What is ITSM?
Learn More About IT Service Management

What is IT Service Management (ITSM)?

What is IT Service Management? IT Service Management, or ITSM as it’s often referred to, is all of the activities carried out, planned, delivered, operated and controlled by an IT organization to provide IT services to employees and/or customers. Under the ITSM model, the IT department is often thought of as a service desk or help desk.

Goals of ITSM

For IT Service Management to be successful, you need to have the right mix of people, processes and technologies. ITSM ensures that IT services are implemented, managed and delivered in ways that meet an organization’s needs while still providing added value to employees, clients, consultants and other interested parties. As such, your ITSM should be focused on the following goals:

  • Service over systems: Unlike other IT management practices that focus on hardware, networks and systems, ITSM aims to improve IT customer service. The focus is on how services, not systems, can be delivered to meet stakeholder needs. Companies use ITSM to provide value to customers or to the departments that manage the technology. Using IT Service Management best practices, like ITIL, can ensure a high value of service is being provided.
  • Alignment with business objectives:  ITSM improves the IT services an organization offers to its end users by aligning IT processes and services with business objectives. In other words, ITSM provides a structured approach to service management, allowing organizations to standardize the delivery of services based on budget, resources and results.
  • The end-user experience: The customer experience can be a crucial differentiator for brands and organizations, and an effective ITSM strategy should aim to deliver the most significant benefit to all stakeholders involved – both customers and employees alike. With the right ITSM system in place, you can provide a delightful IT experience that improves customer and employee satisfaction scores.

Today, organizations in healthcare, government, technology, financial service, corporate and other sectors use IT Service Management to standardize IT services and create value for end-users according to their industry-specific needs. ITSM has also led to the development of several IT management frameworks that can apply to both centralized and decentralized systems, the most comprehensive and widely used being the ITIL framework, as mentioned before.

The ITIL Framework and Its Role in ITSM

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and refers to a specific framework for ITSM. ITIL is a set of specific methods, practices and processes for managing the organization’s IT operations and services.

With ITIL, the focus is on ensuring that IT services can keep pace with business needs. The ITIL framework covers all aspects of IT infrastructure, from the foundation itself to its management and services.

Like ITSM in general, ITIL implementation helps organizations of all sizes around the world to maximize and optimize enterprise value using information technology for the benefit of their customers.

ITIL is based on principles that focus on value creation and continuous improvement, which can take a variety of forms. In fact, several iterations of the ITIL framework have been released since its inception in the 1980s, each one improving on the previous to describe a balanced and holistic approach to service management.

There is No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to ITSM

The IT Service Management landscape is always changing, and emerging trends continue to shape the discussion around ITSM. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to service management and delivery.

An ITSM or ITIL approach does not have to represent an administrative burden but instead should be used flexibly to meet the unique needs of a given organization. Again, the goal of ITSM is to apply service management principles in a way that improves the entire organization.

No matter your approach, implementing ITSM best practices enables organizations to standardize and optimize the way they respond to the ever-increasing demand while keeping operational costs low and customer satisfaction high.

Dusty Borchardt, Business Systems Manager for Oklahoma City, said that they adopted the ITIL framework more than 15 years ago but hadn’t achieved what they’d hoped they could through their service delivery until recently. Why? Well, the right ITSM tool for your organization can make all the difference.

He explained that they’d had effective processes in place for a while, but they “haven’t had a decent toolset to manage them” until they utilized TeamDynamix’s ITSM platform.

“TeamDynamix has brought simplicity to our operations,” Borchardt says. “This is the first IT Service Management platform we’ve implemented that everyone loves to use.” For Oklahoma City, TeamDynamix was the right fit.

This is why finding the right vendor for your organization can be so critical to your ITSM success.

To help, you can get tips and questions to ask vendors during your evaluation process here. 

ITSM vs. ESM

It’s easy to confuse the term IT Service Management with Enterprise Service Management or ESM. ESM is simply an extension of the ITSM principles to entire organizations, beyond the IT department and its services.

In fact, ESM is the most widely used and clearly defined framework for IT management. Think of it this way: when a non-IT department uses a traditional ITSM process to provide a service or solve a problem, it is a reuse of an existing process that has just been reinvented.

Inspired by ITIL-4, ESM is now at the heart of the IT management approach to the provision and management of IT services. It goes beyond an ITSM strategy and brings it to bear on the various teams and departments within IT.

As ITIL becomes more popular, more and more people will realize that ESM and ITSM best practices can and should be used in the business functions of the organization that provides services. If you’re looking for a great use case of how ESM can be used outside of IT, you can check out this blog to see what ESM can look like within a marketing department.

The ITSM landscape is always changing and emerging trends continue to shape the discussion around IT Service Management.

The Power of IT Service Management Tools

ITSM has changed the way IT departments behave – IT no longer operates as just system integrators but as service providers working to ensure that the company can satisfy customer and employee needs as effectively as possible.

To do this, the ITSM tool you use should deliver powerful reports that can help identify trends, eliminate bottlenecks and improve the quality of services provided.

Specifically, you should look for a fast, intuitive ITSM tool that integrates with third-party platforms and facilitates:

6 Must Have ITSM Software Features

When evaluating ITSM software for your organization, here’s a list of features and functionalities that are non-negotiable:

  1. End-user Self-Service – Make sure your ITSM tool has an intuitive and configurable portal with WCAG 2.0 AA compliance.
  2. Knowledge Management – You’ll want your ITSM tool to have a knowledge base that’s integrated with ticketing so you can share information with techs and end-users.
  3. Multi-site & Multi-Department Capabilities– The ability to have one platform that can be used across multiple locations and departments is critical to achieving ESM; the solution should allow for the codeless creation of new applications without the need for additional service hours.
  4. Service Catalog – For the best user experience, make sure users can request products and services through a catalog that integrates with ticketing.
  5. ITSM/ESM + PPM + Automation on One Platform – When you have an ITSM/ESM platform that includes PPM (Project Portfolio Management) and enhanced enterprise automation and integration (iPaaS), you get a view of all work going on in your entire organization, from ticketing to change management and projects.
  6. Codeless Integration and Workflow – With a no-code platform you can supercharge your organization. Take advantage of codeless configuration, workflow building and automation with integration to other enterprise systems using iPaaS functionality coupled with your ITSM tool.

By measuring your ITSM options against this list, you can find a tool that can be customized to fit your needs and scale for the future.

Questions to Ask When Shopping for an ITSM Tool

To help find a flexible, easy-to-use ITSM tool, consider the following questions during your vendor evaluation: 

  • Are you able to create custom ticket types and workflows? 
  • Can you set up incidents and problems separately? 
  • Can you tailor the user portal to your brand and the specific data you want? 
  • Can users create a custom desktop? 
  • How easy is it to create reports and dashboards? 
  • Can you easily spin up new applications without IT resources?
  • Are you able to import and export data? 
  • Does it offer ITSM and PPM with enhanced enterprise integration and automation on one platform? 

The best out-of-the-box IT Service Management tool is the one that supports your desired approach and is easy to use for your team. 

Working Better Together: ITSM/ESM, PPM and iPaaS on One Platform

The service desk is often the frontline for capturing changing business needs and requirements. When you combine your ITSM/ESM with Project Portfolio Management (PPM)  you can better understand your resource capabilities and engage in true resource capacity planning.

With resource capacity planning you get a big-picture view of your entire organization, allowing you to balance workloads across projects and support – not just IT; and to see the different types of work that need to be done at any given time.

As a result, all work can be completed more effectively and efficiently as employees and teams are focused on work that plays to their strengths. And because you have a full view of the work and the time it will take; you can avoid overcommitting or underutilizing your resources across the entire company.

In addition, adding enhanced integration and automation to your IT Service Management/ESM practices through the use of iPaaS is a great way to free up resources and boost efficiencies. By investing in smart service management for your organization, you’re investing in service management that supercharges your entire enterprise and allows everyone to interact in real-time.

When you combine ITSM, PPM and iPaaS on a single platform you can automate tasks, both simple and complex, and connect disparate systems throughout your organization – all through a codeless platform, meaning anyone can use it. You no longer need to be bogged down by repetitive or mundane service requests.

Relieving ITSM Ticket Volume with Automation

When contemplating the use of automation and integration as part of a broader Enterprise Service Management strategy, it’s important to consider the different ways a tool like iPaaS can be used to extend ESM even further.

At Winston-Salem University, they’ve done just that. Derrick Hargrove and his team in the Office of Information Technology, are using iPaaS to automate processes throughout the University that directly impact service resolution times whether in IT, the Office of the Registrar, the financial aid office or human resources. Hargrove said the university started building iPaaS workflows to address various challenges they had with both system access and access to various apps and software provided to students, employees and faculty at the university.

“By creating these workflows within iPaaS we are able to save a significant amount of time,” Hargrove said. “Previously we’ve had situations where system access has held up a ticket so having the automated approval and access granted through iPaaS has helped us avoid those issues. And when you have people who need certain access or software to do their jobs, it’s nice to be able to provide that almost instantaneous resolution. It’s been a big win for us.”

The university has flows in place to grant system access based on different groups within Active Directory. Those same groups are utilized to run flows to grant access to things like Microsoft Teams and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Reducing ITSM Toil with iPaaS

Toil is a word popularized by Google that refers to work that tends to be manual and repetitive but can be automated. And having high levels of toil throughout your organization can lead to problems including burnout, human error and employee discontent.

At Pima County, one of the goals of bringing on TeamDynamix for ITSM and iPaaS is to reduce toil. 

“People feel so much more empowered and have so much more worth when they are doing things that are intellectually rigorous and challenging versus when they are just repeating the same mechanical actions over and over and over with very little thought,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said.

“Our IT service desk is our entry point to our entire IT organization, and we want our employees to graduate out of this area into other roles within our organization – to become network technicians, client services, desktop technicians, developers and project managers,” he continued. “If all they’re doing is handling tickets and doing the same mundane, manual tasks over and over that’s not particularly great training. So investing in tools that allow our employees to engage in meaningful work is something that’s important to us as an overall IT organization.”

With TeamDynamix now in place, Pima County is looking to automate and integrate as much of the manual ITSM processes into workflows as they can.

“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Hayes said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value of what we’re trying to achieve. There’s nothing like success to breed more success, and once other departments see the benefits they’re going to want these tools too.”

If you want to see how organizations are supercharging their IT service management read our latest eBook Automate IT – A Playbook for Supercharged ITSM.

Learn more about our solutions today. 

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