What is IT Service Management?
Technology is the core element that drives the business operations of most organisations—from the hardware store down the street that uses cloud solutions for inventory and accounting, to the multinational enterprise that stores data and workloads in a hosted private cloud. With such heavy reliance on IT, you need to make sure that your IT organisation is an optimised, well-oiled machine that brings the most business value.
In this post, we dive into a basic understanding of IT service management (ITSM), why it’s important, and how it can help you best manage your IT initiatives to enable effective service delivery. So, first things first:
What is IT Service Management or ITSM?
Global analytics and marketing company TechTarget defines ITSM as “a general term that describes a strategic approach to design, deliver, manage and improve the way businesses use IT.”
In simpler terms, ITSM is a way for IT teams to efficiently manage and deliver end-to-end IT services to customers. It is a collection of policies and processes that goes beyond traditional IT support and does not focus on IT systems. Instead, ITSM is geared towards prioritising end-user needs and how IT services meet these needs.
In this definition, IT services can take the form of a software application, a hosted desktop, tech support, cloud solutions, or any IT product or service that delivers value to the customer. End users can refer to internal customers (employees), external clients (your business customers), and business partners.
Why is ITSM Important for Business?
The ITSM approach was developed based on the idea that IT exists to provide value to end users. If IT implementations are not serving customers’ needs, then they have failed to serve their purpose. If an IT initiative offers minimal value to your enterprise as a whole, then you should not be spending for it.
ITSM processes are thus designed to guarantee that IT services and business goals align. ITSM considers the technology, services, IT teams, and employees, and ensures that all these elements are working together towards greater efficiency, productivity, innovation, and growth.
3 Key Ways to Benefit from ITSM
Let’s discuss three major benefits that ITSM brings to the enterprise:
ITSM boosts overall performance and increases productivity. Today’s highly-digitalised world demands for an effective IT organisation. ITSM provides the framework upon which IT departments can be more attuned to end users’ IT needs as well technological advances. For example, cloud solutions are giving way to legacy applications, and hosted desktops are a staple in the ‘work anywhere’ era.
ITSM also paves the way for strengthening relations between IT and customers. The establishment of a reliable IT help desk for instance, streamlines communications and ensures that IT concerns are addressed immediately to avoid any operational disruptions.
ITSM lowers costs of IT operations. Poorly-planned IT initiatives can lead to unnecessary spending. Too often, businesses find themselves embarking on IT projects that overshoot the budget, or end up underutilised upon deployment. One way of preventing this is to apply project management.
ITSM policies call for clear definitions of project scope, resource requirements, and the corresponding budget. Adhering to these specifications helps guarantee that unexpected costs are avoided.
ITSM reduces security risks. With threat actors getting more aggressive and their methods becoming more sophisticated, no company is immune from cyber attacks. In fact, the attack surface of every enterprise increases with new hardware or cloud services deployed from time to time.
ITSM mitigates the risks brought on by cyber threats by raising the visibility of IT assets within the company’s IT environment. This can be done by implementing IT asset management (ITAM). ITAM is an ITSM process that allows you to discover, track, and secure software, hardware and other IT assets that belong to your organisation.
5 Core ITSM Processes
As mentioned in an earlier section, ITSM is a set of processes that allow IT organisations to design, create, deliver, support, and manage IT services. Here are five ITSM processes that are most commonly-used in enterprises:
Service Request Management. This process covers the task of dealing with a wide range of recurring customer service requests—e.g., password reset, software update, security patching, and others. ITSM practices enable IT teams to quickly and easily handle customer requests.
Knowledge Management. This process pertains to the body of knowledge that belongs to your enterprise. It allows users to properly create, share, use, and manage company knowledge, promoting innovation and helping facilitate informed decision making.
IT Asset Management. This process covers both software and hardware IT assets, where these assets are identified and properly accounted for to lower security risks. It also includes proper disposition of hardware when the time comes.
Incident Management. This process takes care of responding to unplanned events and service interruption. It outlines what needs to be done to quickly address incidents and restore service to its operational state.
Problem Management. This process covers the identification of problems that caused an IT service incident. It includes not just fixing the disruption, but also investigating the potential root cause to prevent a repeat of the same incident.
Whether it’s developing new IT projects, setting up help desk support, implementing cloud services, or acquiring new devices, IT services encompass the modern organisation. IT service management helps ensure that you are getting the most out of your IT investments. To know more about the tools available to implement ITSM processes, consult with your IT managed services provider.
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