What is IT Service Management?

Maryn Juergens
February 10, 2021

What Is IT Service Management (ITSM)?

IT Service Management (ITSM) is a broad-ranging term that encompasses these IT services:

  • Design
  • Creation
  • Delivery
  • Support
  • Management

In short, ITSM includes any activity to manage the entire lifecycle of IT services. While it includes support for users, it goes way beyond just troubleshooting and solving user problems. Your IT team is responsible for the infrastructure to deliver services and maintain the best possible user experience, and keep your company’s data secure. 

ITSM has taken on even more importance in the past years with the need to deliver robust and reliable services to accommodate at-home and remote workers during the pandemic, and guard against recent high profile security breaches at Equifax and Twitter. 

Why Is IT Service Management Important?

One of the biggest complaints that employees have is that it takes too long to get things done. Whether it’s getting a laptop repaired, installing software, or getting the tech tools they need to do their job, frustration can mount while productivity suffers.

A formal ITSM approach to managing resources creates a structured approach to managing IT. ITSM systems increase transparency in the process and create accountability. Other benefits include:

  • Everyone knows what tasks need to be completed and who is responsible for completing them
  • Routine tasks have specific deadlines and milestones
  • Changes and hardware requests are approved through designated channels
  • Information is reported and available for authorized users
  • Improves compliance and reduces risk
  • Improves speed of resolution for incidents

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review reported that 77% of organizations see a disconnect between IT and business goals.  This lack of alignment can hurt productivity and profitability.

In 2020, we saw how important it was for everybody to be on the same page to increase agility. ITSM helps align IT with business goals to create a more reliable and agile company. Another study by McKinsey reveals that when there’s alignment to create an agile environment, the benefits follow, including:

  • 20% to 30% improvement in financial performance
  • 30% to 50% improvement in operational performance
  • 20-to-30-point improvement in employee engagement levels

How to Implement IT Service Management Effectively

It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks — especially in IT where it seems like there is some employee crisis every day. Using IT service management software, you can create a smooth workflow to keep everything up and running.

The best IT service management software will allow you to:

  • Track all requests in a centralized platform
  • Manage tickets by team, location, and workflow with real-time status updates
  • Make sure employees provide relevant information to address problems/needs
  • Integrate with other software 

For employees, it leads to a faster workflow and the acknowledgement that problems are being worked on. For IT teams, it stops the drive-by "hey-can-you-help-me" conversations, sticky notes left on your desktop, equipment left on your desk without notes, or emails, texts, and Slack requests that make it tough to stay organized.

Whether a team member needs someone to troubleshoot their tech, request new tools, or needs software installed, using IT service management software simplifies everything. Employees know where to go to get help and IT teams know what needs to be done.

Driving Growth, Digitalization, and Productivity

In 2021, companies are going to be even more focused on accelerating digital initiatives. A CFO survey done by Gartner shows that IT technology investments are the top goal for the year ahead.

2021 is the year to pivot from discussions about the future to making real investments,” said Alex Bant, Chief of Research, Finance at Gartner.

Businesses will focus that investment on tech initiatives that drive growth, digitalization, and enhance productivity. ITSM provides the framework for meeting those goals and futureproofing your business.

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