Hardware & Software

What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?

December 7, 2015

Ashley Neu

IT Service Management is a set of specialized technical capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of IT services. This is different from other IT management approaches that usually focus on the technologies themselves. An ITSM approach concentrates first and foremost on the business goals.

Here are the three defining characteristics on an ITSM process:

  1. There is an adoption of an IT process, but the goal of this process is defined by an organization’s upper management and geared towards the business as a whole.
  2. The focus is on the customer’s needs and how IT can provide services (rather than systems) to address those needs.
  3. The ITSM process is one of continual improvement and that focus is present in each step of the lifecycle.

Steps in the Lifecycle

There are five main business areas that are affected in the ITSM Lifecycle:

  1. Organizational Objectives = defined by the organization’s upper management and are focused on setting overall business goals.
  2. Business Process = repeatable processes that ensure standards of quality are consistently met; again this is from a high-level organizational perspective not from a specific IT perspective.
  3. IT Service Organization = the department that examines the business processes and identifies IT’s role within them and sets specific goals for the department.
  4. IT Service Management = takes the IT goals determined by the service organization and develops processes to be followed in order to achieve their goals while consistently meeting standards of quality.
  5. Technical Activities = the group of IT workers who perform the actions related to the IT Service Processes in order to provide value to the customer from an IT service perspective.

Types of IT Service Management Frameworks

The overview of IT Service Management above provides a general idea of how an IT Service Organization should operate, but the actual specifics of the goals and process can be defined in a number of ways. ITSM frameworks for developing the internal processes can be categorized in one of three ways.

1. Public Frameworks

Public frameworks for ITSM are available to all and widely distributed. Additionally they offer more of a guideline to follow and thus are open to interpretation by the organization itself. Examples of public ITSM frameworks include:

2. Standards

Standards are formal criteria, methods, processes and practices. These are strictly outlined and leave no room for interpretation. Examples of ITSM related standards include:

3. Organizational or Individual Knowledge

This is completely developed by either the organization or an individual and it is the result of continual service improvement towards finding the process that best meets the organization’s unique customers and their specific needs. This knowledge is tactical and can be easily molded and leveraged for internal purposes. 

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