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What Is IT Service Management?

What_Is_IT_Service_Management.jpgThe way IT departments function has evolved rapidly in the last 20 years and by now, you probably know something about IT service management (ITSM). Maybe you’re even implementing or working under an ITSM paradigm, and you want to know how you can make it better. While it might seem like just another marketing term, IT service management is something incredibly important to your business.

A Paradigm Shift in IT

In the early days of IT, most departments were focused on the management of technology itself. They tended to be reactive, often operating on an ad hoc basis. Informal processes and people operating independently of each other, in isolated “silos,” were the norm.

As IT has evolved, however, the paradigm has shifted to encompass service management. Rather than focusing on technology itself, today’s IT departments use IT service management to deliver quality IT service across an enterprise.

What Exactly Is ITSM?

At the heart of the IT service management paradigm is a focus on accountability and integration. This means standardizing processes and procedures across an organization, and integrating networks and service delivery. The end result is a strategic approach to designing, delivering, managing, and improving the way IT is used within an organization. ITSM brings a business perspective to IT departments, working to ensure the right people, processes, and technologies are in place to help the business meet its goals.

How Does It Work?

Businesses implementing ITSM look to various framework models, such as Motorola’s Six Sigma or the ITIL best practices, to help them design an IT approach, set goals, and implement, manage, and improve their IT. IT service management can include everything from implementing software technology to gathering data to create better products and services. The IT framework a business uses depends somewhat on how the business wants to use IT to meet its organizational needs. The most popular framework in use is currently ITIL v3. Once a framework is in place, businesses can then select the tools their IT department will use to carry out their tasks. This can include IT service management software suites, which supply the tools to help IT professionals manage workflow processes.

What It Means for Your Business

IT service management is a more holistic approach to IT delivery in an organization. Rather than IT being delivered in a slap-dash manner, focused on fixing immediate problems with very “personal” touches to those solutions, organizations using ITSM have an integrated, company-wide vision for what IT should do, and how it will be implemented. This creates rules and standard procedures and increases the accountability of the IT department.

Most ITSM tools allow IT professionals to track incidents and problems from end-to-end, which makes seeking out solutions for similar problems easier and more streamlined. Monitoring recurrent issues and performing preventative maintenance also becomes easier. IT professionals can manage their workflow more effectively, which translates to better solutions and faster service. The focus on preventative measures also ensures that your IT department is tackling problems before they become problems.

Last but certainly not least, IT service management means cost-savings for your business. Not only are you using an integrated system that covers the entire workflow, the workflow is easier to manage and focuses on prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—especially when it’s quick and easy to implement. Prevention helps your systems stay online, avoiding costly slow-downs, and often, preventative measures take less time for IT professionals to implement. ITSM’s integrated functioning and improved data recording also make it easier to assess where your business can save time and money by improving processes, refining procedures, and implementing new technology—to ensure you do what you do better than ever before.

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