What is IT service management (ITSM)?
IT service management (ITSM) is a set of policies and practices for implementing, delivering and managing IT services for end users in a way that meets the needs of end users and the goals of the business.
ITSM enables and maintains optimal deployment, operation and management of every single IT resource for every user in the extended enterprise.
What is ITIL?
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the most widely adopted best-practices guidance framework for implementing and documenting ITSM.
This includes the ITSM processes lifecycle—designing, developing, implementing and managing a portfolio of IT services, determining the cost and budget for these services and forecasting the future demand for services.
Designing services and processes with respect to IT asset management business requirements for availability, security, service level agreements (SLAs) with users, continuity (including backup and disaster recovery services) and much more.
Best practices for moving to a new or changed service with minimal impact on the IT service management quality and performance.
Management of deployed services, including fulfilling service requests (from users or departments), responding to problems and incidents and controlling access to services.
Continual Service Improvement
Steps for revising or expanding services as business needs change.
ITSM Services: Key practices and concepts
In ITSM-speak, an incident is an unplanned outage or interruption in service. Incident management defines the process of responding to an incident with the goal of restoring the service with minimal impact to users and the business.
This is the process of not just identifying and addressing the root cause of an ITSM incident, but also the factors leading to the root cause and determining the best way to eliminate it.
In IT, change is a constant. Change management, also known as change enablement, is the establishment of processes and practices that minimize IT service disruptions, compliance issues and other risks that might result from changes made to critical systems.
IT Asset Management and configuration management: This defines processes for authorizing, monitoring and documenting the configuration of software and hardware assets (physical and virtual servers, operating systems, notebooks, mobile devices) used to deliver services. A key asset and configuration management tool is the configuration management database (CMDB), which serves as a central repository of all IT assets and the relationships between them.
Service request management: This is concerned with processes for handling requests for new services from individual users or areas of the business. This could include anything from employee requests for new notebooks to partner requests for portal access or a departmental request for several new “seats” on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. The greater the automation of the ticketing workflow and “self-service” capability in service request management, the greater the potential benefit to the organization.
Service catalog: A menu or portal that allows users to help themselves to IT services.
Knowledge management: The practice of generating and sharing IT service–related knowledge across the organization and/or the extended enterprise (including customers and partners). A searchable, continually updated self-service knowledge base is usually the core tool of this ITSM practice.
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Service level management: The practice of agreeing upon required or desired levels of service for different groups of users and then meeting those levels, or “compensating” users when the levels aren’t met. Typically, the agreed-upon service levels are documented in a service level agreement (SLA), which essentially functions as a contract between IT and the users or the business.
IT Service Desk: In ITSM, the IT Service Desk is a superset of the standard help desk—it serves as the single point of contact (SPOC) for fielding and managing all incidents, problems and requests. It’s also a foundation of ITSM, where all incident reports, problem reports and service requests begin, and where users can track their progress. The Service Desk handles software licensing, service providers and third-party contracts related to ITSM. In many cases, the Service Desk operates and maintains ITSM-related self-service portals and knowledge bases.
The goal of ITSM is to ensure that IT services perform in a way that they meet the needs of the users and the business. It’s no surprise, then, that a rigorous ITSM approach often results in some significant business benefits:
ServiceNow ITSM makes it easier for IT teams to provide a fast, agile and trauma-free response to unexpected events, new opportunities and competitive threats.
By enabling better system performance, greater availability and fewer service interruptions, ITSM helps users do more work and generate more business.
By systematically speeding incident resolution, reducing incidents and problems and even automatically preventing or resolving issues, ITSM helps the business get more productivity from IT infrastructure at less cost.
ITSM helps the organization set and meet realistic expectations for service, leading to greater transparency and improved user satisfaction.
By embedding compliance into IT service design, delivery and management, ITSM can improve compliance and reduce risk.
For IT departments, ITSM enables a continually more productive, effective and cost-effective service organization that’s aligned with business strategy—an IT department that increasingly becomes a critical part of the organization’s success.
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