Tech & Sourcing @ Morgan Lewis


As more clients use ITIL®—a standard for best practices in providing IT services—IT lawyers who are unfamiliar with the standard should familiarize themselves with its basic principles. This is particularly important as clients are integrating ITIL terminology and best practices (or modified versions thereof) into their service delivery and support best practices as well as the structure and substantive provisions of their IT outsourcing and services contracts.

Most IT professionals are well versed in ITIL and its framework. They will introduce the concepts into statements of work and related documents with the expectation that their lawyers and sourcing professionals understand the basics well enough to identify issues and requirements and negotiate in a meaningful way.

With this in mind, it is time for IT lawyers and sourcing professionals to get up to speed. Below are some of the basics to get started:

  • ITIL—which stands for the "Information Technology Infrastructure Library"—is a set of best practice publications for IT service management that are designed to provide guidance on the provision of quality IT services and the processes and functions used to support them.
  • ITIL was created by the UK government almost 20 years ago and is being adopted widely as the standard for best practice in the provision of IT services. The current version of ITIL is known as the ITIL 2011 edition.
  • The ITIL framework is designed to cover the full lifecycle of IT and is organized around five lifecycle stages:
    1. Service strategy
    2. Service design
    3. Service transition
    4. Service operation
    5. Continual service improvement
  • Each lifecycle stage, in turn, has associated common processes. For example, processes under the "service design" stage include:
    1. Design coordination
    2. Service catalogue management
    3. Service level management
    4. Availability management
    5. Capacity management
    6. IT service continuity management
    7. Information security management systems
    8. Supplier management
  • The ITIL glossary defines each of the lifecycle stages and each of the covered processes.

ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.