recognized and legitimate users to gain access to a service.

4 Main Functions of Service Operation

  1. Service Desk Function: contact point for the users and coordination point for multiple IT groups/processes.
  2. Technical Management: supplies the technical knowledge for the management of the IT infrastructure.
  3. Application Management: culpable for controlling the lifecycle of applications.
  4. IT Operations Management: performs the daily tasks of the infrastructure components and applications.


Continual Service Improvement (CSI) supplies direction in establishing and sustaining value for the customers through improvements to the daily operations and transitions to new methods. Within this phase, you follow a seven-step improvement process, which is outlined below.

Seven-Step Improvement Process: These steps aim to improve and correct IT performance.

  1. Identify the strategy for improvement
  2. Define what you will measure
  3. Gathering the data
  4. Processing the data
  5. Analyzing the data
  6. Presenting and using the information to
  7. Implementing corrective action



You will be able to apply all of these terms in all of the ITIL certification courses. As a result, you will be able to engage in more depth with colleagues and businesses you support.

Key Term 
CapabilitiesThe aptitude of a person, organization, method, CI* or IT service to perform a given service and acquire a desired result.
ResourcesGeneral term used to describe the assets that assist an IT service, including though not limited, to IT infrastructure, people, and money
Business CaseA diagnostic implement that determines the possible outcomes of a business decision
Internal Service ProviderAn in-house business IT service that is an integral part of only one business division
Shared Service ProviderAn in-house business IT service that may assist with several business divisions
External ServiceA business that sells IT services to separate multiple companies
Vital Business Function (VTB)Important functions of a business assisted by IT services
Pattern of Business Activity (PBA)A study of the work completed by a business unit; PBA assists the service provider in learning and arranging future work
User Profile (UP)Sequence of IT service requested by a user; contains at least one PBA
Capacity ManagementUses the UP and PBA to determine the needs of a customer to assist them in meeting goals
Influencing DemandImplementation of restrictions and/or fees in order to control the needs of services by a customer
Proactive ActivitiesSteps taken to create and renew the Availability Plan; instill procedures for the analysis and summarizing of availability
Reactive Activities Consistent observation of availability and usability; consistent and incident-based observations and summaries of service and component availability
Business Continuity Management (BCM)Staged procedures and operations that occur in order to keep the business going if a disaster transpires
Configuration BaselineArrangement of a service, product, or infrastructure that has been established
Configuration Management System (CMS)Central storehouse that contains data on all CIs, in order to provide correct and current information on how the environment is configured
Configuration Management Database (CMDB)Database containing all data on a configuration record from the beginning to end of the service lifecycle
Configuration Item (CI)Any item that must be controlled to facilitate the use of an IT service
Definitive Media Library (DML)The protected library in which the precise approved versions of all media CIs are kept, including software developed on sight and purchased
ChangeThe augmentation, alteration, and/or deletion of anything that may affect IT services
Change proposalsDocumentation detailing all changes to be made along with the business and financials relating to the change
Change recordHistory file containing all the details of change
ReleaseCompilation of software, hardware, documents, and processes necessary to carry out changes to an IT service
CSI Register (Service Improvement Plan-SIP) Concise, agreed upon plan to improving IT service
CSI and Organizational ChangeInstituting a deliverable change requires a program to follow

The Deming Cycle

A plan for quality change designed by W. Edwards Deming, important to the implementation of CSI and to services/service management
CSI ApproachA series of six questions that can be answered to find the best avenue for improvement: What is the vision? Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How do we get there? Did we get there? How do we keep the momentum going?
Metrics and MeasurementThree types of measurements and metrics that evaluate how the IT service is performing, each of the different measurements looks at a specific part, process, or service: Technology metrics, Process metrics, and Service metrics
BaselineThe beginning metric which is measured against for subsequent evaluations

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