Information technology is at the forefront of modern business.
It is the central element that enables daily operations in organizations. ITSM, or IT Service Management, takes care of this core element and optimizes it for better results while driving business value.
Let’s dive deeper into understanding ITSM and find out how it can help you optimize your IT infrastructure.
Definition and Objectives of IT Service Management
IT Service Management (ITSM) is a process that ensures maximum business value with efficient use of information technology, people, and processes involved in the IT service lifecycle.
These services go beyond day-to-day IT troubleshooting and IT support to include design, build, delivery, and management of leading-edge information technology activities.
It includes basic information technology services such as AWS and Azure, as well as IT-enabled services, for example, access to resources, service actions, etc.
The primary goal of ITSM is to provide business value to stakeholders and end users while continually improving services.
Consider the risks and challenges that may arise and establish the appropriate measures to address them and obtain the desired results.
ITSM is inspired by popular management principles and practices such as Agile, Lean-IT, DevOps, etc. And it aims to reduce IT costs, improve service quality, improve customer satisfaction, and foster agility.
Most importantly, it is intended to offer value, a perceived benefit, or the utility of a service to an interested party.
This value is a combination of the reality and the perception of the service in the minds of customers. Therefore, the result of these services must be careful of both to be beneficial.
IT service management ensures that this value encapsulates good reality and perception, and aligns with business goals and objectives.
As technology evolves, your stakeholders’ perception of the service may change. ITSM ensures that the provision of services reflects the same.
IT service management capabilities contain systems to provide both good reality and good perception over time in various circumstances.
Taken together, the ITSM process helps you achieve results enriched with business value while maintaining an absolute focus on costs and satisfaction rates.
Benefits vs. Challenges of IT Service Management
IT Service Management or ITSM offers many benefits to organizations that implement it.
The most prominent benefits of practicing ITSM are the following:
- Increase efficiency and reduce operational costs: ITSM helps organizations get the most out of their current IT infrastructure. Asset management, which is one of the components here, promotes better use of IT products and technology and facilitates cost-effective acquisition and disposition of IT assets.
Taken together, the ITSM practice enables the organization to scale IT operations more effectively, without intensive recruitment, by providing automation to eliminate redundant workloads.
- Minimizes Risk: ITSM ensures that new or changed services are rolled out gradually with the change management process while minimizing disruption to business operations. It helps to understand the policies and roles that help the process and allows adaptation to change progressively.
The ITSM practice helps your business adhere to IT compliance by maintaining standard IT services and ensuring accountability. It requires an IT service desk and helps desk to exercise a formal procedure to provide different types of IT services.
- Measure performance effectively: Adopting ITSM structures and processes helps you benefit from the formalized system that drives improvement over time. As an IT manager, you can identify and track defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and assess your team’s performance.
When you have a structured incident response process, your average response time and average time to resolution can decrease. Instead focusing on crisis management will help you reduce your mean time to recovery (MTTR) whenever a service interruption occurs.
- Improved customer service and experience: At the business level, customers are users within the business who depend on IT services to do their jobs. With the service strategy process, companies align services with the needs of the company, which means that the company is working on the services that the company wants. Leads to a better customer experience.
On the other hand, ITSM involves maintaining a formalized ticketing and incident response system. Improve service quality as IT responds to every incident report or service request submitted.
Now, when implementing ITSM in your organization, you may face certain challenges. Take a look at the challenges below and create your strategy to address them as they arise.
- Knowledge transfer: For successful incident resolution, technicians must share their knowledge about how the problem was solved. Posting comments as resolved or fixed would not help other technicians who are handling similar types of incidents.It is important that before closing an incident, you document your methods and steps involved in its resolution. It will help others gain substantial input for future reference when a similar incident leaves its mark.
- Auto-Generated Alerts: As an IT admin managing hundreds of applications across multiple servers, you get tons of auto-generated monitoring alerts every day. If one of these alerts misses its approach, you may unwittingly welcome an unprecedented disaster.To prevent this, it is essential to categorize these alerts correctly, prioritize them, and escalate them to application owners as soon as possible. This precautionary action acts as a central component in the emergency management process.
- A mix of service requests and incidents: Service requests can be as simple as “provide access to software” or “unlock a laptop”.You can manage them with a self-service portal or by providing technical support. Incident requests are the ones that may require the most effort and time to resolve.You need to distinguish between the two, as it would take different resolution steps and the service level agreements (SLAs) would vary. If you mix it up, you can increase the workload of your IT professional, as well as IT, costs.
- Adoption of new technology: Many organizations are reluctant to adopt new methods or technologies. Some may feel uncomfortable switching if they have absorbed a predefined process into their muscle memory.But it is highly recommended that if a certain process or technology helps you eliminate redundancies in your routine, you should adopt it.It helps you improve efficiency and gain productivity by leveraging automation for repetitive tasks. Also, put in place a standard operating procedure (SOP) and define workflows before you implement the change, so your teams can stay on the same page.
- Transparency: Sometimes the technician may need help from the administrator or application owner to troubleshoot incident requests.Getting to them separately just adds a delay to the resolution of the request.Instead, if an incident request comes in where you need help from other teams, you can loop with them and the customer on the incident. It will help you gain transparency on all conversations and actions taken to resolve the request, improving customer satisfaction.
How to Implement IT Service Management (Guide/Tutorial)
The implementation of IT service management requires a cultural change. Stakeholders need to view IT as a service provider rather than just another department in the organization.
Naturally, the ITSM implementation process is different for organizations, as their business values are unique.
There are different frameworks like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Cobit, ISO/IEC 20000, Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), DevOps, and more that you can use to implement ITSM in your organization.
There are a few things to think about when implementing IT service management.
- Assess your need: In a company of 20 people, ITSM adoption may not generate significant results, while it would be beneficial in an organization with a larger workforce.
So, before implementing ITSM, consider the size of your team, the ability to scale shortly, the possible introduction to new technologies, and other similar factors.
You may have been doing ITSM informally when your company was small, but when you scale up, adopting a formal method will be an advantage as it would be replicable.
- Define your problem statement: Without proper clarity on your IT service issues, you are most likely walking down a bumpy road even after implementing ITSM. It is essential that you first define your critical problems and then choose the ITSM framework.
Whether you want to reduce IT costs or improve the quality of service delivery, first define your problems and then list the desired results that would be achieved by solving those problems. It will help you align your service to deliver results and drive the business value you seek.
- Choose your ITSM framework: After defining your problem statement, the next step is to select the framework that you would use to implement ITSM in your organization. Each framework (ITIL, Cobit, ISO 20000, etc.) will help you optimize your service, reduce friction and ensure proper IT management.Still, choose one that best aligns with your desired business values, as the IT processes involved in these frameworks are different.