The same issue of Network Computing magazine that features the great piece on outsourcing application development also includes a quick rundown on ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library. British-borne and bred, the methodology offers a set of best practices for getting IT services under your management control.
“IT Best Practices” provides a diagram showing the seven best practices defined by ITIL, then drills down on service support and delivery, which comprise processes “associated with day-to-day support and maintenance in provision of IT services” and “processes for planning and delivery of quality IT services” as well as improving the quality of IT services.
This is a fairly easy story to follow that explains the magical allure of ITIL. If you're not into buying the pricey and voluminous documentation of ITIL from the source, author Bruce Boardman suggests getting a copy of The Visible Ops Handbook: Starting ITIL in Four Practical Steps from the Information Technology Process Institute out of Oregon. (Interestingly, whereas the hardcopy price is $19.95, you'll pay $35 for a digital edition.)
Want a summary of the process? Go to this page, which provides a four-step summary explanation for implementing ITIL.