What is ITSM? Managing IT to serve business needs
Today, technology has become an integral part of almost all businesses. Organizations are constantly looking for new ways to include IT services into their over business requirements. The goal of ITSM is to help companies to create a structure revolving around the IT services’ lifecycle, ranging from developing to upkeep and management.
ITSM or IT service management is a collection of procedures, processes, and policies to manage activities like support, improvement, and implementation of customer-centric IT services. Contrary to many other IT management practices, which concentrate on the system, network, or hardware, the aim of ITSM is to enhance IT customer service in a consistent manner while being in sync with the business goals.
IT service management constitutes of several frameworks for IT management which are applicable to decentralized, as well as, centralized systems. The ITSM disciple has so many frameworks and some of the can handle industry-specific and unique IT requirements such as those in technology, government, and healthcare. Companies using ITSM regard Information Technology as a service and concentrate on delivering key services to the customers instead of just being a department, which manages technology.
How can ITSM help a business?
It provides a host of frameworks for any business to develop management standards revolving around customer service and IT services practices. ITSM constitute of information security management, software engineering, quality management and popular standards for management framework such as ISO/IEC, ITIL, and ISO 9000.
It is not so much about the capabilities of ITSM but the abilities of the businesses with the multiple frameworks that are part of the ITSM discipline. In fact, they have been specifically designed for bringing structure and organization to IT department with a strong customer focus, to sync the IT objectives with business goals and requirements, particularly for those businesses which are highly customer-centric.
ITSM versus ITIL
Quite often, these two terms are used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Rather, ITIL is a popular framework within the IT service management discipline. It has been helpful in inspiring and informing many other ITSM frameworks.
A key benefit of the ITIL framework is that it is reasonably flexible. As such, the framework can be aligned to different types of business goals. Companies enjoy the liberty of choosing and picking operational processes, which are highly relevant to their organizational goals. Information Technology as customer service has been highly emphasized within the ITIL framework.
ITSM service desk
A key discipline falling within the IT service management is its service desk that is described in the manual of ITIL. ITIL looks at service desks as a SPOC or Single Point of Contact that is capable of streamlining the communication process within a business unit or an organization. A service desk functions as a crucial hub for the customers and users to get in touch with well-trained personnel to handle issues in a coordinated and organized manner.
Many people view the service desk as a key IT function as far as the ITSM is concerned in order to offer a Single Point of Contact to manage and accommodate users, IT objectives, customers, and IT staff. A help desk, call center or IT service desk acts as the central hub to cater to service requests, incident tickets, internal issues, questions, customer and client service and many more.
While it is true that IT has always constituted of processes, which were highly relevant to technology, ITSM integrates the IT goals with business goals and shifts the language that has been used for describing such IT processes. When language, which is not IT-specific, is used, it helps in reinforcing the idea, which can service IT at the very heart of a business.
Some key processes are:
- Prevention: While it is considered as firefighting in Information Technology, the business side can view it as a preventive strategy
- Process focus: Shifts the focus of IT from only on technology and thinks about processes with a business-centric approach
- Customers: Look at users as customers
- Proactive: Making IT practices more of a proactive instead of reactive strategy
- Integrated, enterprise-wide- The focus is shifting the focus of IT department in isolation to an integrated function
- Distributed, sourced: Altering from centralized traditional IT while completing everything in-house
- Service orientation: The focus is shifted to client and customer service from IT initiatives that are only operational specific
- Business perspective: The thought is more on full-scale business requirements rather than only thinking about IT-specific requirements
There is a host of ITSM software suites, which are targeted at supporting all the ITSM processes for addressing incidents including any upgrades, service, ticketing, problems or changes. Ideally, these suites are available in the market as ITIL or ITSM solutions and concentrate on supporting the workflow management of IT. Such software suites comprise all the necessary items needed by businesses to operate within the framework according to their choice. They offer the necessary flexibility for businesses for implementing all the attributes they require.
There are more than a hundred tools, which claim to support ITIL and ITSM. However, only some of them are certified.