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Consortium for Service Innovation

Appendix F: KCS and ITIL

Some service delivery organizations, especially in IT organizations, have adopted a framework called ITIL--the IT Infrastructure Library®.  ITIL® was created by the government of the United Kingdom in the 1980s to provide a structure to help enterprises organize and improve their IT Service Management practices.  Organizations that have adopted ITIL, or are considering ITIL, often wonder how KCS and ITIL might work together.

The short answer is that KCS and ITIL are extremely complementary.  They both seek to improve service delivery and management, are technology agnostic, and recognize the value of knowledge. 

Here are a few considerations for implementing KCS and ITIL together:

  • ITIL is a framework, not a methodology.  In other words, it describes the organization of tasks in service management, but isn't prescriptive about how to do them.  By contrast, KCS focuses on particular aspects of service delivery--in particular, the integration of knowledge into the workflow--and is much more specific about what staff and organizations should do.  In this way, KCS "plugs in" to the ITIL framework, providing specific guidance for organizations, especially in what ITIL calls Incident Management, but also with Problem, Change, Release, and Deployment, and Service Level Management.
  • ITIL and KCS each define their own terms, and in some cases, these definitions aren't the same.  For example, in ITIL, "knowledge" refers to all information in the Service Knowledge Management System.   ITIL promotes linking incidents to records in the problem database and a known error database, whereas KCS takes a much more expansive view of the types and nature of knowledge that can be linked to an incident record.  To avoid confusion, organizations should be clear about their language choices.
  • Practitioners who adopt service management processes based on ITIL and KCS should include knowledge capture, structure, reuse, and improvement in the ITIL Incident Management process, as well as integrate knowledge into other ITIL processes.


ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.
IT Infrastructure Library® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.
The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited.KCS 

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