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.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.
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.Main article: Information Technology Infrastructure Library
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 1st, 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.
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: