IT service management

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Information technology service management (ITSM) are the activities that are performed by an organization to design, build, deliver, operate and control information technology (IT) services offered to customers.[1]

Differing from more technology-oriented IT management approaches like network management and IT systems management,[2] IT service management is characterized by adopting a process approach towards management, focusing on customer needs and IT services for customers rather than IT systems, and stressing continual improvement. The CIO WaterCoolers' annual ITSM report states that business uses ITSM "mostly in support of customer experience (35%) and service quality (48%)."[3]


Relationships between ITSM frameworks and other management standards

As a discipline, ITSM has ties and common interests with other IT and general management approaches, information security management and software engineering. Consequently, IT service management frameworks have been influenced by other standards and adopted concepts from them, e.g. CMMI, ISO 9000, or ISO/IEC 27000.[4]


IT service management is often equated with ITIL, even though there are a variety of standards and frameworks contributing to the overall ITSM discipline.[5] ITIL originated as an official publication of United Kingdom government agencies (first CCTA, later OGC, then the Cabinet Office). In January 2014, ownership of ITIL was transferred to Axelos, a joint venture of the UK government and Capita, an international business process outsourcing and professional services company.

The ITIL 4 Foundation Book was released on February 18, 2019.[2] In its former version (known as ITIL 2011), ITIL is published as a series of five core volumes, each of which covers a different ITSM lifecycle stage.

Other frameworks[edit]

Other frameworks for ITSM and overlapping disciplines include

  • Business Process Framework (eTOM) is a process framework for telecommunications service providers.
  • COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies) is an IT Governance framework that specifies control objectives, metrics and maturity models. Recent versions have aligned the naming of select control objectives to established ITSM process names.
  • FitSM[6] is a standard for lightweight service management. It contains several parts, including e.g. auditable requirements and document templates, which are published under Creative Common licenses. Its basic process framework is in large parts aligned to that of ISO/IEC 20000.
  • ISO/IEC 20000 is an international standard for managing and delivering IT services. Its process model bears many similarities to that of ITIL version 2, since BS 15000 (precursor of ISO/IEC 20000) and ITIL were mutually aligned up to version 2 of ITIL. ISO/IEC 20000 defines minimum requirements for an effective "service management system" (SMS). Conformance of the SMS to ISO/IEC can be audited and organizations can achieve an ISO/IEC 20000 certification of their SMS for a defined scope.
  • MOF[7] (Microsoft Operations Framework) includes, in addition to a general framework of service management functions, guidance on managing services based on Microsoft technologies.


Execution of ITSM processes in an organization, especially those processes that are more workflow-driven ones, can benefit significantly from being supported with specialized software tools.[8]

ITSM tools are often marketed as ITSM suites, which support a whole set of ITSM processes. At their core is usually a workflow management system for handling incidents, service requests, problems and changes. They usually also include a tool for a configuration management database. The ability of these suites to enable easy linking between incident, service request, problem and change records with each other and with records of configuration items from the CMDB, can be a great advantage. ITSM tools are also commonly referred to as ITIL tools. More than 100 tools are self-proclaimed ITSM or ITIL tools.[9] Software vendors whose ITSM tools fulfill defined functional requirements to support a set of ITIL processes, can obtain official approval, allowing them to use Axelos trademarks and an "ITIL process compliant" logo, under Axelos' ITIL Software Endorsement scheme.[10]

Service Desk[edit]

A Service Desk is a primary IT function within the discipline of IT service management (ITSM) as defined by ITIL. It is intended to provide a Single Point of Contact ("SPOC") to meet the communication needs of both users and IT staff,[11] and also to satisfy both Customer and IT Provider objectives. "User" refers to the actual user of the service, while "Customer" refers to the entity that is paying for service.

The ITIL approach considers the service desk to be the central point of contact between service providers and users/customers on a day-to-day basis. It is also a focal point for reporting incidents (disruptions or potential disruptions in service availability or quality) and for users making service requests (routine requests for services).[12]

ITIL regards a call centre or help desk as limited kinds of service desk which provide only a portion of what a service desk can offer. A service desk has a more broad and user-centered approach which is designed to provide the user with an informed single point of contact for all IT requirements. A service desk seeks to facilitate the integration of business processes into the service management infrastructure. In addition to actively monitoring and owning Incidents and user questions, and providing the communications channel for other service management disciplines with the user community, a service desk also provides an interface for other activities such as customer change requests, third parties (e.g. maintenance contracts), and software licensing.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FitSM Part 0: Overview and vocabulary". Itemo. 24 August 2016. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Brenner, Michael; Garschhammer, Markus; Hegering, Heinz-Gerd (15 August 2006). "When Infrastructure Management Just Won't Do - The Trend Towards Organizational IT Service Management". In Eva-Maria Kern; Heinz-Gerd Hegering; Bernd Brügge (eds.). Managing Development and Application of Digital Technologies: Research Insights in the Munich Center for Digital Technology & Management. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 131–146. ISBN 978-3-540-34129-1.
  3. ^ "The IT Service Management Survey 2017". Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. ^ "FitSM Foundation slides handout". 1 May 2015. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  5. ^ "(crowdsourced list of) Alternatives to ITIL"., Jan van Bon. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  6. ^ "FitSM". Itemo. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Operations Framework". Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Brenner, M. Classifying ITIL Processes - A Taxonomy under Tool Support Aspects" (PDF). IEEE. 2006..
  9. ^ Jan van Bon. "(crowdsourced list of) ITIL tools". Retrieved 29 January 2015..
  10. ^ "ITIL Software Scheme". Axelos. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  11. ^ ITIL Service Design (2011), p. 22.
  12. ^ a b ITIL Service Design. The Stationery Office. 2011. ISBN 9780113313051. ITIL Service Operation. The Stationery Office. 2011. ISBN 978-0113313075.

External links[edit]