ITIL® is a framework that has evolved to meet the issues organizations face. It started life in the 1980s when Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, which was concerned with the quality of service it was getting from its IT, tasked the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency with developing a framework for the efficient and financially responsible use of IT resources. A team of experienced professionals with practical knowledge of IT led the process of creating an IT infrastructure library containing a series of 42 books grouped in specific subject areas. The framework addressed management rather than technical issues although originally there was a significant technical aspect to it. As it matured it became clear that ITIL can and should exist above the technical aspects, producing guidance that is not reliant on any particular technology and still delivering value to the organization.
When the guidance was revised in the mid-2000s, it was recognized that the strategy and continual service improvement aspects had been largely overlooked, or at least were not clearly identifiable. The concept of a cyclical approach to the management of IT was raised to encompass the whole of the service management ‘lifecycle’. This shift to addressing the lifecycle was important as it is vital that services are seen in their entirety from strategic conception to retirement and that they are reviewed and improved throughout their life.
As ITIL progressed and matured there became a requirement for individuals to be trained and gain certification. When the qualification scheme started it was not coordinated centrally. This led to a mismatch in terms of how a significant part of the community viewed ITIL. It was agreed that it would be sensible to move towards the unification of qualifications and create a single structure for syllabuses and exams.
When the lifecycle approach was introduced in 2007, a new set of lifecycle training manuals and qualifications was introduced (V3). Both schemes (V2 and V3) ran in parallel and there was a requirement to distinguish between them. A combination of the V2/V3 qualification schemes was then used to assist in clarifying this position. For the next few years these schemes coexisted very well as they allowed those who had existing V2 qualifications to continue on their present scheme. However, in 2011, the V2 scheme was discontinued. The lifecycle approach at the core of the material was improved but it did not go through a formal version revision. This means that the lifecycle under V3 is now the only scheme in existence and the need for the distinction has disappeared.