IT service management (ITSM) relates to all of the activities surrounding planning, building, implementing, supporting, and managing IT services. Simply, this means that all of the information, assets, processes, practices, policies, and the actual services created by or surrounding IT falls under ITSM.
At its best, the role of ITSM is to simplify, support, and manage all of your IT department’s services and data to create value for the entire organization. This is the primary reason for the creation of ITSM solutions or platforms designed to help IT departments manage this vast amount of information and resources.
The ideal ITSM solution takes into account the organization, people, information, technology, partners, suppliers, practice, and processes to help the IT department manage these resources and information. ITSM solutions are not new, but developments such as cloud, Agile, DevOps, and AI are forcing many organizations to review their IT systems and how they can properly address this rapidly changing IT environment.
Figure: Simplified illustration of one of the typical use cases of an ITSM tool, managing incidents
Choosing the right solution to meet the needs of your organization is crucial. When considering how to reduce emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions when issues occur (or when something is needed, or a user has questions) two distinct options come to mind - Ticketing systems and ITSM Solutions. These two systems have some similar aspects but are different in a lot of keyways.
Software as a service, or SaaS, is a business model where customers pay to use software hosted on a remote computer. SaaS is often used interchangeably with “cloud computing”. Today, thanks to the internet and global communications technologies, Cloud and service-based software are quickly becoming the norm.
Cloud ITSM means ITSM software or tools running on cloud servers. Compared to many traditional on-premises (on-prem) deployments they provide a number of key benefits.
Simplified upgrade and maintenance - the use of cloud technologies has also helped simplify integrations and security reporting. Cloud technology and software-as -a-service solutions have further reduced the initial adoption costs making these technologies accessible to a much wider range of customer.
Four interesting updates that the newest version of ITIL introduces are:
ITIL 4 focuses on the value creation of services. Traditionally, the focus has been on the costs of a service. Instead of looking only at the costs of having a service, ITIL 4 also looks at the costs being removed by a service. But is it practical to make a business case for each service and measure how much money it hypothetically saves? Especially as the financial value of a service is only one of its potential benefits. ITIL 4 suggests that you look at the value of each service more holistically. The value of a service, according to ITIL 4, consists of the revenue generated and the cost cut minus the cost of providing a service.
It is easy to make such a calculation once one has all the right numbers. But how can one accurately estimate the money saved, without creating a lot of overhead? How can non-financial benefits such as a dramatically improved customer experience be measured? Hence ITIL 4 suggests that an ITSM tool’s service’s template should look at value instead of costs only.
There is also a conscious effort in ITIL 4 to define the risks involved in a service, and how those risks might affect its value. There are many risks that can affect the value of a service, but there is also a risk in not running a service at all. And often that one risk is greater than all other risks that the service brings with it. The risk of not running a service is often forgotten or undocumented. Either way, risks should be understood and recorded, especially those impacting the availability of a service.
One key advantage of ITIL 4 for service providers and service customers in the ITSM area is the immediate transparency of the entire value stream. This allows for traceability within the value stream and simultaneously forms the basis for continuous optimizations.
For example, it is possible to identify and resolve non-value adding activities quicker. Within ITIL 4, these activities constitute a form of waste for lean management and should therefore always be removed or minimized. Based on this principle, the value stream should be continuously optimized.
All activities of IT service providers should always be directly oriented toward generating traceable, added value for the stakeholders.
Value streams can be very extensive and complex, regardless of industry or market. To control and manage this complexity, all steps of the value stream are always coupled with the associated six value chain activities. These, in turn, are combined with ITIL principals, practices and governance to create the value system. This coupling allows providers to design their service management holistically and control them in a more traceable manner promoting continuous improvement.
If you want to learn more about ITIL 4, how it differs from previous versions and the value it will bring to service management organizations, please view our webinar recording.
With a well-functioning and agile ITSM solution, your organization will be able to implement any of the ITIL 4 practices created by Axelos.
The topic of agile is getting increased awareness surrounding ITSM, thanks to the fresh new version of ITIL, ITIL 4. Therefore, many managers and organizations are asking, "what does it take to make my ITSM processes more agile?" Traditionally, the focus in IT Service Management is on the Process Manager, who makes sure that operations of the process run smooth. The Incident Manager makes sure that all incidents are handled according to the predefined incident process. Similarly, the Change Manager, the Problem Manager and all the other Managers of ITIL disciplines focus on their own processes.
According to the Manifesto of Agile Software Development, agile focuses on “Responding to change over following a plan”. Thus, attention switches from managing operations to improving and adjusting the process, so that it always meets its users’ needs. That means that instead of the Process Manager, at the center is the Process Owner. The focus of your ITSM solution needs to extend from managing the process to its whole lifecycle, including the “response to change”. Dealing with change becomes a core requirement for the solution. This does not mean following the paradigm of uncontrolled and chaotic change. Instead, well-structured change process needs to be applied to all processes that the ITSM solution handles.
Putting agile at work in your ITSM processes and expanding to other services processes like HR, Finance or Legal includes certain practices to follow and mistakes to avoid. The following guide will help you avoid these common pitfalls when applying agile:
Artificial Intelligence in IT Service Management will evolve over the next decade with first truly disruptive innovations. AI will impact many capabilities of ITSM tools including:
Artificial Intelligence will be the 4th generation of process automation in IT. After the initial digitization of processes, the script-based automation, and the codeless visual workflow automation, machine learning is the next step in process automation.
The benefits of AI in ITSM will be cost savings through the automation of predictable, routine tasks, and a better user experience by analyzing big data of the past and making it available at a glance for smarter analysis. Due to the limited analytical skills of the first generation of AI algorithms, AI will be rather an evolution in ITSM than a revolution in the near future.
With a flexible ITSM tool, you can digitize and automate your work across the organization. From simple IT ticketing and self-service, to HR Service Delivery, Enterprise Contract Management, and company-wide process optimization, you can do it all with one system and with the same user experience. Some of the most common services managed with the help of tools originally designed for IT Service Management are:
Whatever ITSM tool your organization uses, you will want to maximize your investment by connecting it to other applications, services, and more. Integrations need to allow fast, two-way, and real-time data transfer between systems. To set up your integrations smoothly, here are the 3 important steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Design - Make sure to design an integration that meets your needs and document them visually using BPMN standard-based IDE.
Step 2: Build and Deploy - Use a low-code approach to configure connectors, build-in version controls to manage the different integration versions, and deploy the integration to your chosen environment once ready.
Step 3: Monitor - Monitor your integrations in real-time, ensuring the accuracy of the information and quick resolution of any errors.
Many of the ITSM tools have a particular out-of-the-box functionality to establish a basic setup IT Service Management. However, to gain full advantage of any tool, you need to identify your customers and map the services you offer to different internal and external target groups. For this, ITSM provider’s consultants help you refresh service and process structures, consolidate corporate practices with support of the ITSM tools.
Outcome of professional consulting is a well-defined service catalogue for your organization. The service catalogue comes with processes that have customer-specific definitions like service times, priority definition rules, service request models and change request classifications.
In addition to advisory services for your processes and service catalog, you may want to get professional help on