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IT service management

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Title: IT service management  
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Subject: Information Technology Infrastructure Library, Quality Engineering, IT Service Management, IT cost transparency, Business service management
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IT service management

IT service management (ITSM) refers to the implementation and management of quality information technology services. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through people, process and information technology.[1] The following represents a characteristic statement from the ITSM literature:

Providers of IT services can no longer afford to focus on technology and their internal organization[;] they now have to consider the quality of the services they provide and focus on the relationship with customers.[2]

ITSM is process-focused and has ties and common interests with process improvement frameworks and methodologies (e.g., TQM, Six Sigma, business process management, CMMI). The discipline is not concerned with the details of how to use a particular vendor's product, or necessarily with the technical details of the systems under management. Instead, it focuses upon providing a framework to structure IT-related activities and the interactions of IT technical personnel with business customers and users.

IT service management in the broader sense overlaps with the disciplines of business service management and IT portfolio management, especially in the area of IT planning and financial control. ITSM is generally concerned with the "back office" or operational concerns of information technology management (sometimes known as operations architecture), and not with technology development. In this respect, ITSM may be seen as analogous to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) discipline for IT.


  • Context 1
  • Professional organizations 2
  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) 3
  • Other frameworks, concern with the overhead and limitations 4
  • Governance and audit 5
  • Tools and ITSM platforms 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


IT service management is an enabler of information technology governance (or information management) objectives. It does not typically include project management or program management. In the UK for example, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a government-developed ITSM framework, is often paired with the PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) project methodology and Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method for systems development.

ITSM is related to the field of management information systems (MIS) in scope. However, ITSM has a distinct practitioner point of view, and is more introspective (i.e. IT thinking about the delivery of IT to the business) as opposed to the more academic and outward facing connotation of MIS (IT thinking about the 'information' needs of the business).

There are a variety of frameworks and authors contributing to the overall ITSM discipline.[3] There are a variety of proprietary approaches available.[4]

Professional organizations

There is an international, chapter-based professional association, the IT Service Management Forum (ITSMF), which is focused on ITIL and the ITSM audit standard ISO/IEC 20000. There is also a global professional association, the IT Service Management Professionals Association (IT-SMPa).

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

IT service management is often equated with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), an official publication of the Cabinet Office in the United Kingdom. However, while a version of ITSM is a component of ITIL, ITIL also covers a number of related but distinct disciplines and the two are not synonymous. The ownership of ITIL transferred from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to the Cabinet Office, following the move of OGC into the Cabinet Office. On January 1, 2014, a 51% ownership in the intellectual property of ITIL, along with the same percentage interest in the remainder of HMG's (Her Majesty's Government) Best Management Practice portfolio, was assumed by AXELOS, Ltd.

The current version of the ITIL framework is the 2011 edition. The 2011 edition, published in July 2011, is a revision of the previous edition known as ITIL version 3 (published in June 2007).It was a major upgrade from version 2 (2001). Whereas version 2 was process-oriented (split into two groups: service support and service delivery), version 3 is service-oriented. Since ITIL V3, the various ITIL processes are grouped into five stages of the service lifecycle: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement (or CSI).

Applying the practices described in ITIL can be a difficult exercise. ITIL presents a framework of general best practices for adopting an IT service management approach, based on practical business experience. It is not, however, meant to be applied without careful consideration of the relevance of the recommendations provided to the organization in question. In most of the cases ITIL is used as a reference framework and as a tool to create a shared terminology for IT service provision, but the degree to which it is used to define specific day-to-day practices varies significantly from organization to organization. The guidance provided in ITIL can be used in a number of approaches, including as an organizing framework, enhanced by guidance from other frameworks, standards and bodies of knowledge, focused on the practical business results required by the organization from IT. Alternative approaches can be found in general service delivery theory, as IT services should always be considered as a part of a bigger business picture.

The use of the term "service management" is interpreted by many in the world as ITSM, but again, there are other frameworks, and conversely, the entire ITIL library might be seen as IT service management in a larger sense.

Other frameworks, concern with the overhead and limitations

Analogous to debates in software engineering between agile and prescriptive methods, there is debate between lightweight versus heavyweight approaches to IT service management. Lighter weight ITSM approaches include:

  • ITIL Small-scale Implementation[5] colloquially called “ITIL Lite” is an official part of the ITIL framework.[6]
  • FITS[7] was developed for UK schools. It is a simplification of ITIL.
  • CoPr or "copper[8] calls for limiting Best Practice to areas where there is a business case for it, and in other areas just doing the minimum necessary.
  • is a Creative Commons ITSM/SDLC Framework Wiki.
  • MOF 4[9] (Microsoft Operations Framework) covers the IT service management lifecycle with a practical focus.
  • ITUP 7[10] (IBM Tivoli Unified Process Operations Framework) covers the IT service management lifecycle (ITIL v3) from the implementation and usage perspective.

In situations where the relationships between the parties do not fall neatly in bilateral client - service provider relationship, the limitations of the standard IT service management approaches become apparent. The traditional approaches tend to assume that the client has a direct contact with the service provider or providers, usually codified in a formal contract between the parties. However, these assumptions break down in some of the more complex multi-cloud scenarios or in the large-scale federated e-Infrastructures in the research domain (such as the European Grid Infrastructure). There are ongoing initiatives and projects that are addressing these limitations, such as:

  • FedSM project[11]
  • DMTF CADF Working Group[12]
  • CSA Open Certification Framework.[13]

Governance and audit

Several benchmarks and assessment criteria have emerged that seek to measure the capability of an organization and the maturity of its approach to service management. Primarily, these alternatives provide a focus on compliance and measurement and therefore are more aligned with corporate governance than with IT service management per se.

  • ISO/IEC 20000 (and its ancestor BS15000). This standard is not identical in taxonomy to ITIL and includes a number of additional requirements not detailed within ITIL and some differences. Adopting ITIL best practices is therefore a good first step for organizations wishing to achieve ISO 20000 certification for their IT Service Management processes.
  • COBIT (or the lighter COBIT Quickstart) is comprehensive and widely embraced. It incorporates IT service management within its Control Objectives for Support and Delivery.

Tools and ITSM platforms

The information-technology research and advisory firm Gartner defines so-called ITSM or ITSSM tools as a set of tools that

offer a tighter integration of functions that correlates with the activities of the broader IT support organization. ITSSM tools leverage a business view of IT services, enabling the IT support organization to quickly resolve or escalate issues and problems, improve root cause isolation, and provide higher levels of business user satisfaction. Using this business view, IT support organizations manage incidents, problems and service requests throughout their life cycles at a more efficient and effective rate. ITSSM tools also enable organizations to automate the workflow of process frameworks (such as ITIL) specific to IT service support (such as incident, problem, change, release governance and request management). ITSSM tools provide modules that enable business end users to find knowledge to support/resolve their computing-related issues or to request an IT service via an IT self-service module.[14]

A number of vendors operate in the ITSM space. A Web search for ITSM vendors results in over 100 ITSM-related software companies. Pink Elephant can classify a basic shortlist of companies with its PinkVerify Toolset V3.0,[15] V3.1[16] or V2011[17] certification and verification of products' ITIL-compatibility with the general, core and integration suitability requirements for ITIL 2011.

In August 2012, Gartner published a Magic Quadrant for ITSSM (IT service support management), listing and rating eleven vendors[18] of ITSM platforms.

Gartner also categorizes a broader overview of ITSSM functions as ITOM (IT Operations Management) Software[19] which it sees as affected in the period 2009 to 2011 by some shifts bringing in new key players[20] playing together in the same landscape, where:

" The Big Four ITOM vendors (BMC Software, CA Technologies, IBM and HP) dominated the worldwide market share with 47% of the ITOM market. However, as the overall market has increased in size from $5.1 billion in 2002 to $18.3 billion in 2011, the combined share of these vendors has decreased by nearly 15% over the past 10 years."[21]

Starting in 2009,[22] the APM Group, UK, established an ITIL Software Scheme (ISS) which allows IT Service Management software ITSM tool vendors to obtain endorsement through the Cabinet Office for an ITIL-based tool. This endorsement allows vendors to hold a valid ISS trademark licence and use the process compliant ITIL ‘swirl’ logo at a bronze, silver or gold level.

The ISS assessment operates through Licensed Software Assessors. Currently there are two companies listed as Licensed Software Assesors:[23] Pink Elephant, and Glenfis AG. In 1998[24] Pink Elephant released its PinkVerify assessment service, the 2011[25] version assesses a software tool against ITIL terminology, definitions, functionality and workflow requirements for the following 15 ITSM processes: Availability Management, Capacity Management, Change Management, Event Management, Financial Management, Incident Management, IT Service, Continuity Management, Knowledge Management, Problem Management, Release & Deployment Management, Request Fulfillment, Service Asset & Configuration Management, Service Catalog Management, Service Level Management, Service Portfolio Management. Currently there are four tools holding the PinkVerify 2011 certification for those 15 ITIL procesess:[26] CA Service Desk Manager Suite, Dexon Software V6, SAP Solution Manager and Marval Software.

See also


  1. ^ "ITIL® - ITIL Glossaries". 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  2. ^ IT Service Management Forum (2002). van Bon, J., ed. IT Service Management: An Introduction. Van Haren Publishing.   Emphasis added.
  3. ^ van Bon, J.(Editor) (2002). The guide to IT service management. Addison Wesley.  
  4. ^ For a (somewhat dated but comprehensive) discussion of frameworks visit
  5. ^ Sharon Taylor and Ivor Macfarlane (2005). ITIL Small Scale Implementation. The Stationery Office.  
  6. ^ Malcolm Fry (2010). ITIL Lite. The Stationery Office.  
  7. ^ "FITS Introduction". Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  8. ^ "CoPr". Core Practice. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Microsoft Operations Framework". Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  10. ^ "IBM Tivoli Unified Process". Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  11. ^ "FedSM homepage". 
  12. ^ "CADF homepage". 
  13. ^ "CSA Open Certification Framework". 
  14. ^ "Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools". Gartner. August 2012. 
  15. ^ "PinkVerify Toolset v3.0". Pink Elephant. February 2013. 
  16. ^ "PinkVerify Toolset v3.1". Pink Elephant. February 2013. 
  17. ^ "PinkVERIFY 2011 Toolsets". Pink Elephant. April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Magic Quadrant for IT Service Support Management Tools". Gartner. August 2012. 
  19. ^ "IT Glossary - Defining the IT Industry". Gartner. 
  20. ^ "Shifts in ITOM Include New Key Players". Gartner. October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Shifts in ITOM Include New Key Players (figure 2)". Gartner. October 2012. 
  22. ^ "ITIL Software Scheme - Operational Pilot Launch". The Official ITIL® Website. May 2009. 
  23. ^ "Licensed Software Assesors". The Official ITIL® Website. April 2014. 
  24. ^ "PinkVERIFY™ ITSM tool suite assessment service". Pink Elephant. April 2014. 
  25. ^ "PinkVERIFY 2011 Toolsets". Pink Elephant. April 2014. 
  26. ^ "PinkVERIFY 2011 Toolsets". Pink Elephant. May 2014. 

Further reading

External links

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