ITIL was developed in the UK in the 1980s. With the growing influence of information technology on all sectors, IT spending rose — as it did in the British state. Here, the political order was shaped by Prime Minister Margret Thatcher and her neoliberal economic policies (Thatcherism). Her unbending attitude, especially towards socialists, earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady”.
She cut the budget for social services, subsidies and spending on education and environmental protection. The influence of the state on the economy in almost all sectors was reduced and the power of the trade unions was curtailed. With an iron fist, Thatcher rehabilitated the outdated British industry through rigorous downsizing. In this context, the IT efficiency of government agencies had to be increased as well in order to reduce costs.
Tried-and-tested, sensible standard procedures had to be found for IT operations. And so Skinner and Stewart from the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) developed a workable Set of Best Practices. In 1986, these still had the “Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management Method” working title with the unpronounceable abbreviation — GITIMM. Since ITIL was not really a method, the framework was later renamed “IT Infrastructure Library”, or ITIL for short. The collection of subject-related books describing ITIL became the namesake. The fact that the “G” for “Government” was casually dropped in the course of the renaming is probably one of the reasons why the framework was also able to establish itself outside the authorities. Nevertheless, ITIL remains true to its roots: Today, the trademark belongs to AXELOS, a joint venture between the CAPITA Group and the Cabinet Office.