ITSM - IT Service Management
IT service management (ITSM) is the process of designing, delivering, managing, and improving the IT services an organization provides to its end users. ITSM is focused on aligning IT processes and services with business objectives to help an organization grow.
ITSM positions IT services as the key means of delivering and obtaining value, where an internal or external IT service provider works with business customers, at the same time taking responsibility for the associated costs and risks. ITSM works across the whole lifecycle of a service, from the original strategy, through design, transition and into live operation.
To ensure sustainable quality of IT services, ITSM establishes a set of practices, or processes, constituting a service management system. There are industrial, national and international standards for IT service management solutions, setting up requirements and good practices for the management system.
ITSM system is based on a set of principles, such as focusing on value and continual improvement. It is not just a set of processes – it is a cultural mindset to ensure that the desired outcome for the business is achieved.
ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) is a framework of best practices and recommendations for managing an organization's IT operations and services. IT service management processes, when built based on the ITIL framework, pave the way for better IT service operations management and improved business. To summarize, ITIL is a set of guidelines for effective IT service management best practices. ITIL has evolved beyond the delivery of services to providing end-to-end value delivery. The focus is now on the co-creation of value through service relationships.
ITSM processes typically include five stages, all based on the ITIL framework:
ITSM strategy. This stage forms the foundation or the framework of an organization's ITSM process building. It involves defining the services that the organization will offer, strategically planning processes, and recognizing and developing the required assets to keep processes moving.
Service design. This stage's main aim is planning and designing the IT services the organization offers to meet business demands. It involves creating and designing new services as well as assessing current services and making relevant improvements.
Service transition. Once the designs for IT services and their processes have been finalized, it's important to build them and test them out to ensure that processes flow. IT teams need to ensure that the designs don't disrupt services in any way, especially when existing IT service processes are upgraded or redesigned. This calls for change management, evaluation, and risk management.
Service operation. This phase involves implementing the tried and tested new or modified designs in a live environment. While in this stage, the processes have already been tested and the issues fixed, but new processes are bound to have hiccups—especially when customers start using the services.
Continual service improvement (CSI). Implementing IT processes successfully shouldn't be the final stage in any organization. There's always room for improvement and new development based on issues that pop up, customer needs and demands, and user feedback.
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Benefits of efficient ITSM processes
Irrespective of the size of business, every organization is involved in IT service management in some way. ITSM ensures that incidents, service requests, problems, changes, and IT assets—in addition to other aspects of IT services—are managed in a streamlined way.
IT teams in your organization can employ various workflows and best practices in ITSM, as outlined in ITIL. Effective IT service management can have positive effects on an IT organization's overall function.
Here are the 10 key benefits of ITSM:
- Lower costs for IT operations
- Higher returns on IT investments
- Minimal service outages
- Ability to establish well-defined, repeatable, and manageable IT processes
- Efficient analysis of IT problems to reduce repeat incidents
- Improved efficiency of IT help desk teams
- Well-defined roles and responsibilities
- Clear expectations on service levels and service availability
- Risk-free implementation of IT changes
- Better transparency into IT processes and services
How to choose an ITSM tool?
With a competent IT service management goal in mind, it's important to invest in a service desk solution that caters to your business needs. It goes without saying, with more than 150 service desk tools to choose from, selecting the right one is easier said than done. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an ITSM products:
Identify key processes and their dependencies. Based on business goals, decide which key ITSM processes need to be implemented and chart out the integrations that need to be established to achieve those goals.
Consult with ITSM experts. Participate in business expos, webinars, demos, etc., and educate yourself about the various options that are available in the market. Reports from expert analysts such as Gartner and Forrester are particularly useful as they include reviews of almost every solution, ranked based on multiple criteria.
Choose a deployment option. Every business has a different IT infrastructure model. Selecting an on-premises or software as a service (SaaS IT service management) tool depends on whether your business prefers to host its applications and data on its own servers or use a public or private cloud.
Plan ahead for the future. Although it's important to consider the "needs" primarily, you shouldn't rule out the secondary or luxury capabilities. If the ITSM tool doesn't have the potential to adapt to your needs as your organization grows, it can pull you back from progressing. Draw a clear picture of where your business is headed and choose an service ITSM that is flexible and technology-driven.
Don't stop with the capabilities of the ITSM tool. It might be tempting to assess an ITSM tool based on its capabilities and features but it's important to evaluate the vendor of the tool. A good IT support team, and a vendor that is endorsed for their customer-vendor relationship can take your IT services far. Check Gartner's magic quadrant and other analyst reports, along with product and support reviews to ensure that the said tool provides good customer support.