ITIL Dictionary of Terms

A - Z Dictionary of terms for ITIL. This is the official Dictionary of terms for ITIL, which is a set of practices for IT Service Management. ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. View the Agile Dictionary. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Dictionary. Project Office Dictionary (P30). Full PRINCE2 glossary of terms. See also Risk Management Dictionary and Project Management Dictionary.

A - acceptance to availability plan | B - back-out to business unit | C - call to customer-facing service | D - dashboard to driver | E - early life support (ELS) to external service provider | F - facilities management to functional escalation | G - H - gap analysis to hot standby | I - identity to ITIL | J - K - job description to known error record | L - lifecycle to live environment | M - maintainability to monitoring | N - near-shore to notional charging | O - objective to overhead | P - pain value analysis to PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) | Q - qualification to quick win | R - RACI to running costs | S - Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to system management | T - tactical to Type III service provider | U - underpinning contract (UC) to utility | V - validation to vulnerability | W - warm standby to workload

A - acceptance to availability plan


Formal agreement that an IT service, process, plan or other deliverable is complete, accurate, reliable and meets its specified requirements. Acceptance is usually preceded by change evaluation or testing and is often required before proceeding to the next stage of a project or process. See also service acceptance criteria.

access management

(ITIL Service Operation) The process responsible for allowing users to make use of IT services, data or other assets. Access management helps to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of assets by ensuring that only authorized users are able to access or modify them. Access management implements the policies of information security management and is sometimes referred to as rights management or identity management.

account manager

An account manager is typically a sales role. They look after existing customers, managing ongoing sales and the customer relationship.

In ITIL (ITIL Service Strategy) the account manager is a role that is very similar to that of the business relationship manager, but includes more commercial aspects. Most commonly used by Type III service providers when dealing with external customers.


(ITIL Service Strategy) The process responsible for identifying the actual costs of delivering IT services, comparing these with budgeted costs, and managing variance from the budget.

accounting period

(ITIL Service Strategy) A period of time (usually one year) for which budgets, charges, depreciation and other financial calculations are made. See also financial year.


Officially authorized to carry out a role. For example, an accredited body may be authorized to provide training or to conduct audits.

active monitoring

(ITIL Service Operation) Monitoring of a configuration item or an IT service that uses automated regular checks to discover the current status. See also passive monitoring.


A set of actions designed to achieve a particular result. Activities are usually defined as part of processes or plans, and are documented in procedures. See also Activity Code.

agreed service time (AST)

(ITIL Service Design) A synonym for service hours, commonly used in formal calculations of availability. See also downtime.


A document that describes a formal understanding between two or more parties. An agreement is not legally binding, unless it forms part of a contract. See also operational level agreement; service level agreement.


(ITIL Service Operation) A notification that a threshold has been reached, something has changed, or a failure has occurred. Alerts are often created and managed by system management tools and are managed by the event management process.

analytical modelling

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Strategy) A technique that uses mathematical models to predict the behaviour of IT services or other configuration items. Analytical models are commonly used in capacity management and availability management. See also modelling; simulation modelling.


Software that provides functions which are required by an IT service. Each application may be part of more than one IT service. An application runs on one or more servers or clients. See also application management; application portfolio.

application management

(ITIL Service Operation) The function responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle.

application portfolio

(ITIL Service Design) A database or structured document used to manage applications throughout their lifecycle. The application portfolio contains key attributes of all applications. The application portfolio is sometimes implemented as part of the service portfolio, or as part of the configuration management system.

application service provider (ASP)

(ITIL Service Design) An external service provider that provides IT services using applications running at the service provider's premises. Users access the applications by network connections to the service provider.

application sizing

(ITIL Service Design) The activity responsible for understanding the resource requirements needed to support a new application, or a major change to an existing application. Application sizing helps to ensure that the IT service can meet its agreed service level targets for capacity and performance.


(ITIL Service Design) The structure of a system or IT service, including the relationships of components to each other and to the environment they are in. Architecture also includes the standards and guidelines that guide the design and evolution of the system.


(ITIL Service Transition) A configuration item that is made up of a number of other CIs. For example, a server CI may contain CIs for CPUs, disks, memory etc.; an IT service CI may contain many hardware, software and other CIs. See also build; component CI.


Inspection and analysis to check whether a standard or set of guidelines is being followed, that records are accurate, or that efficiency and effectiveness targets are being met. See also audit.


(ITIL Service Strategy) Any resource or capability. The assets of a service provider include anything that could contribute to the delivery of a service. Assets can be one of the following types: management, organization, process, knowledge, people, information, applications, infrastructure or financial capital. See also customer asset; service asset; strategic asset.

asset management

(ITIL Service Transition) A generic activity or process responsible for tracking and reporting the value and ownership of assets throughout their lifecycle. See also service asset and configuration management; fixed asset management; software asset management.

asset register

(ITIL Service Transition) A list of fixed assets that includes their ownership and value. See also fixed asset management.

asset specificity

(ITIL Service Strategy) One or more attributes of an asset that make it particularly useful for a given purpose. Asset specificity may limit the use of the asset for other purposes.


(ITIL Service Transition) A piece of information about a configuration item. Examples are name, location, version number and cost. Attributes of CIs are recorded in a configuration management database (CMDB) and maintained as part of a configuration management system (CMS). See also relationship; configuration management system.


Formal inspection and verification to check whether a standard or set of guidelines is being followed, that records are accurate, or that efficiency and effectiveness targets are being met. An audit may be carried out by internal or external groups. See also assessment; certification.

authority matrix


automatic call distribution (ACD)

(ITIL Service Operation) Use of information technology to direct an incoming telephone call to the most appropriate person in the shortest possible time. ACD is sometimes called automated call distribution.


(ITIL Service Design) Ability of an IT service or other configuration item to perform its agreed function when required. Availability is determined by reliability, maintainability, serviceability, performance and security. Availability is usually calculated as a percentage. This calculation is often based on agreed service time and downtime. It is best practice to calculate availability of an IT service using measurements of the business output.

availability management (AM)

(ITIL Service Design) The process responsible for ensuring that IT services meet the current and future availability needs of the business in a cost-effective and timely manner. Availability management defines, analyzes, plans, measures and improves all aspects of the availability of IT services, and ensures that all IT infrastructures, processes, tools, roles etc. are appropriate for the agreed service level targets for availability. See also availability management information system.

availability management information system (AMIS)

(ITIL Service Design) A set of tools, data and information that is used to support availability management. See also service knowledge management system.

availability plan

(ITIL Service Design) A plan to ensure that existing and future availability requirements for IT services can be provided cost-effectively.

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