IT Service Management


What is IT service management?

IT service management (ITSM) is a concept that enables an organization to maximize business value from the use of information technology.

ITSM positions IT services as the key means of delivering and obtaining the value, where an internal or external IT service provider works with business customers, at the same time taking responsibility for the associated costs and risks. ITSM works across the whole lifecycle of a service, from the original strategy, through design, transition and into live operation.

To ensure sustainable quality of IT services, ITSM establishes a set of practices, or processes, constituting a service management system. There are industrial, national and international standards for IT service management, setting up requirements and good practices for the management system.

ITSM is based on a set of principles, such as focusing on value  and continual improvement. It is not just a set of processes – it is a cultural mindset to ensure that the desired outcome for the business is achieved. It incorporates principles and practices from various management approaches, such as lean manufacturing, organizational change management, system analysis and risk management.


ITIL is the most adopted and recognized body of knowledge for ITSM. ITIL defines IT service management as:

“The implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology.”

ITIL is a best practice framework that gives guidance on how ITSM can be delivered. Although there are several frameworks and standards that describe IT service management, ITIL is by far the most widely adopted and recognized globally.

The ITIL service lifecycle

ITIL follows a lifecycle approach to service management, introducing the following stages: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

    • Service Strategy (ss)
      The first stage of the lifecycle involves defining the 4 Ps of strategy – perspective (the vision and direction of the organization), position (how it is placed in its market and customer environment),plans (how it will achieve its perspective and position) and patterns (how it will continue to achieve strategic objectives). These will identify what is needed for the service provider to define and manage an effective portfolio of IT services addressing an organization’s current and forecasted business needs. Among the key processes at the SS stage are Strategy managementService portfolio management and Financial management.
    • Service Design (SD)
      This stage involves turning the service strategy into a plan for the design of IT services and processes that are aligned with the business’ objectives and that will provide value to the business. This stage also defines practices to manage and continually improve service performance based on service monitoring and customers’ feedback. This is realized via such processes as Service level managementAvailability management and Information security management.
    •   Service Transition(ST) 
      Service transition is the stage where the new service is introduced into use by the organization. Processes including change managementrelease and deployment managementservice asset and configuration management ensure that IT services are changes and built, tested and moved into production with optimal balance of speed, flexibility, control and with acceptable risks and costs.
    • Service Operation (SO)
      This lifecycle stage covers coordinating and executing the ongoing service delivery, operation and support. It includes routine day-to-day operations, as well as dealing with service disruptions and defects detected in the production environment. It is during this stage where the organization can realize its strategic objectives in introducing the new service. The key processes at this stage areIncident managementProblem management and Request fulfilment. The SO stage also covers service management functions, including Service desk.
  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI)
    The purpose of the CSI stage is to identify and implement improvements to IT services, processes, technology and overall service management system and ensure value is maintained by better strategy, design, transition and operation of services. Combined with the 9 guiding principles, CSI helps to establish an ongoing practice that covers all the previous lifecycle stages.

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