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What are the key components of the ITIL library?

Blog: Good eLearning

Is ITIL a library?

In the early days of ITSM, ITIL was a ‘library’: a collection of documentation that outlined best practices for planning, creating, implementing, managing, and optimizing IT services. The acronym originally stood for ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’. However, this ceased to be the case with ITIL 4.

ITIL is no longer a ‘library’ simply because of the way technology has developed. The Digital Age has seen ITSM principles, practices, and tools evolve far more rapidly. This, in turn, has forced businesses to adapt, with IT service managers having to accommodate developments like Cloud management and the Internet of Things. In a situation like this, organizations cannot simply wait for best practice libraries to be updated, as it can give the initiative to more proactive competitors. 

ITIL 4, which was released in 2019, does not follow a library format. The core framework is available online to outline the key building blocks of the framework. The wider framework has also been extended since its release, with supplementary modules separate from the main certification path. In a previous iteration of ITIL, this would not have happened in an official capacity until the release of an entirely new version (though users would naturally develop their own practices out of necessity).

While ITIL might not be a library anymore, it still has several key components that practitioners are experts at adapting and implementing. In this article, we will explore each of these components.

The Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles of ITIL are designed to ‘guide’ practitioners as they implement the framework. They are not a set of prescriptive instructions, as this would lead to a lack of flexibility and adaptability. Rather, they help practitioners make decisions and develop strategies, even in areas where the ITIL framework has no specific guidance to offer.

The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4 are:

The ITIL Service Value System (SVS)

The Service Value System covers a chain of activities used to turn a business ‘demand’ or ‘opportunity’ for a service into tangible business value. This applies not just in terms of daily operations but also long-term strategic growth.

There are three elements of the SVS to consider:

The Four Dimensions Model

The Four Dimensions Model is based on considering the broader aspects of the ‘service ecosystem’; that is to say, the environment in which services are created, managed, etc. It is designed to encourage us to change the ways we view service value streams.

The four dimensions are:

  1. Organizations and People – This dimension sets out the ‘people’ aspects to be considered in ITSM. These can include customers, employees, suppliers (and their employees), executives, managers, and anyone else involved in creating or consuming services.
  2. Information and Technology – This dimension considers how information and technology support individual value streams, as well as the wider ITSM capabilities of your organization and service portfolio.
  3. Partners and Suppliers – Be aware of your in-house capabilities, regulatory requirements, and sourcing biases. This should decide to what extent you utilize suppliers and partners to deliver services.
  4. Value Streams and Processes – This dimension contains the ITIL Service Value Chain (SVC), a flexible model designed to guide users through the service lifecycle. The SVC model also accommodates both linear and flexible approaches, such as Agile.

These are further based on the ‘PESTLE Framework’, which defines the six factors that can positively or negatively impact the four dimensions. The aspects of the PESTLE framework are:

Considered together, these dimensions are essential for effectively and efficiently delivering value to customers and other stakeholders via products and services.

The ITIL Service Value Chain (SVC)

The ITIL Service Value Chain (SVC) is a set of interconnected activities used to deliver products or services and facilitate value realization. It is an operating model and contains a number of key activities for creating, delivering, and managing services.

In many ways, the current SVC is a refined version of the IT Service Lifecycle (SL) outlined in ITIL v3. This reflects AXELOS’ commitment to having ITIL 4 focus on the ‘co-creation of value‘.

The core elements of the SVC are:


While ITIL may not be a ‘library’ anymore, there are still several key components:

Even with these elements memorized, it is important to remember that none of them are designed to be used prescriptively. Instead, the tools should be applied flexibly, depending on the requirements of the company in question.

With this in mind, practitioners do not simply build their knowledge of the ‘library’ components but also their working knowledge. Experience is key, and ITIL-powered products and services should only be managed by experienced and qualified practitioners.

Studying ITIL With Good e-Learning

Good e-Learning is an award-winning online training provider, as well as an accredited Market Leader for ITIL training. Our in-house e-learning specialists work with highly experienced subject matter experts to deliver training that is unique, practical, and highly engaging.

Our courses come with a range of learning resources, including instructor-led videos, gamified quizzes, and free downloadable whitepapers. We also offer world-class support, along with FREE exam vouchers for every student.

Good e-Learning also specializes in corporate training. Our award-winning LMS, the Learning Ecosystem, provides instant access both to courses and performance statistics to help managers keep track of training goals. This also allows our support team to be proactive in helping individual candidates. We can even rebrand our LMS to suit individual clients.

Want to find out more? Visit the Good e-Learning website today for a free trial!

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