All businesses are to some extent IT businesses. Almost any organisation’s ability to supply products or services depends on IT capability, so effective control of IT systems is crucial. This is where IT service management (ITSM) comes in. Brian Runciman MBCS points to some useful resources.

The following resources cover where and how service management is used; governance and configuration management and how they interlink; how ITIL can be used with other reference models and the ITSM standard ISO/IEC 20000 and more.
‘IT service management (ITSM) refers to the implementation and management of quality information technology services. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through people, process and information technology,’ says Wikipedia.

While service management looks at technology as it pertains to the internal organisation it is increasingly concerned with, not only its own quality of service, but how it affects the organisation’s relationship with customers. ITSM is not vendor-specific but rather provides a framework for an IT department and how IT professionals interact with their own internal users and business customers.

BCS provides qualifications in the service management area because support is required for the many processes that come under the ITSM banner. These include issues like running a service desk, problem management, configuration management and service level management.

Along with day-to-day operations like service desk and incident management, ITSM also looks longer term at such things as change management - to prioritise and assess changes, authorise them and manage the building, testing and implementation of changes.

Service level management looks at the compilation of a service catalogue, identification of service level requirements, construction of service level agreements after negotiation with the customers, reviewing of service performance and implementing and managing service improvement plans or programmes.

ITSM also includes business relationship management, problem management and supplier management, which includes the identification, selection, contracting, monitoring, reporting, and managing of suppliers.

ITSM as a general approach has links with the ideals of total quality management, process improvement technique Six Sigma, business process management which aims to align an organisation's business processes with clients, Capability Maturity Model Integration and others.


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is often used synonymously with ITSM, but although a version of ITSM is a component of ITIL, ITIL also covers other areas.

ITIL is, however, a useful set of practices for ITSM that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business. The current incarnation is ITIL 2011, which also underpins the International Service Management Standard for IT ISO/IEC 20000 (previously BS15000).

The five ITIL books cover:

  • Service strategy
  • Service design
  • Service transition
  • Service operation
  • Continual service improvement.

Wikipedia notes that whilst ‘some claim that ITIL is a “best practice”, few successful organisations are truly organised according to the ITIL framework. In most of the cases ITIL is used as a reference framework or terminology.’