"Business" in ITIL?

Dear Wizard,

It's been a few days since I started to discover the world of ITIL and to study for the Foundation exam.
In the book(s) there is a number of "Business" words, and I cannot understand what side of business do they talk about: "Business Capacity Management", "Business Service (Management)", "Business Continuity Plan", "Pattern of Business Activity", etc. Their definitions are really puzzling.

In the university I studied economics, entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, innovation theories, business case development, etc. So, I more or less know what Business should be about, and that is not the Business which ITIL means.

I also follow the trends in science and practical field. I notice an increased interest and popularity of themes like "Business Models" and "Business Model Innovation" lately. But that new idea of Business is not the Business ITIL describes either.

Ok, in the past I worked for a software development company. So, I know that a company can make a good business by selling some software products or providing outsourcing services to partners. But for that (at least for services) ITIL uses different terms and descriptions, like "SLA","Contract Portfolio", "Service Provider", "Klient" etc. And "Business" is used by ITIL for something else.

Well, I decided to dig a bit deeper. In the original books, especially in Service Strategy, I could find some themes really much related to Business. They mention SWOT analysis, refer to Mintzberg, Porter, Kim & Mauborgne. But all that has no connection to the "Business" terms I mentioned in the beginning. I see almost no trace of those theories in the Foundation-oriented books. However the misterious "Business" appears there extensively.

Dear Wizard, please help me to understand whose Business ITIL is talking about?


P.S. I hope you won't tell me that it's not my business.

Dear VarSan

Sorry I missed your question for so long - it has been sitting in the queue overlooked by me for months. Must get some better process for that.

Meantime, let's look at what ITIL means by business.

We can assume "Business" is not referring to the multi-billion-dollar industry that pimps ITIL: the publishing, training and consulting hordes that have turned it into one of the IT industries star turns. Granted it isn't as gross as other industries such as Cloud, virtualisation or iPhone apps, but it is up there.

Nor is it likely to mean the cosy family Business that goes on within Castle ITIL, with everyone carefully defending their monopolistic position and looking out for each other against all those not privileged to be in the inner circle.

No! it is talking about the real Business, the one that matters, the true client of ITSM. I am referring of course to the remainder of the organisation of which IT is a part. It is a mystery how all the other departments of a company, corporation, agency or ministry came to be collectively known as The Business, but that's who IT's customer is and that's what we call them.

Lost in the whole discussion of aligning or integrating IT with The Business is the group hovering in the murky background behind The Business. Apparently The Business does business with customers of its own, but that is not what ITIL means by Business, except perhaps in certain aberrant bits of Service Strategy which will doubtless be expunged in the rewrite to maintain consistency with the other books.

Good luck and good business
the ITIL WIzard

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