What Is ITSM?
A Newbie’s Guide to IT Service Management
A newbie’s guide to
IT Service Management
- Introduction to ITSM (Information Technology Service Management)
- What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?
- IT Service Desk, IT Help Desk & ITSM: Are they same or different?
- What are ITSM Tools?
- Benefits of using ITSM Tools
- What are ITSM Processes?
- Common ITSM processes
- What are ITSM Frameworks?
- Some widely-used ITSM frameworks
- What is ITIL?
- Difference Between ITSM and ITIL
- Benefits of ITSM for Improving Business Performance
- Digital Transformation with ITSM
Introduction to ITSM
(Information Technology Service Management)
The high-impact goals of digital transformation set by modern enterprises can only be achieved through one way today—strengthening the organization’s ability to consistently deliver customer values through streamlined, synchronized IT services that connect people with technology.
While having a robust IT infrastructure in place is the ‘stepping stone’ to digital transformation, that alone is not enough to gain a competitive advantage or enhance customer engagement. It is ITSM, or Information Technology Service Management, that is instrumental in helping you go that extra mile. Find out why it is the key to modern business success today.
What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?
Sample this: Your existing laptop is malfunctioning, and you need the IT department to issue you a new one. Now, what are the steps to be followed to get this request registered, approved and finally, have it delivered to your home? You’d place your request on a portal, and then fill up a digital ticket with all necessary information to qualify the purchase and to kick off operations to make it happen. The ticket, bearing all of the critical information, would next reach the IT department, where requests from you and other employees are processed on a priority basis.
IT Service Management – better known as ITSM — is how IT teams manage such end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers, including an all-encompassing approach to design, create, deliver, and support IT services. The entire IT service management (ITSM) ecosystem within an organization enables it to maximize business value by leveraging modern IT.
Did You Know?
An international survey of 491 firms showed over 90 percent of companies are estimated to use IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks. So even if your office is into a ‘non-IT’ business, there must an ‘IT guy’ around to fix tech-aches, which means there is an implementation of some form of ITSM.
IT Service Desk, IT Help Desk & ITSM:
Are they same or different?
Alligators & crocodiles, jealousy & envy, Great Britain & United Kingdom…Just a list of things that are commonly confused and believed to be the same by many, but are in fact different. Adding to this list would be ITSM, IT Service Desk and IT Help Desk. If all three words appear to be interchangeable with each other, read on to understand the difference.
IT Help Desk service is a dedicated unit in a company that fixes technical issues, usually with the help of an internal IT Help Desk software. This is commonly referred to as Incident Management” or Problem Management, and works via IT ticketing systems that follow a tactical approach.
IT Service Desk, on the other hand, is strategic in its nature of operations, and takes into account the broader business context as well. This entails overall management of the organization’s needs, rather than focusing on dealing with end-user problems. As per ITIL, Service Desk is defined as “the Single Point of Contact between the Service Provider and the Service Consumer”. Help Desk is thus, a subset of a Dervice Desk. While the first is about fixing stuff, the second also offers new services and maintains existing ones.
IT Service Management is way more than just resolution of everyday technical problems. The ITSM department keeps an eye of all kinds of workplace technology—be it laptops, networks or business-critical software applications. Simply put, it streamlines the entirety of IT functions in an organization, which entails planning and designing new IT services, and not just delivering and supporting them. Needless to say, it is not only much more complex, but also highly challenging in nature.
What are ITSM Tools?
ITSM tools are software solutions that facilitate managing an organization’s IT services, either to internal users or external customers. As per Gartner, “ITSM tools facilitate the tasks and workflows associated with the management and delivery of quality IT services.”
Flexibility and adaptability are key features your ITSM software must have.
These tools help IT teams maintain ticketing systems, build reports and identify errors and inconsistencies in products or services. As demand for ITSM tools grows, and customer experience gains paramount importance, it may be tricky to zero down on the best ITSM tool for your organization. Here are few examples of ITSM tools:
Jira Service Management or ServiceNow?
Wondering which one would be a better choice for your business’s unique needs?
Find out now.
Benefits of using ITSM Tools
1. Empower Organizations with a Framework to Request and Provide Services
An ITSM tool enables teams to standardize processes with the help of a more structured documentation system, and keep track of everything the organization’s IT service offers. It also makes it super-easy to establish Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and detect instances when they aren’t met.
2. Record & Documentation at your Fingertips
An effective ITSM tool must be able to detect and help teams learn from errors, which can be achieved by recording all IT activities in a consistent, reliable, and readily available manner.
3. Automation Advantage
By automating processes, IT services can replace all those manual hours with a few simple clicks. Eg: Generating, updating, and closing tickets, recording user activity, process documentation or sending email/alerts.
4. Continual Service Improvement
Stagnation is the biggest impediment to the growing success of an organization. Besides, risk mitigation and improvement in governance are other goals that can be achieved easily with ITSM tools.
5. Reduced Costs
Automating manual processes, implementing user self-service options and reducing the average time taken to resolve incidents automatically translates into better profits.
What are ITSM Processes?
With a view to manage IT service performance, initiate changes within the system and analyze pain points, IT Service Management teams follow repeatable procedures to deliver consistent services. These are called ITSM processes, and are essential to assess an IT service’s existing capabilities as well as pave the way for improvement.
Common ITSM Processes Include:
1. Service Request Management
Simply put, Service Request Management helps a company maintain and enhance the level of service it offers customers, and also helps it meet Service Level Agreements (SLA). This involves a repeatable procedure for managing various customer service requests, such as access requests to applications, software or hardware upgrades.
2. Knowledge Management
ITIL defines Knowledge Management as a central process responsible for providing knowledge to all other IT Service Management processes. As the name suggests, Knowledge Management is the process of generating, sharing, using, and managing the knowledge or data of an organization.
3. IT Asset Management
According to the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), IT Asset Management (ITAM) is “a set of business practices that incorporates IT assets across the business units within the organization. It joins the financial, inventory, contractual and risk management responsibilities to manage the overall life cycle of these assets including tactical and strategic decision making”. This involves gathering elaborate information on hardware and software inventories which are then used to make decisions about asset utilization.
4. Incident Management
With a rising dependence on software services comes an increasing number of potential stumbling blocks and un-forced stoppages. Incident Management is the process to respond to such unplanned, critical escalation and restore services to normalcy at the earliest. This helps teams avoid production slowdowns by speeding up troubleshooting.
5. Problem Management
Incidents stem from problems. While an IT enterprise might temporarily solve a particular issue, it can’t instantly fix the root cause. Enter Problem Management–a method to identify and manage the causes of incidents on an IT service to figure out the best possible solution for the problem source.
6. Change Management
Change management ensures that established procedures are used for dealing with any changes to the IT infrastructure in an efficient manner, be it introduction of new services, managing existing ones, or resolving problems in the code. The purpose is to provide better context and visibility to lower risks in operation.
Sounds overwhelming? Robust ITSM solutions and support teams don’t appear over night. The growth opportunities are limitless, so are the various ways you can evolve and adapt to digital transformation. It starts with target teams and MVP deployments of your tool so that complexities improvements are layered in over time to fit the way your teams work.
What are ITSM Frameworks?
ITSM framework refers to a compilation of processes and practices needed to manage and maintain Information Technology services.
Some widely-used ITSM frameworks:
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library: The most widely used, comprehensive, practical and proven framework of best practices for delivering IT services
- Business Process Framework (eTOM): an operating model framework designed for telecommunications service providers
- COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies):
A framework defining processes for the management of IT with process inputs and outputs, performance measures, elementary maturity model, etc
- FitSM: a simplified, lightweight standard for IT service management
- ISO/IEC 20000: International standard for IT service management and delivery
- Six Sigma: developed by Motorola with a focus on using data analysis to minimize product and service flaws based on a set of techniques and tools for process improvement
- MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework): a set of documents that guide businesses through the entire lifecycle of an IT service. This is achieved through a holistic process of creation, implementation and economical management, with a focus on Microsoft technologies
- TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework): an approach for designing, planning, implementing, and governing an enterprise IT architecture based on data, business, technology and applications architecture
Some of these ITSM frameworks are best suited for specific industries or requirements. If your business has ITSM needs that are unique to a particular sector, you might need to zero down on a framework that addresses your specific challenges.
What is ITIL?
The exponentially growing trend of embracing ITSM rests on the foundations of ITIL – an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a flexible framework designed to standardize the selection, planning, delivery, maintenance, and overall lifecycle of IT (information technology) services within a business.
Think of it as practical and proven guidance for establishing an IT service management system, with a common ‘language’ for businesses using IT enabled services.
Did You Know?
ITIL has been adopted by thousands of organizations worldwide, including NASA, Spotify, Microsoft and HSBC
ITIL® was developed in the late 1980s by the Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), a British government agency, as a set of standards for refining IT performance. Since 2013, ITIL has been owned by AXELOS , a joint venture between Capita and the UK Cabinet Office. AXELOS licenses organizations to use the ITIL intellectual property, accredits licensed examination institutes, and manages updates to the framework.
Axelos defines itself as “responsible for developing, enhancing and promoting a number of best practice frameworks and methodologies used globally by professionals working primarily in IT service management, project, programme and portfolio management and cyber resilience.”
As the standards grew in popularity, it underwent multiple upgrades (ITIL V2, ITIL V3) with the most recent version released as ITIL 4 in 2019.
By offering an explicit operating model, ITIL guidelines and best practices align IT department actions and expenses to both business strategy as well as customer needs, and also adapt to changing needs as the business evolves.
These processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists are not enterprise-specific, and can be flexibly integrated with an organization’s overall strategy.
Difference Between ITSM and ITIL
In a nutshell, ITSM defines the “what”, while ITIL defines the “how”. Think of ITSM as the actual practice, or professional discipline of managing IT operations as a service, and ITIL as a set of best practices that guides the application of ITSM. While ITSM is directed towards implementation and management of quality IT services that meet various business needs, ITIL is a framework that professionals use to implement ITSM effectively and deliver more value to their organizations.
Benefits of ITSM
for Improving Business Performance
As the pandemic continues to disrupt life at both home and work, more and more enterprises are establishing robust internal IT teams, seamless self-service models, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms to reduce dependencies external resources. ITSM support is instrumental in helping modern organizations achieve these goals as it performs the following functions:
- Higher information security and lower risk through repeatable and highly scalable processes
- Consistent IT service delivery
- Helps define roles and responsibilities
- Boosts productivity by reducing the gap between detecting incidents and solving them
- Improves accountability through standardization
- Uses analytics to measure and improve performance
- Improves quality and productivity at a lower cost
- Helps adapt to fast-paced market innovations
- Increases self-service productivity
- Risk-free implementation of IT changes
- Better customer relationship
- Helps achieve better ROI on corporate ITSM solution investment
Digital Transformation with ITSM
IT Service Management is on the agenda of every modern organization today, as it helps organizations accelerate their digital transformation journey. However, according to one of AXELOS’ ITSM Benchmarking Report-which surveyed over 1,600 ITSM professionals worldwide-there exists a knowledge gap between the C-suite and the role ITSM plays within the organization. To bolster business success, it is important for ITSM to be better aligned with business strategy.
For instance, Service desk integrations ( such as Jira Service Management) are working as a means of consolidating both technology and data by automating service requests and ticketing responses. Cloud Migration is another significant processes through which digital transformation is radically impacting how service management solutions are delivered.
Digital Transformation is not just restricted to ‘IT growth’, but a holistic business change bringing about real impact across the entire organization. IT departments, will therefore need to focus on collaborating effectively and efficiently with the rest of the business in order to co-create value.