What Is ITSM: Defining Service Management Processes & Tools to Benefit IT Teams


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Through the implementation of IT service management (ITSM) processes and the use of ITSM tools, IT teams can benefit from efficient and productive gains in their end-to-end delivery of IT services. Not only will this improve IT services provided to customers, but having an effective ITSM framework can also help a business’s ability to maximize its own IT standards and service practices.

What Is IT Service Management (ITSM)?

IT service management – commonly referred to as ITSM – consists of multiple processes to improve the delivery of IT services to customers. As an example, typical IT services consist of computer training, backup and disaster recovery, network security, and IT hardware integration.

ITSM is commonly identified as the driving force that enables IT teams to design, create, deliver, and manage a business’s IT services.

Although misinterpreted as basic IT support, IT service management affects various types of IT services from hardware to cloud-based apps. Effectively empowering IT teams to take complete responsibility for a business’s end-to-end management of IT services.

Among typical ITSM processes such as knowledge and service requests management, are processes such as IT asset management and problem management. This is because ITSM encompasses all available activities involved with the delivery of IT services, making it a broader approach to that of a service desk or help desk.

As well as being mentioned in the same breath as service desk and Help Desk Software, the definition of ITSM can also be confused with that of ITIL (IT infrastructure library).

What Is ITIL?

ITIL is a framework or set of best practices that are the most widely accepted approach to ITSM. Although set out in a rule environment, ITIL is more of standard guidance for companies to adopt. Allowing IT organizations to align best practices and procedures with their current IT strategies. ITIL can be divided into five stages that cover ITSM practices:

  • Service design
  • Service operation
  • Continual service improvement
  • Service transition
  • Service strategy

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What Are ITSM Processes?

To effectively manage their IT services, businesses must follow a set of ITSM processes that have been primarily defined by ITIL. Albeit before the recommendation of switching from ITSM ‘processes’ to 34 ITSM ‘practices’ in the latest ITIL version 4.

ITSM Processes

Core ITSM processes include:

Service Request Management

Service request management is a time-saving and effective ITSM process that automates and speeds up incoming customer service requests. Request management is particularly useful for handling reoccurring requests and registering incidents automatically from tickets, emails, and self-service portals.

Knowledge Management

A way to avoid duplicated work and make available information regarding IT services, knowledge management is commonly practised through the use of detailed knowledge bases and FAQs. These resources help IT teams and customers quickly find solutions to requests. With

IT Asset Management (ITAM)

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is the process of creating an IT asset register that encompasses all essential data of a business’s hardware, software, and cloud-based IT inventory. By tracking and monitoring IT asset data, businesses can build a complete database of their entire IT asset inventory.

What Is IT Asset Management in ITSM?

Incident Management

Incident management is the process of responding to a disruption of a particular IT service. Once the incident, be it an outage or performance issue, is identified, it must be addressed, restored, and improved to avoid future incidents.

Problem Management

Problem management is the process of identifying the root cause of an incident. But, instead of identifying the issue and providing a fix, problem management is a way to provide a permanent fix to ensure that any future damage to the delivery of services is avoided.

Change Management

Change management is deployed to ensure typical procedures are followed when changing or improving IT infrastructure. This allows IT teams to determine how service deployment will be affected and track KPIs of new services.

Benefits of Service Management Tools for IT Teams

The implementation of ITSM and other IT service tools improves a business’s structured approach to service management. This, in turn, cascades down and provides beneficial pinpoints for IT teams and the delivery of service to customers. Most notably, improving customer experiences and reducing costs associated with risks.

Key benefits that ITSM provides IT teams include:

  • Reducing overall IT costs
  • Improving the quality of service provided to customers
  • Reducing delays in services and improving first-time fix rates (FTFR)
  • Maximizing IT team efficiency through key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Enabling collaboration between IT teams and development teams
  • Reacting and responding quickly to incidents and reducing future problems

What Is an ITSM Tool?

The various processes and tasks of IT services mean one thing; IT teams need a fully-equipped ITSM tool. Typically in the form of ITSM software. Providing similar capabilities such as improved communication between customers and providers, IT organizations can also find similar features in service desk and Help Desk Software.

When choosing software tools, businesses should consider how to get the most from an IT service tool. Key points to look out for include:

  • Ease-of-use
  • User accessibility
  • Automation and ticketing tools
  • Collaboration features
  • Scalability

Other tools that aid the processes of ITSM include configuration database management (CMDB), Asset Management Software, and Software Asset Management Software.

ITSM vs. Help Desk vs. Service Desk

Using phrases such as ITSM, help desk, call centres, and service desks when describing IT services has led to much confusion. Which one is the best? Are there any differences between them? And so on.

But, make no mistake about it, all these service management and IT tools have their own roles and capabilities. Knowing these key differences is key, particularly when understanding the roles of an IT service desk, ITSM, and knowing what a help desk is.

ITSM vs. Help Desk vs. Service Desk

What Is a Help Desk?

A help desk is the heart of a business’s customer support operations and helps support teams to provide accurate and efficient solutions to end-user problems.

Help desks consist of help desk agents that act on behalf of a business to provide support in the most effective way possible. By doing so, they can provide customers with exceptional service.
By deploying protocols that focus on delivering quality end-user support, help desks allow businesses to:

What Is a Service Desk?

An IT service desk tool is a proactive and strategic approach to managing IT requests and incidents. A service desk takes a much broader approach to IT support tasks than that of a help desk, which provides a more ad hoc approach.

ITIL’s definition of a service desk is: “The single point of contact between the service provider and the users. A typical service desk manages incidents and service requests, and also handles communication with the users.”

A service desk also includes various ITSM processes including service request management, incident management, and knowledge management.