Why is service management important

Strategies

What is ITSM - IT Service Management?

ITSM stands for IT Service Management. Wikipedia defines ITSM as "the entirety of measures and methods that are necessary to achieve the best possible support for business processes (GP) by the IT organization". In this respect, ITSM describes the change in information technology towards customer and service orientation.

So far, this is a comprehensible and common definition, but by no means the only one. Another can be found in the glossary of the current version ITIL 2011. Accordingly, ITSM means the implementation and management of qualitative IT services that meet the requirements of the business. "IT service management is carried out by IT service providers with the help of an appropriate mix of people, processes and information technology," continues this definition.

  1. The devil is known to be in the details
    When IT services management is to be implemented, the same difficulties arise again and again. How can they be circumvented or eliminated?
  2. 1. Accrued costs are not an argument
    When decisions about the further course of a project are pending, the costs already invested are often used as an argument. That is not expedient. It is important to create a future-oriented business case at the crucial points of the project.
  3. 2. No project without sufficient resources
    Not only ITSM projects are often started ad hoc. That means: There are not yet sufficient resources available. This is often due to the fact that the authorizations for issuing the project mandate are unclear at all. The introduction of a project management process can help. A responsibility matrix should definitely be created. It indicates which "roles" can assign a project assignment - differentiated according to project size and type.
  4. 3. Basic understanding takes precedence over a solution
    When planning a project, people talk too quickly about concrete solutions and the necessary activities - without a uniform understanding of the exact goals. Project planning should be consistently geared towards the results to be delivered. These results are to be described as precisely as possible and in a measurable category (specification of the result, form, scope, quality, etc.).
  5. 4. Better Kanban than screen or projector
    Extensive project plans cannot be visualized on the screen or via a projector. Instead, it makes sense to use the Kanban method. That means: visualization on large walls and use of maps for the individual tasks. This helps to present complex relationships for everyone involved at the different hierarchical levels.
  6. 5. Everyone has to know their role in the project
    Many contacts are not aware of their role in the projects. They should be actively involved in the project - through use case definitions and the joint development of a communication plan.
  7. 6. The flow of information must not stall
    At the beginning of the project, the team is usually relatively well informed. But with increasing duration and outside the actual project, there is often a lack of information. To remedy this, it makes sense to create a stakeholder analysis at the beginning of the project, from which the form and scope of the necessary information can be derived. There you can also define how the actors are to be involved. A stakeholder-specific communication concept can be set up on this basis.
  8. 7. If the department does not provide any input
    Time and again, a project also suffers from the fact that the agreed input from the specialist departments is missing. Two measures can help. On the one hand, clear responsibilities must be created. On the other hand, it must be made clear to the departments, also through visualization via the product structure plan, how dependent the overall project is on their input and what consequences the lack of delivery has.
  9. 8. It just doesn't work without formal applications
    New projects and service changes are passed "on the fly" and without specifications directly to an IT employee. What can be done about it? A structured procedure for submitting and approving project applications must be established, combined with the definition of responsibilities for controlling this process - for example by an IT coordinator.
  10. 9. Work packages prevent delays
    Clear appointments have been made with customers, but they are constantly being postponed. That calls for a workshop to define the work packages with an estimate of the duration by experts. A precise prioritization must be made, the coordination process reconsidered and the need for documentation clarified.
  11. 10. Everyone needs to know the status of the project
    During the project, it is often unknown where it actually stands. So that everyone knows, a small website and a newsletter with reporting are recommended. In this way, every stakeholder can call up the status information at any time.

In order to understand the approach, it is especially important that it goes hand in hand with the move away from a purely technological approach to IT management, which traditionally revolved around sizes such as networks or storage. In contrast, ITSM focuses on service delivery optimization and the use of IT services.

Beyond the IT world, the book "Service Management: Strategy and Leadership in the Service Business" by the Swedish researcher and consultant Richard Normann, published in 1984, is a kind of starting point for this line of thought. In this sense, service management can be understood as a systematic method of managing services for customers - under a fixed cost and quality framework. ITSM is the transfer of this concept to IT.

ITSSM

An abbreviation that looks almost like the one for ITSM and, meanwhile, can also be found in its environment. ITSSM stands for IT Service Support Management - a term coined by Gartner analysts. "ITSSM tools automate the tasks and workflows associated with the management and delivery of qualitative IT services to business," Gartner defined in a study published in 2014. Ultimately, ITSSM is about tools that support the most common ITSM or ITIL processes.

ISO / IEC 20000

An internationally recognized standard for ITSM, which is controlled by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and whose detailed content can be obtained in Germany from Beuth-Verlag. Organizations can have their compliance with the standard certified; a certificate must be renewed every three years.

ISO / IEC 20000 specifies and presents the minimum requirements for processes that an organization must establish in order to be able to provide and manage IT services in a defined quality. The first part of the standard contains the formal specification of the standard, the second part a collection of best practices. In terms of content, this ISO standard is closely based on ITIL.

COBIT

Behind this acronym stands a framework for governance and management of corporate IT that is developed and maintained by the global professional association Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The first version of the IT control tool was published in 1996, has been available in version COBIT 5 since 2012 and serves as a framework with 37 IT processes, in particular as a model for ensuring compliance. According to ISACA, the framework, which is at least partially implemented in most large companies worldwide, is intended to establish a connection between IT-specific control models such as ITIL and those from other corporate areas such as COSO for financial reporting.

Six Sigma

A system for process improvement and a method of quality management, developed in 1987 by Motorola in the USA and later implemented with great success at General Electric. Six Sigma was developed in the manufacturing industry, but as a structured method for eliminating errors and perfecting them, it can be applied to all possible processes. Also on IT, which means that Six Sigma can provide an orientation framework for ITSM. The core element of the method is the description, measurement, analysis, improvement and monitoring of processes using statistical means.

FitSM

FitSM is based on the results of an EU project on the subject of e-science infrastructures. The standard, which comprises 14 processes, is maintained by the IT Education Management Organization (ITEMO). Lightweight, leaner ITSM should be made possible, which is why various processes are missing compared to ITIL.

Service level

Term for the quality of service of a service.

SLA

Abbreviation for Service Level Agreement. This describes the IT service, documents service level goals and specifies the responsibilities of the service provider and the user. A single agreement can cover different services.

KPI

Abbreviation for Key Performance Indicator. Defined key figures should enable control over the agreed service level.

ITIL

Very British. ITIL - abbreviation for IT Infrastructure Library - was originally developed by a British government agency in the 1980s. The documents from the collection of predefined and standardized processes, functions and roles that were available up to 1998 were subsequently selected for version 1.

Version 2 was available until 2003. A third version followed in 2007, known as ITIL V3. This was updated until 2011 and published under the name "ITIL 2011 Edition". This is the most current version of the best practice collection to date, which must be adapted to the individual requirements of the user company.

ITIL is now a trademark of AXELOS, a joint venture between the British government and the outsourcing company Capita. ITIL is the most important ITSM standard. ITIL certification is possible for individuals, including employees of a company, but not for entire organizations.