ITSM is regarded by the application owners as the recovery of the IT infrastructure used to deliver IT services, but as of 2009 many businesses practice the much further-reaching process of business continuity planning (BCP), to ensure that the whole end-to-end business process can continue should a serious incident occur (at primary support level).
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Continual service improvement, defined in the ITIL continual service improvement volume,[26] aims to align and realign IT services to changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to the IT services that support the business processes. It incorporates many of the same concepts articulated in the Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act. The perspective of CSI on improvement is the business perspective of service quality, even though CSI aims to improve process effectiveness, efficiency and cost effectiveness of the IT processes through the whole lifecycle. To manage improvement, CSI should clearly define what should be controlled and measured.
For years now, ITIL (formerly known as the IT Infrastructure Library) has remained the cornerstone and industry-standard best practice framework for supporting, managing and aligning IT Service Management with the needs of the business. Trademarked by AXELOS, ITIL acts as a governing agent for IT, and uses the ITIL Service Lifecycle to map the entire journey from customer needs and requirements all the way through continual improvement of services.
In 2000/2001, to make ITIL more accessible (and affordable), ITIL Version 2 consolidated the publications into nine logical "sets" that grouped related process-guidelines to match different aspects of IT management, applications and services. The Service Management sets (Service Support and Service Delivery) were by far the most widely used, circulated, and understood of the ITIL Version 2 publications.[citation needed]

Although the certification covers all the five practice areas of the ITIL service lifecycle, including how the different lifecycle stages are linked to one another, an IT pro who completes the ITIL Foundation level will likely need to complete the Practitioner or Intermediate certification before being able to qualify for service management positions.

ITIL Intermediate (Lifecycle Stream): Addresses aspects of ITIL from a holistic, lifecycle perspective. Lifecycle may be more suited to those with managerial responsibility looking at the overall IT Service Management picture. The Service Strategy course in particular is very much rooted in the broader corporate strategy and governance environment.
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