History of ITIL 4

History of ITIL®4 

We can trace the history of ITIL to as far as the 1980s. At that time, the British government just expanded its computerization program and they realized that they needed a set of standard practices that could guide the efforts that government agencies and private sector contractors were making towards computerization. Before then, different public and private sector players created and followed their own framework, which resulted in an increase in cost and effort, and led to unnecessary complexity in setting up IT infrastructure.

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The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA, now known as the Office of Government Commerce) were responsible for developing an efficient IT framework.

With the use of IT resources within the British Governments private sector, they developed the earliest version of ITIL; GITIM (Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management). The GITIM was very different from the existing ITIL but the concept was quite similar- both of them placed focused around service and delivery.

In 1990, ITIL v1 quickly grew to become a catalog of best practices for the IT organization. It consisted of a large 30-volume framework for IT service and delivery. In fact, ITIL was used in government and non-government organizations and was spreading very quickly.

Also, government agencies and large companies in Europe quickly adopted the framework. As Information Technology evolved, ITIL evolved and grew in popularity; in the UK, USA and across the world.

ITIL Version 2 ( ITIL v2) was the first major change to ITIL after its initial publication.  ITIL v2 was released in 2001, with an objective to make “ITIL more accessible and less formidable for its users”. The Service Delivery books and Service Support were rearranged into more usable concise volumes.

Also, ITIL v2 compiled the vast 30-volume framework into nine logically arranged sets that combined related elements. This version soon became, the most widely used IT service management system with the best practice approach. In 2006, ITIL Glossary was released and it made ITIL become even more user-friendly.

Version 3 of ITIL was published in 2007. It adopted more of a lifecycle approach to service management and had a greater emphasis on IT business integration. This release revealed a compact and tightly organized framework of 26 processes and functions which were compiled into five volumes. This version, also called ‘ITIL Refresh Project’ at the time of launch, was built around the concept of service lifecycle structure. We now commonly refer to ITIL v3 as ITIL 2007 Edition.

In July 2011, AXELOS released another edition of ITIL Version 3, as an update to the 2007 version. In this edition, no entirely new concepts were added, but the aim of the update was to “resolve errors and inconsistencies in the text and diagrams across the whole suite“. The 2011 release consists of five modules, which formed the core guidance for ITIL best practices for IT service managers around the world.

The five modules are:

– ITIL Service Strategy

– ITIL Service Design

– ITIL Service Transition

– ITIL Service Operation 

– ITIL Continual Service Improvement


The most recent version of the ITIL is the ITIL Version 4. Also known as ITIL 4, it was designed to “help organizations meet the increasing demand from the current complex digital environment.” This new version is called ITIL 4 because of the role it will play in supporting individuals and organizations as they navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The ITIL 4 consists of two streams which are;

– ITIL Strategic Leader

– ITIL Managing Professional.

The ITIL SL and ITIL MP intend to provide end-learners with better clarity on how and where they can improve their skills and be set apart from their peers. Altogether, the ITIL SL and the ITIL MP consists of five modules.

To know more about ITIL certification and their module, visit out ITIL Certification page.

Now for a quick word on the current state of ownership of ITIL. In the late 1880s, CCTA developed the GITIM (Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management), the earliest version of ITIL. In April 2001, the British Government merged CCTA into a body named The Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Since July 2013 till date, AXELOS Ltd owns the ITIL framework. AXELOS Ltd is a joint venture between The British Government’s HM Cabinet Office and Capita Plc. Today, AXELOS acts as the licensing authority for the ITIL intellectual property. Also, AXELOS provides accreditation to licensed testing Institutes and manages ITIL updates.

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