The Need for Discipline: IT Service Management

 The emergence of new technologies and the increased customer concern on product and service issues are forcing organization to reevaluate their positions and strategies, especially related to their IT capabilities.  Companies are relying on their computer systems to deliver products and services to their customer or simply to maintain business operations.  Any weakness in these systems can impair the company’s ability to deliver their product to market impacting customer satisfaction and the financial bottomline.

Simply putting programs in place to manage information technology systems is not enough if the programs are not organized or partially implemented.  Most companies recognize this and are implementing some framework of IT Service Management (ITSM).  ITSM is a process focused discipline concerned with the operational concerns of information technology management.  As a process based framework, it is complimentary to process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma or Business Process Management.

Several frameworks can be considered for implementing ITSM, including:

  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®)
  • Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge (USMBOK)
  • Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (CobiT)
  • IBM Tivoli Unified Process (ITUP)
  • Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF)
  • Application Services Library (ASL)

Each of these frameworks have their advantages and their critics.  The main benefits of using a framework are essentially the same, as well as many of the basic concepts.  The primary driver for choosing one framework over another is the recognition of the framework in the business world, of which ITIL® is the most recognized.

Like any discipline, success is a function of planning the approach that fits best and sticking to that approach.