What Is ITSM (IT Service Management)? — Learn the Basics

As emerging and advanced technologies continue to evolve, IT leaders and individuals can find it challenging to meet the growing employee service demands and expectations. Digital transformation has become the centerpiece of the IT world, and companies unable to keep up with the rapid innovation pace fail to deliver quality services at an accelerated rate.

You must reimagine and reinvent the ways IT engages with employees throughout the service delivery lifecycle. If IT is still practicing traditional management processes, then you must know delivering services based on reliability and efficiency isn’t enough anymore. Technology-enabled innovation capabilities must drive IT.

Before we discuss the IT innovation and the need for it, let’s understand what IT service management (ITSM) is and what role it plays in laying the foundation of an intelligent IT and digital business. However, don’t confuse ITSM practice with an ITSM solution or tool. We’ll outline the fine line of difference in this article.

What Is ITSM—IT Service Management?

IT service management or ITSM is a defined approach towards IT processes and service delivery, strictly aligned with business objectives. It’s a set of practices including designing, developing, managing and optimizing IT services across their entire lifecycle. ITSM involves discrete activities and tasks executed by IT teams to ensure end-to-end delivery of a service to your employees. The core belief of ITSM enables IT as a service by leveraging an appropriate mix of best practices, technology, people, and processes.

A stereotypical example of ITSM is a service request to add a printer to the network or submitting a ticket to resolve a laptop issue. The requester would either fill and submit a pre-defined form requesting the service using a service catalog available in the service portal or submit their ticket either through the portal or via email, chat, or phone. The ticket will then be queued and assigned to an IT team member for resolution, with automated ticket routing and ticket priority available in modern ITSM solutions. IT service management systems respond to and fulfill service requests or resolve tickets based on priority and criticality.

The concept of ITSM comes into play when your IT processes, such as service management, asset management, incident management, change management, problem management, and knowledge management, need streamlining to maximize business value. Let’s look at the benefits of embracing ITSM as an integral part of your business strategy.

Advantages of Practicing ITSM

Establishing a structured and technology-driven ITSM model not only brings IT teams in alignment with common business goals, but also helps in achieving standard delivery processes for enhanced employee experience. Besides increased productivity, clarity of deliverables, and an overall improvement in efficiency, outlined below are some of the key benefits of practicing ITSM:

  • A holistic ITSM strategy designed by factoring in budgets, resources, their bandwidths, and business outcomes helps ensure seamless delivery of IT services, thereby improving the service quality.
  • IT individuals as well as stakeholders, CIOs, and IT leaders get a clearer understanding of the business, employee requirements, and the value their services will add. Also, they have a defined set of roles and deliverables against them.
  • Well-implemented ITSM helps in setting up repeatable, scalable process workflows, which you can further automate using a smart ITSM software.
  • It also helps to outline, deliver, and measure realistic end-user expectations, thus helping with employee—customer—satisfaction (CSAT).
  • With ITSM in place, you have the relevant information to optimize IT infrastructure and its components (IT assets, software licenses, resource availability, and more). This can reduce business costs and risks associated with IT services.
  • It allows you to identify and proactively take preventive actions against potential IT issues. This also narrows down the time gaps between incident detection, management, and resolution.
  • A strategic approach to IT service management helps your business to comply with regulatory standards and adapt quickly to the changes.

Difference Between ITSM and ITIL

ITSM and ITIL are sometimes used interchangeably due to their overlapping functional areas in the IT landscape, but they are not the same thing. ITSM emphasizes driving consistency across the service delivery lifecycle through a specific set of processes and technologies, including the deployment and support of services being delivered.

ITIL, originally short for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a framework of ITSM designed to increase efficiency and deliver services at a lower cost through standardization of IT operations. ITIL is one of the most practiced frameworks enabling IT admins to provide more than just back-end support and improve existing management processes by following recommended guidelines and best practices. ITIL 4 is the latest framework version of ITIL facilitating a more flexible environment for end-to-end service management and better alignment of IT service with business-critical requirements.

However, as your business scales, it becomes challenging and cumbersome to manage employee demands with a legacy system. Implementing a modern and smart ITSM software is the way forward to remain competent in this digital era.

Choosing the Right ITSM Software and Framework for Your Organization

It’s essential to analyze your current and future use case scenarios across the IT environment and select the best ITSM software for your IT needs. Gone are the days when your IT administrators executed service operations using simple disparate tools. Your organization needs a comprehensive, intelligent software with robust IT service management. SolarWinds® Service Desk is a cloud-based fully integrated ITSM and ITAM platform built on ITIL best practices to help organizations with change management, incident management, knowledge base generation, IT asset management, advanced reporting, and automation capabilities.

With a customizable service portal, SolarWinds Service Desk empowers self-service with recommended knowledge base articles using artificial intelligence. The portal also provides employees convenient access to support via live chat and a service catalog of common requests.

SolarWinds Service Desk also allows employees to submit and track the status of requests and tickets and enables remote IT teams to efficiently manage and prioritize incoming service tickets from anywhere, at any time with its mobile service desk application.

SolarWinds also offers Web Help Desk® to transform your help desk framework to enhance customer satisfaction and meet critical service-level agreements (SLAs). The web-based ITSM software helps automate ticket management and approval workflows, establish a central knowledge center, and simplify project and task management with relational ticket association. Its native integration with Active Directory and LDAP servers enables automated discovery and addition of client information. Explore more about Service Desk and Web Help Desk and start a free trial today.