Looking back on a year where corporate giants fell and government bailouts were measured in the billions, the challenges faced by a typical IT Service Provider may seem of low priority. But now that IT budgets have come under more financial scrutiny than ever before, the value provided by managing IT with controlled, repeatable and measurable processes has become all the more obvious. So for the modern Chief Information Officer (CIO), employing quality IT Service Management (ITSM) practices can often help in achieving a quality sleep each night.
The term IT Service Management is used in many ways by different management frameworks and the organizations that seek to use them. While there are variations across these different sources of guidance, common elements for defining ITSM include:
- Description of the processes required to deliver and support IT Services for customers.
- A focus on delivering and supporting the technology or products needed by the business to meet key organizational objectives or goals.
- Definition of roles and responsibilities for the people involved including IT staff, customers and other stakeholders involved.
- The management of external suppliers (partners) involved in the delivery and support of the technology and products being delivered and supported by IT.
The combination of these elements provide the capabilities required for an IT organization to deliver and support quality IT Services that meet specific business needs and requirements.
The official ITIL®® definition of IT Service Management is found within the Service Design volume (page 11), describing ITSM as “A set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services”. These organizational capabilities are influenced by the needs and requirements of customers, the culture that exists within the service organization and the intangible nature of the output and intermediate products of IT services.
However IT Service Management comprises more than just these capabilities alone, being complemented by an industry of professional practice and wealth of knowledge, experience and skills. The ITIL®® framework has developed as a major source of good practice in Service Management and is used by organizations worldwide to establish and improve their ITSM practices.