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6 Best Practices For IT Service Management

6_IT_Service_Management_Best_Practices.jpgIT service management is an important feature of today’s IT departments. No matter which ITSM framework an organization employs, all of them offer best practice recommendations when it comes to keeping IT efficient and effective. These 6 best practices represent some of the most common ITSM recommendations.

6. Don’t Align, Integrate

Most ITSM frameworks focus on the idea of IT being fully integrated into a business. This means that the IT department isn’t isolated from other departments, but works in tandem with them to meet goals. However, simply aligning IT with the needs of the business isn’t enough to achieve integration. Under IT service management, IT should become an integral part of the organization, helping to drive business decisions, achieve goals, and improve not just IT, but other departments as well.

5. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

In the early days of IT, much of the work was focused on reacting to problems as they cropped up. Fast-forward to today and it will quickly become apparent that this approach doesn’t work any longer. Today’s businesses can’t wait to react to a problem; they need to be anticipating issues before they become problems. The same goes for the IT department; rather than waiting for a system to become overloaded and crash, frameworks like ITIL recommend constant service improvement. This means determining what proactive steps should be taken to prevent problems—such as upgrading a system before the number of users outstrips the system’s capacity.

4. Think Holistically

Much of IT service management focuses on the idea of a whole. Rather than isolated siloes, the departments of a business function together to make the business run more smoothly. Another place where holistic thinking needs to be applied is in the design of services. Rather than applying ad hoc solutions and tackling problems as they arise, ITSM designs services, implements them, monitors them, and then improves them. The process is end-to-end and the amount of planning and design recommended in ITSM frameworks reflects this.

3. Use Structured Workflows for Incidents

One of the most important features of most ITSM frameworks is that they prescribe the use of structured workflows for recording IT incidents. Since incidents are the most common point of contact between the IT department and individual users, employing standardized workflows is a must. Using a structured workflow increases accountability since everyone uses the same procedures. That means situations can be tracked and recreated, and data about similar and repeated incidents can be collected to help develop best practices and more efficient processes.

2. Keep Information Safe

Another point that most ITSM frameworks stress is the need to keep information safe. This includes everything from controlling user access by providing unique user IDs and passwords to limiting what work can be done on certain workstations. It can also mean limiting physical access to the places where information is stored.

1. Always Keep Improving

Perhaps the most important IT service management practice is the mandate to keep improving. Most frameworks suggest that using service management should result in systems being continually monitored and refined. This standpoint recognizes that businesses are dynamic organizations that exist in changing environments. IT and IT management cannot be a “set and forget” consideration for today’s businesses. Much like organizations as a whole are always looking to improve the way they do things, IT should search for more efficient and cost-effective solutions. Even if an implemented technology is the best one available today, there might be something better tomorrow. Businesses change direction and outgrow old processes all the time; IT service management recognizes that tech departments shouldn’t be any different.

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