What is ITSM – IT Service Management?

What is ITSM?

IT service management, or “ITSM,” refers to all the activities carried out, planned, delivered, operated, and controlled by an organization to provide IT services to stakeholders. Under the ITSM model, the IT department is often thought of as a service desk. In short, ITSM provides value to the customer in the form of IT services that align with the business objectives of the company.

The Goals of ITSM

ITSM aims for the right mix of people, processes, and technologies to create value. ITSM ensures that IT services are implemented, managed, and delivered in ways that meet the company’s needs while still providing added value to employees, clients, consultants, and other interested parties. As such, ITSM is 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 in line with business objectives consistently. The focus is on how services, not systems, can be delivered to meet stakeholder needs. Companies use ITSM to provide value to customers, or rather, to the departments that manage the technology. ITSM provides management standards to ensure a high value of service.
  • 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 is a crucial differentiator for brands and organizations, and an effective ITSM strategy should aim to deliver the most significant benefit to all stakeholders involved.

Today, organizations in healthcare, the government, technology, and other sectors use ITSM to standardize IT services and create value for end-users according to their different industry-specific IT needs. IT service management 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.

The ITIL Framework

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.

No One-Size-Fits-All Approach

The ITSM landscape is always changing, and emerging trends continue to shape the ongoing discussion around IT service management.

When it comes to IT service management, there is no single-size-fit–all approach. 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.

The ITSM landscape is always changing and emerging trends continue to shape the ongoing discussion around IT service management.


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.

The Power of ITSM Tools

IT service management has changed the way IT departments behave – IT departments no longer operate as just system integrators but as service providers working to ensure that the remainder of the company can satisfy customer needs as effectively as possible. Reliable IT management tools should deliver powerful reports that can help identify trends, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve the quality of services provided.

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

  • Incident and problem management
  • Asset management and discovery
  • Self-service and an easily searchable knowledge-base

6 ITSM Software Features You Need

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 Enterprise Service Management (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 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.

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 with Project Portfolio Management 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. 

Supercharge Your Service Management with Integration and Automation

Adding integration and automation to your IT and Enterprise Service Management practices 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.

By combining ITSM, PPM and iPaaS (integration platform as a service) on a single platform you can automate tasks, both simple and complex, as well as 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.

Here are just a few ways iPaaS can reduce IT resource drain:

  • Facilitate enterprise integration by using a single hub with pre-built connectors to systems that you use every day as well as a connector concierge for the creation of specific connectors. (Imagine being able to automatically change a username, add someone to a distribution group, onboard an employee)
  • Expedite creation of automation and workflows with a visual flow builder (codeless) that is easy to use, own and operate; reduce IT backlog of integration and workflow requests.
  • Optimize resources across IT to allow for improved output and a higher level of service delivery to your internal and external customers by removing redundant data entry and manual processing.
  • Reduce API risk with a single connectivity platform that will offer increased oversight and control.

Relieving ITSM Ticket Volume with Automation

When contemplating the use of automation and integration as part of a broader Enterprise Service Management (ESM) strategy, it’s important to consider the different ways a tool like iPaaS (integration platform as a service) 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.

If you want to see how organizations are supercharging their IT service management with iPaaS integration and automation, check out these customer stories.

TeamDynamix provides ITSM tools for organizations across industries. If you want to hear more from our customers, check out our ITSM RoundUp to see how organizations are using TeamDynamix ITSM to successfully grow and scale their service delivery.

Learn more about our solutions today. 

This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated with additional information.


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