Lifecycle: The natural process of stages that an organism or inanimate object goes through as it matures. For example, human stages are birth, infant, toddler, child, pre-teen, teenager, young adult, adult, elderly adult and death.

The concept of the Service Lifecycle is fundamental to ITIL®® Version 3. Previously, much of the focus of ITIL®® was on the processes required to design, deliver and support services for customers. As a result of this previous focus on processes, Version 2 of the ITIL®® Framework provided best practices for ITSM based around the how questions. These included:

  • How should we design for availability, capacity and continuity of services?
  • How can we respond to and manage incidents, problems and known errors?

As Version 3 now maintains a holistic view covering the entire lifecycle of a service, no longer does ITIL®® just answer the how questions, but also why?

  • Why does a customer need this service?
  • Why should the customer purchase services from us?
  • Why should we provide (x) levels of availability, capacity and continuity?

By first asking these questions it enables a service provider to provide overall strategic objectives for the IT organization, which will then be used to direct how services are designed, transitioned, supported and improved in order to deliver optimum value to customers and stakeholders.

The ultimate success of service management is indicated by the strength of the relationship between customers and service providers.  The 5 phases of the Service Lifecycle provide the necessary guidance to achieve this success.  Together they provide a body of knowledge and set of good practices for successful service management.

This end-to-end view of how IT should be integrated with business strategy is at the heart of ITIL®’s® five core volumes.

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