Every time someone asks us this question, we scour the internet to find the perfect answer for someone who’s completely new to ITSM. After looking through numerous pages, we noticed that they miss the point that the visitor is likely to be new to the concept, and inadvertently resort to jargons that are hard to wrap your head around. So, we thought – “Screw it. If no one else wants to break it down, we will.”
If you’re completely new to the concept of ITSM, you’ve come to the right place.
ITSM (or IT Service Management) refers to all the activities involved in designing, creating, delivering, supporting and managing the lifecycle of IT services.
Well, of course it does, but what are IT services? Think of any piece of technology you use at your workplace – your laptop, the apps installed on it, the printer that your entire team uses, or the option to reset your password even after the first 15 times. They’re all services provided by your IT team. In other words – IT services.
Although the most common perception of ITSM among IT users (employees) is just “IT support”, ITSM goes way beyond resolving day-to-day issues. Your IT team is responsible for end-to-end management of these services. They might use an ITSM software like Freshservice to effectively manage these services.
With that basic introduction out of the way, check out this video where Stephen Mann sums up ITSM and its relationship with the business.
If your business has more than a handful of employees, and if even one of you is the designated “IT guy”, you’re already doing ITSM in a small way. But as your business grows, you might need to bring in more mature processes to get the most benefits out of your ITSM investment.
Here are the most common benefits of ITSM. Watch the video for a detailed walkthrough:
Reduce IT costs
Improve quality of service
Improve customer satisfaction
Improve governance and reduce risk
Increase competitive advantage
Increase agility for new IT services
The way to choose the right ITSM processes is to look at what your business specifically needs. For instance, if you have a small IT support team that’s constantly firefighting similar issues, it makes more sense to find the root cause and resolve it once and for all. A simple example of it would be a storage space issue – you can keep deleting files and applications every time the hard drive maxes out. But simply installing a bigger hard drive is a better longer-term solution.
In ITSM terms, it translates to going from mere Incident Management to Problem Management. In the example above, the computer running out of storage space is the incident and the hard drive capacity being inadequate is the underlying problem. Of course, IT support teams in larger organizations typically handle incidents that are much more complex and send problems over to dedicated problem management teams.
Let’s talk about a key benefit we discussed above – cutting costs. IT service management can help do this by:
Increasing IT efficiency
Increasing business efficiency
Reducing IT wastage
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these.
Offer technology-enabled process workflow and eliminate manual process, thereby improving collaboration between all teams.
Reduce admin, waiting, and even firefighting to make time for more strategic work.
Prioritize and customize the resolution time based on the business impact caused by IT issues.
Effective problem management and knowledge management help reduce recurring issues, resolution times, and impact on end users and the business as a whole.
Automate the reports generating process and reduce reporting costs.
With the help of incident, problem, and availability management.
Prevent serious, business-affecting issues through problem management and capacity management.
The adverse effect of severe issues can be mitigated through major incident management and IT service continuity.
Save time, efforts and unnecessary costs by reducing wastage and avoiding duplication of work.
Ensure that any new IT spend is essential through asset, configuration, and capacity management.
Effective asset management can help avoid duplicity of applications, hardware, hosting, and their support.
PCs, other devices, and installed personal productivity software need to be effectively tracked to prevent underutilization.
Avoid the costs of “reworking” mistakes that is ultimately the duplication, or even triplication, of effort.
ITIL – the most popular ITSM best practice framework – is split across 5 core books. Each of these books relates to a different part of what ITIL calls the “service lifecycle”:
Service strategy – as the name suggests, it’s the planning and getting ready that the service provider must do to deliver services that meet business needs.
Service design – it’s the design of everything required to deliver a service, from the service through to management.
Service transition – this covers introducing, changing, and retiring services.
Service operation – it’s where the service desk, and its activities, sits.
Continual service improvement – which is all about improvement, whether that be keeping up with changing business needs or optimizing operational activities.
The process of managing IT issues (or incident management in ITIL terms) is just one of the processes in one of these stages – Service Operation.
Some of the other common ITIL processes are:
Understanding the difference between ITSM and ITIL is important. ITIL is the most commonly used ITSM framework, but it’s just one of the ways of doing ITSM.
As Stephen puts it – "The easiest way to describe the difference is to think of goldfish and fish per se: a goldfish is a fish but not all fish are goldfish. So ITIL is ITSM but not all ITSM is ITIL."
Thus a company might be using ITSM but not using ITIL. They might be using no recognized ITSM framework or standard; or they might be using:
COBIT – a framework for the governance and management of enterprise IT
ISO 20000 – the international standard for service management
MOF – Microsoft Operations Framework is a series of guides for creating, implementing, and managing efficient and cost-effective IT services
USMBOK – the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge is a “companion piece” that supplements existing ITSM resources such as ITIL on both strategic and operational levels
Of course they could be using multiple frameworks or standards such as COBIT plus ITIL.
We hope we answered most questions you had about ITSM and ITIL. Here are some resources to help you learn more.
The Paradigm Shift In ITSM
Achieving ITSM metrics in the age of the millennials
14 Benefits of Enterprise Service Management
On-premise ITSM Tools are all set to crash and burn
What do companies really want from ITSM?
ITSM Tool Woes: 5 Tips to Overcome Service Desk Frustrations
Top 10 Tips for ITSM Tool Selection
The State of the Service Desk: A Refreshing Customer Perspective to ITSM
Why are so few Service Desk Agents Involved in the ITSM Technology Selection Process?
5 life lessons about implementing ITSM tools
5 Simple Tips to Pick the Right ITSM Tool Vendor
ITSM Infographic: 8 Tips for Getting Started with Self-service