ITSM stands for Information Technology Service Management, which ultimately is the discipline of managing IT services. When we talk about IT management most people picture managing the technology. And whilst IT system management and similar more technical IT management approaches are crucial for your IT to work the IT Service Management is no less important. Its main focus is on business value IT delivers to its users and company as a whole. IT services are the means for delivering the value.
ITSM as a discipline has developed a set of best practices over years. These practices ensure overall quality of service delivery. The main benefit of ITSM software is that it is designed to enable the exact process you need to manage your IT effectively. This includes organizing conversations with users into tickets, keeping track of asset history, providing single point of contact for all requests, enabling request management with advanced approval workflows, CMDB for better root cause analysis and incident resolution.
ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. The origins of ITIL go back to 1980s when IT started becoming more and more prevalent in both business and state organizations. In contrast to more established fields, there was no set of best practices for IT management and there was no common language among IT professionals. These were the true early days of IT management. The UK Government understood the need for more systemic approach and tasked The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) to create a method for IT management. The team involved with the task soon realised that they don’t want to create a method but rather a collection of books with best practices. And since a set of books is usually called “library” they named it Information Technology Infrastructure Library. ITIL is currently owned by AXELOS.
The difference between ITSM and ITIL is that ITSM is IT management discipline focused on IT delivering business value whereas ITIL is a best practices framework for ITSM owned by Axelos. So, if you want to step up your ITSM game, ITIL is where you can go for an inspiration. The word framework is important here as ITIL is not a standard. You adopt the things you find useful from it and you adapt them to your needs.
The difference between ITSM and ITAM is that ITSM covers range of practices whilst ITAM is a practice within ITSM. This at least is the view hold by ITIL. Some people might view ITAM as a practice distinct from ITSM but that really depends on how you define them. Either way ITSM and ITAM are closely related and should work together. Whilst IT Service Management makes sure that IT delivers business value, ITAM’s purpose is to manage full life cycle of assets included in the process. Simply put the ITAM helps you to maximize the value you get out of your laptops, servers, networking and all the software you own or have subscribed to. At the same time, it helps you to keep costs in check, manage risks and get accurate baseline for decision making about purchase of new hardware or software.
Since ITIL is generally recognized as a go to set of best practices for ITSM, IT managers expect their toolset to be aligned with ITIL. Why would you even consider a tool that doesn’t support your processes? For these reasons, there is a number of authorities that examine existing ITSM tools and provide them with certification when they meet criteria for specific ITIL practices/processes . PinkVerify, Axelos and Serview are the most notable ones.