What Is An ITSM Framework? (Definition, Processes And Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies require aligning their IT and business goals to gain a competitive advantage in the constantly growing market. IT service management (ITSM) helps them enhance their IT customer service and business operations to improve employee and customer satisfaction. If you want to work in the IT sector as an ITSM practitioner or in related roles, learning about ITSM frameworks can help you understand how companies meet their organisational goals. In this article, we discuss what an ITSM framework is, highlight its importance, discover the processes involved in ITSM and go through some popular frameworks that companies use.

What Is An ITSM Framework?

An ITSM framework is a collection of standards, processes and best practices to support and monitor various IT services. It aims to create value by combining people, processes and technologies. ITSM encompasses all the activities and processes relevant to the support of services throughout their lifecycle. This includes:

  • Asset management

  • Project management

  • Change management

  • Release management

  • Knowledge management

  • Incident management

  • Problem management

Importance Of ITSM

Here are some reasons ITSM is important for companies:

  • Improves efficiency: ITSM helps optimise the life cycle of IT assets and establishes strategies for asset procurement and disposition.

  • Easy to use: ITSM can improve collaboration across various teams in an organisation and once adopted, it can be user-friendly and intuitive.

  • Reduces operational costs: IT service management helps scale operations through automation.

  • Improves employee productivity: IT service management tools help decrease average incident response time and improve employees' productivity through easy recovery from service interruption.

  • Streamlines communication: It enables enhanced visibility and collaboration channels for team members, quicker resolutions and incident response time for customers and increased transparency for management.

Related: A Quick Guide To Operations Management Responsibilities

7 ITSM Processes

ITSM processes help companies to manage IT services and capabilities. The processes include:

1. Asset management

IT assets include all the hardware and software elements in a business environment. Hardware assets comprise physical computing equipment such as desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices and keyboards, while software assets comprise databases, applications and open-source software systems. Asset management is a set of business practices that help optimise expenditures, manage lifecycles and make strategic IT decisions.

IT asset management involves identifying, tracking and maintaining assets. There are various stages in an IT asset lifecycle, such as planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance and retirement of assets. Asset management offers several benefits, including the optimal use of assets, compliance with software licence agreements, improved security and informed decision-making regarding business and IT asset purchases.

Related: What Is IT Management? (Components, Benefits And Skills)

2. Project management

Project management refers to various processes and activities involved in coordinating and implementing changes in business environments. It includes components such as services request fulfilment and closure, incident resolution and closure and change implementation and closure in pre-defined time frames, quality, cost and scope parameters. A project's lifecycle includes initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing the project. This requires professionals such as project managers, executives, project boards and the project team to collaborate and work in a structured manner.

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

3. Change management

Change management is a process of tracking, managing and modifying infrastructure and applications throughout their lifecycle to minimise risk and disruption to users. It is essential for IT professionals to understand how changes affect service deployment and monitor them. Change management ensures professionals follow standard procedures for all changes to IT infrastructure, such as debugging, the roll-out of new services or the maintenance of existing ones.

A good change management system evaluates proposed changes, prioritises changes for proper resource allocation, ensures the inclusion of back-out plans to return to the original state and provides context and transparency to minimise risks while avoiding bottlenecks.

Related: What Is Change Management And Why Is It Important?

4. Release management

Release management refers to overseeing the planning, designing, scheduling, testing, deploying and controlling of software releases to support business needs. A release management strategy includes both long-term goals and tactical steps to help the team accomplish those goals. The process ensures that release teams deliver applications and upgrades on time while releasing the correct components and maintaining the integrity of the live environment.

Related: 35 Release Engineer Interview Questions With Sample Answers

5. Knowledge management

Knowledge management is the process of collection, analysis, storage and sharing of information in an organisation. This tool assists service desk teams in handling information more efficiently and making informed decisions throughout the service life cycle. The knowledge encompasses processes, user behaviour, organisational structure, systems and supplier information. As part of the strategy, it also aims to improve service quality and decision-making by ensuring the availability of reliable and secure data.

A good knowledge management strategy helps increase operational efficiency, enables a better customer experience, maintains the consistency of decisions, operations and outcomes and helps reduce operating costs.

6. Incident management

An incident refers to any event that disrupts, reduces service quality or can affect business continuity. An incident management process restores IT services in their operational states following an unplanned event or service interruption. It involves the identification of incidents and logging them, categorisation and prioritisation, followed by diagnosis, investigation and closure of incidents.

A good IT incident management strategy helps reduce disruption caused by unexpected hardware, software and security issues. It also supports faster incident resolution and prevents revenue losses.

Related: 9 Popular Incident Management Tools (And How To Choose One)

7. Problem management

Problem management is a core component of these frameworks that refers to identifying and managing problems using preventative methods and understanding underlying causes to help prevent future issues. Problems differ from incidents where incidents are interruptions to IT services, failure of configuration items or reduction in the quality of IT services. Instead, problems are causes of incidents. Good problem management includes service improvement, increased productivity, easy restoration and fewer service disruptions.

Related: The 8D Problem-Solving Method: What It Is And How To Use It

How To Use ITSM Processes

Follow these steps if you want to implement ITSM processes in an organisation:

1. Conduct ITSM assessment

It is important to understand the areas in IT where organisations can use ITSM processes. This includes selecting the correct workflow, installing the right software and having the proper personnel. Companies can conduct surveys, interviews and workshops as part of ITSM assessments. The purpose of ITSM assessments is to gain information about the processes, tools and organisation of ITSM departments.

Related: 5 Notable Differences Between Personnel Management And HRM

2. Engage stakeholders in ITSM processes

Companies can engage their employees in understanding the benefits of ITSM processes. Having a good company culture can help achieve IT coordination and alignment, along with improving the quality and effectiveness of ITSM services. This also helps in driving continual service improvement.

Related: What Is Service Quality? (With Importance And Dimensions)

3. Use relevant tools

A successful ITSM tool implementation requires identifying gaps with current tools, defining processes to automate workflows, collaborating with stakeholders and understanding user experience and requirements. The right tools help meet an organisation's IT needs with the ability to scale up in the future. Consider the key functional and non-functional criteria while choosing the relevant ITSM tools.

Functional criteria include service-level agreement management, IT knowledge, workflow automation and predictive analytics. Non-functional criteria include quality and availability of technical support, supplier size, deployment models and supplier product roadmap.

List Of These Frameworks

Here are some popular frameworks:

ITIL

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a widely recognisable framework that provides best practices for aligning IT with business requirements. With an emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness, ITIL best practices describe the service lifecycle processes. ITIL 4, the latest ITIL framework, delivers the service management expertise that businesses require.

Related: FAQ: What Is An ITIL Certification? (With Types And Benefits)

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a popular management framework aimed at process improvement, setting objectives, collecting and analysing results to reduce defects in services and products or removing the causes of defects and errors. The framework is compatible with ITIL, which focuses on improving processes, products or services that affect the end user. Using the data in Six Sigma, organisations can reduce defects in their services and products, improve customer experience and reduce costs.

COBIT

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT) helps develop, implement, monitor and improve IT governance and management practices. This framework aims to specify control objectives, metrics and maturity models in IT services, along with solutions for risk management. There are 40 governance and management objectives in the COBIT Core Model, which assist companies in establishing a solid governance framework, aligning their business goals with their IT goals and navigating security, risk management and information governance.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in the article are associated with Indeed.

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