If you’ve been confused trying to figure out whether you should study ITSM or ITIL, you’ve come to the right place. The answer is “yes!” Let us explain.
ITSM is an acronym standing for Information Technology Service Management. It is fundamentally a set of best practices that define exactly what an IT service organization should be doing for its customers. This includes designing solutions, deploying them, operating and managing them, and monitoring their performance.
Because it is focused on IT many people assume that it’s a technology-focused discipline. But ITSM is really more customer-focused with emphasis on customer satisfaction and task completion. Most people who use the term are referring to internal customers, and the goal of ITSM is to produce system solutions that yield real value to the organization as a whole. Since the rise of DevOps ITSM has also concerned itself far more with one of the core goals of DevOps, an iterative process that results in continual improvement of processes.
The increasing need for ITSM can be correlated directly with the evolution of IT itself. Originally, IT was seen as a necessary cost of doing business, meant to keep records and track various quotients. Over the past few decades IT has grown to become a key strategy in achieving business advantage and value. For many businesses, IT is the difference between them and their competitors.
With ITSM defining what the servicing organization should be doing for customers, there’s an obvious need to explain how.
ITIL, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is the definitive source of how to go about all of the functions defined by ITSM. A product of AXELOS, who constantly improve and refine the library, ITIL is drawn from a wide variety of sources in both the public and private sectors and is considered the de facto guide to how to deliver IT services.
ITIL consists of five books, or volumes.
- Strategy - defines how to extract customer needs to develop an understand of business objectives
- Design – refers to the process of creating a plan for delivering the desired value using IT
- Transition – speaks to the constant need to be changing and adapting technology environments to take fuller advantage of new developments and align with changes in requirements
- Operation – the day-to-day constant process of delivering, monitoring, managing and support IT services
- Continual Service Improvement – Since that which does not grow soon dies, these processes focus on making every defined process better.
ITIL is basically the most widely used framework for accomplishing ITSM.
So, Which Do I Study?
Consult any training directory and it’s very likely you will not find courses in “ITSM.” This is because, as the most widely used framework, you must learn ITIL to enable you to qualify for positions in ITSM.
Those with a logical mind, great detail orientation, the ability to lead and manage, and good business acumen will find ITSM very attractive. Especially if you not technology-oriented but you want to help customers build their businesses, ITSM is the discipline you wish to pursue, and ITIL is the way to pursue it.