ITSM: Breaking Down the Jargon

The purpose of an IT Service Management (ITSM) solution is to ensure that the IT team of the organization has a streamlined process and is efficient in solving the IT issues that arise. For a small or mid-size business with a relatively small IT budget and limited staffing and assets, IT management will be the least of their worries. In the gebez study that was carried out, 63% of the small-sized companies did not have a structured IT inventory process. Many of the assets were mapped using google sheets and in a few instances no records were available. It might seem like the best practice considering the low IT budget that a small business possesses. In reality, IT is an area in which the company needs to concentrate more; I am saying this because there are severe implications when a proper IT service management system is not implemented.

To begin with: What is this ITSM?

I am sure we all have heard the “ITSM” term being used more often than not, but what exactly is IT Service Management?

IT service management (ITSM) is a set of policies, processes, and procedures that allow an organization to make the optimum business value from the use of information technology. ITSM puts IT services as one of the critical means of obtaining and delivering value, where an external or internal IT service provider engages with business customers and at the same time taking complete responsibility for the associated risks and costs. ITSM works across the whole lifecycle of a service or item from the visualization of strategy, through design, the transition phase, and into live operation. Implementing an ITSM solution will be one of the most significant ways to improve productivity and increase the impact of the limited resources you have by keeping a constant tab on them.

There is a plethora of ITSM options available on the market today, and it only keeps increasing. It is essential for any business to find a solution that is apt for your organization. You wouldn’t want to use a full-blown ERP and financial management platform (like SAP) to manage a simple household budget and planning, a small or mid-sized business requires an ITSM system that can support their needs and that can be scaled for their organization’s needs and complexity. It should also be a software title that can be scaled even if the small business evolves into a mid-market one. On-premises options may provide the flexibility and few additional customization options that only large enterprises will require, but for smaller organizations and mid-market companies who are looking for a scalable but yet cost-efficient solution, an on-premises solution can be overkill, and cloud-based ITSM solutions could be a better choice.

What to look out for in an ITSM tool?

Understand what your company is looking to achieve from a business outcome, not from an IT operations perspective. Secondly, look at what you need to change in your IT process rather than what you intend to do with the ITSM tool – there’s a big difference. For example, “We need to do incident management” is a different beast to “We need to ensure that IT issues don’t hinder the day to day business operations.”

Self-service capabilities

Automation can be critical to eliminating costly and mundane manual processes while making businesses more efficient, compliant, and secure. The presence and ability to set up a knowledge base is of utmost importance, it not only gives the users the answers they are looking for without having to wait, but also eases the work of the IT team.

Budget for potential extra costs

One thing to note is that most of the tools have hidden costs for implementation, customizations, integrations, consulting, etc. Then there is the hosting and the management cost in case of an on-premises solution – should ITSM/ Application skills be lacking. But something that we should not forget is the cost associated with operating sub-optimally. This is why it becomes essential to invest in cloud software that has no additional charges.

What are the benefits of having a robust ITSM system?

  1. Improve the quality of service: To improve the quality of service ITSM tools offer a technology-enabled process workflow that eliminates the manual process, and ends up improving collaboration between all the teams involved. The IT team can prioritize and customize the resolution time of the issues by setting up SLAs to resolve issues based on the impact it causes on the business,
  2. Fewer, and well-managed, incidents – providing increased availability of IT ensures that the incident doesn’t hamper the business operations and the IT team have a clear understanding of the incident and follow a standardized procedure to resolve it.
  3. Increase your business productivity – due to the higher IT service availability and faster restoration of service for end-user IT issues it means that there won’t be excessive downtimes and that business can carry on without any hiccups.
  4. Remaining compliant – It helps the team to be more compliant to both internal and external risk management requirements, through embedded, formal and internal controls along with the ability to rely on and demonstrate their consistent application.

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