ITIL consists of processes, procedures, tasks and checklists that organisations should follow when handling services so as to attain high quality that is of value to customers.
"ITIL describes how organisations can use IT-based services as a tool to create value for both users and customers. Some of the most common organisational processes, which are included in ITIL, are the handling of incidents, alterations and releases," says Hannes Göbel, who does research on informatics at the University of Borås.
"In businesses, these processes are often handled at operational level but ITIL also has processes that are dealt with at a more strategic level," he continues.
ITIL is owned by the company AXELOS together with the British government. There are other similar international frameworks but ITIL dominates the market.
"Many of our IT students will come in contact with this framework when they start to work but students of other subjects, e.g. economics, will also do so since ITIL is of relevance for most organisations that want to provide some kind of service."
Phil Hearsum, AXELOS ITSM Portfolio Manager, thinks it is important to work closely with higher education.
"Here at AXELOS, we are very happy about this collaboration with the University of Borås. Universities and colleges are a rich source of research, relevance and innovative thinking and that is where new generations are provided with vital skills for working life. This is part of AXELOS' plans to get involved and work with the global academic community," he says.
Researching how ITIL is used
Professor Stefan Cronholm is head of the research team InnovationLab. He says that collaboration with AXELOS started when the company was invited to attend the university's annual conference on IT Service Management.
"Now we have identified seven or eight areas of cooperation which we are going to develop within research, undergraduate studies and the writing of articles. I am pleased that this cooperation has been set up," he says.
Collaboration will begin during the spring with the researchers at InnovationLab critically analysing what benefits users of ITIL perceive.
The ITIL processes are described in five books, totalling more than 3,000 pages. Small and medium-sized businesses seldom have the ability to fully embrace such an extensive framework, nor to understand what processes to choose or how those processes are to be implemented. This may lead to the businesses becoming less competitive since they miss out on the benefits that can be created if the framework is implemented in the right way.
"To make things easier for primarily small and medium-sized businesses, InnovationLab is going to identify and analyse the obstacles that stop the businesses from deciding to implement ITIL. By doing so, we are preparing the ground for improved versions of the framework which in turn can create better opportunities for small businesses on the market," says Hannes Göbel.
Collaboration with undergraduate education too
Hannes Göbel says there are also plans to make use of the collaboration with AXELOS in the Systems Engineering programme but the intention is that other programmes will also benefit from the collaboration.
"For example, we want to be able to offer students the possibility of becoming ITIL-certified. This will be an opportunity that will be offered outside the student's regular studies. Another possibility being discussed is a nationwide essay competition within the ITSM field where AXELOS will reward the winning entry.