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

E - early life support (ELS) to external service provider

early life support (ELS)

(ITIL Service Transition) A stage in the service lifecycle that occurs at the end of deployment and before the service is fully accepted into operation. During early life support, the service provider reviews key performance indicators, service levels and monitoring thresholds and may implement improvements to ensure that service targets can be met. The service provider may also provide additional resources for incident and problem management during this time.

economies of scale

(ITIL Service Strategy) The reduction in average cost that is possible from increasing the usage of an IT service or asset. See also economies of scope.

economies of scope

(ITIL Service Strategy) The reduction in cost that is allocated to an IT service by using an existing asset for an additional purpose. For example, delivering a new IT service from an existing IT infrastructure. See also ,economies of scale.


(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) A measure of whether the objectives of a process, service or activity have been achieved. An effective process or activity is one that achieves its agreed objectives. See also key performance indicator.


(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) A measure of whether the right amount of resource has been used to deliver a process, service or activity. An efficient process achieves its objectives with the minimum amount of time, money, people or other resources. See also key performance indicator.

emergency change

(ITIL Service Transition) A change that must be introduced as soon as possible – for example, to resolve a major incident or implement a security patch. The change management process will normally have a specific procedure for handling emergency changes. See also emergency change advisory board.

emergency change advisory board (ECAB)

(ITIL Service Transition) A subgroup of the change advisory board that makes decisions about emergency changes. Membership may be decided at the time a meeting is called, and depends on the nature of the emergency change.

enabling service

(ITIL Service Strategy) A service that is needed in order to deliver a core service. Enabling services may or may not be visible to the customer, but they are not offered to customers in their own right. See also enhancing service.

enhancing service

(ITIL Service Strategy) A service that is added to a core service to make it more attractive to the customer. Enhancing services are not essential to the delivery of a core service but are used to encourage customers to use the core services or to differentiate the service provider from its competitors. See also enabling service; excitement factor.

enterprise financial management

(ITIL Service Strategy) The function and processes responsible for managing the overall organization's budgeting, accounting and charging requirements. Enterprise financial management is sometimes referred to as the 'corporate' financial department. See also financial management for IT services.


(ITIL Service Transition) A subset of the IT infrastructure that is used for a particular purpose – for example, live environment, test environment, build environment. Also used in the term 'physical environment' to mean the accommodation, air conditioning, power system etc. Environment is used as a generic term to mean the external conditions that influence or affect something.


(ITIL Service Operation) A design flaw or malfunction that causes a failure of one or more IT services or other configuration items. A mistake made by a person or a faulty process that impacts a configuration item is also an error.


(ITIL Service Operation) An activity that obtains additional resources when these are needed to meet service level targets or customer expectations. Escalation may be needed within any IT service management process, but is most commonly associated with incident management, problem management and the management of customer complaints. There are two types of escalation: functional escalation and hierarchic escalation.

eSourcing Capability Model for Client Organizations (eSCM-CL)

(ITIL Service Strategy) A framework to help organizations in their analysis and decision-making on service sourcing models and strategies. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon University in the US. See also eSourcing Capability Model for Service Providers.

eSourcing Capability Model for Service Providers (eSCM-SP)

(ITIL Service Strategy) A framework to help IT service providers develop their IT service management capabilities from a service sourcing perspective. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon University in the US. See also eSourcing Capability Model for Client Organizations.


The use of experience to provide an approximate value for a metric or cost. Estimation is also used in capacity and availability management as the cheapest and least accurate modelling method.


(ITIL Service Operation) A change of state that has significance for the management of an IT service or other configuration item. The term is also used to mean an alert or notification created by any IT service, configuration item or monitoring tool. Events typically require IT operations personnel to take actions, and often lead to incidents being logged.

event management

(ITIL Service Operation) The process responsible for managing events throughout their lifecycle. Event management is one of the main activities of IT operations.

exception report

A document containing details of one or more key performance indicators or other important targets that have exceeded defined thresholds. Examples include service level agreement targets being missed or about to be missed, and a performance metric indicating a potential capacity problem.

excitement attribute

excitement factor

(ITIL Service Strategy) An attribute added to something to make it more attractive or more exciting to the customer. For example, a restaurant may provide a free drink with every meal. See also enhancing service.

expanded incident lifecycle

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Design) Detailed stages in the lifecycle of an incident. The stages are detection, diagnosis, repair, recovery and restoration. The expanded incident lifecycle is used to help understand all contributions to the impact of incidents and to plan for how these could be controlled or reduced.

external customer

A customer who works for a different business from the IT service provider. See also external service provider; internal customer.

external metric

A metric that is used to measure the delivery of IT service to a customer. External metrics are usually defined in service level agreements and reported to customers. See also internal metric.

external service provider

(ITIL Service Strategy) An IT service provider that is part of a different organization from its customer. An IT service provider may have both internal and external customers. See also outsourcing; Type III service provider.

Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2012. All rights reserved. Material is reproduced with the permission of AXELOS

Read more on ITIL

ITIL Mindmap - the ITIL method mapped out using mindmeister mindmapping.