The current iteration of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is outlined in five expansive volumes, with each title corresponding to a specific phase of the ITIL service lifecycle.

The ITIL service lifecycle is a process approach to the best practices laid out within the ITIL framework, and it is broken into five phases: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement.

The five service lifecyle phases are broken into the five volumes that make up the ITIL framework.

Service Strategy

The objective of the service strategy lifecycle phase is to decide on and develop a strategy to serve customers.

With the ultimate goal of making an IT organization think and act in a more strategic manner, the service strategy phase starts with an assessment of customer needs and the marketplace. The results of this assessment are used to determine which services should be offered, along with a summary of the capabilities that will need to be developed.

Service Design

The objective of the service design lifecycle phase is not only to design new IT services, but also to uncover changes and improvements to existing services. The scope of this process is determined by the results of the assessments carried out in the prior service strategy phase.

The design of new IT services, along with the changes and improvements to existing service offerings, must be kept in line with the needs of the business as a whole. In this spirit, designs and service modifications should keep customer and market needs in focus.

Service Transition

The objective of the service transition lifecycle phase is to build and deploy newly designed IT services.

The service transition phase is also the lifecycle phase where service design changes and improvements are coordinated and carried out in an effective manner.

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Service Operation

The objective of the service operation lifecycle phase is ensuring that IT services are delivered effectively and efficiently. For many IT organizations, the standards and parameters that govern the administration and delivery of IT services is codified in an SLA (service level agreement).

The tasks and activities that make up the service operation lifecycle phase include the more routine operational requirements such as resolving service failures, fulfilling user requests, and fixing problems.

Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

The objective of the CSI lifecycle stage is to implement learning gained from past successes and failures.

As the name implies, the CSI phase is something of an open loop designed to foster continuous improvement within an IT organization. The improvement activities of this phase should have the ultimate goal of delivering services that are increasingly effective and efficient.

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