IT Service Management (ITSM) is a technical field encompassing every practice and measure related to managing your company’s tech infrastructure. While IT service management is critical for running a modern business, it is essential to understand the characteristics, benefits, and risks associated with implementing an ITSM strategy.

What is IT Service Management?

IT Service Management (ITSM) is a collection of plans, methods, and practices to deliver and support a company’s IT services through the correct combination of personnel, technology, and processes. In other words, ITSM encompasses the entirety of tools and methods employed by IT teams to deliver IT services.

It is crucial to understand that unlike IT disciplines such as network management, ITSM primarily focuses on services instead of technology and systems. Most approaches to ITSM are organized in frameworks, which group best practices and recommended methods into a single unified standard.

The primary objective of ITSM processes is to deliver technology solutions that align with the business’s goals and overall needs, employing tech to provide value to the business, such as processes facilitating innovation or increasing the company’s competitiveness.

Common ITSM Frameworks

Some of today’s most commonly employed ITSM frameworks include ITIL, COBIT, and MOF.


Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is one of the oldest and most well-known ITSM frameworks worldwide. First developed in the United Kingdom for the British government, the earliest application of the ITIL framework was in the late 1980s, then known as the Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management (GITIM) framework.

The current version of ITIL is ITIL 4, introduced in 2019. This framework offers a four-dimensional approach to service management, separating it into the following categories:

  • People and organizations
  • Processes and value streams
  • Information and technologies
  • Partners and suppliers

ITIL also defines 34 specific practices (defined by ITIL as specific tasks designed to accomplish an objective) categorized into three groups:

  • General management (knowledge management, how to continuously improve service, assessing enterprise risk, portfolio, and project management)
  • Service management (service desk, service design and continuity, business and analysis, and IT asset management
  • Technical management (software development, build deployment, and IT infrastructure)

ITIL’s core principles offer a detailed set of practices, tasks, and processes to facilitate service and asset management. ITIL is organization- and technology-agnostic, meaning ITIL’s principles are applicable regardless of the business sector, the systems and technologies employed, or whether the organization is for-profit or non-profit.


Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies, frequently shortened into “Control Objectives for IT” or simply “COBIT,” is another commonly used ITSM framework.

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) introduced COBIT in 1996, initially as a set of control objectives, then gradually updated to become a general-purpose roadmap for high-level IT management and governance.

As of November 2022, the most recent version of COBIT is COBIT 2019. It features 40 IT governance and management processes designed to achieve three primary objectives:

  • Create a robust governance framework
  • Align business goals and IT goals
  • Balance risk management, information governance, and security needs


The Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) is a collection of over 20 documents outlining every process necessary to create, implement, and manage IT services. A central pillar of the MOF framework is its suitability for the entire lifecycle of an IT service, allowing a business to create an environment facilitating 100% system reliability and availability.

The MOF framework is divided into four quadrants, each containing multiple operational procedures known as Service Management Functions (SMFs):

  • Service changes: Groups SMFs identifying, reviewing, approving, and implementing changes to the IT environment (hardware, software, roles, responsibilities, documentation, self-service portals, and configuration management)
  • Service operations: Groups SMFs primarily related to service delivery, monitoring, control, and management
  • Service support: Groups SMFs related to incident management and service requests, including issue identification, problem management, assignment, tracking, and resolution, including service-level agreement (SLA) requests
  • Service optimization: Groups SMFs related to maintaining the alignment between IT and business goals, such as capacity management, performance analysis, personnel assessment, and incident reviews

Benefits of ITSM Frameworks

Adopting an ITSM framework can offer numerous benefits and advantages to your business. Here are some of the most significant ones:

Increased Operational Efficiency

Although better IT tools (e.g., modern internal IT service catalogs) are often credited as the key to improved efficiency and overall success in many organizations, they are only part of the reason. An ITSM framework ensures the proper and efficient use of these tools, integrating them into your business operations to achieve better efficiency.

For example, adopting the correct ITSM framework alongside newer, more efficient tools can help a company automate numerous internal processes and tasks. Benefits include simplifying workflows, eliminating unnecessary workloads, and saving significant time and effort.

Standardization and Uniformity

Although an ITSM framework is primarily about managing technology infrastructure more efficiently, every department uses IT tools and services, meaning every member of your team, regardless of their specialization, will benefit from following the same procedures.

Uniformized procedures also ensure no “knowledge silos” form within your organization. An example of a knowledge silo includes tools and processes in one department having no purpose or being inapplicable outside of that department.

Another benefit of standardization is more efficient software updates, patching, and upgrades. For instance, if all team members use the same collaboration and communications software, the same patch will fix bugs and software issues for every member, making it easier to schedule, automate, and implement.

Improved Security

ITSM frameworks often come with tasks and procedures dedicated explicitly to identifying and remediating security risks. They include tools for monitoring your systems and networks and processes designed to help personnel identify security gaps and risks.

For instance, a practical application of ITSM frameworks to data security and personnel can result in better security training and awareness, improved collaboration, and more efficient prevention and mitigation of security issues.

Easier IT Changes and Iterations

An efficient ITSM framework includes detailed processes to ensure any changes to your company systems are easy to plan, test, and explain to the rest of your team.

Implementing IT changes, for example, introducing new software or replacing outdated documentation, must be done correctly to minimize disruptions, reduce or eliminate business risks, and preserve your workflow effectiveness.

The role of an ITSM framework is to formalize roles, tasks, processes, and policies to gradually support the implementation of changes from the design phase to the final deployment. Formalizing the process helps ensure that the right personnel can detect potential issues and operational problems before they can affect the entire organization.

Better Returns on Investment

When a business or organization’s goals align with its chosen ITSM framework and software, improved operational effectiveness at all levels provides the organization with significant returns on investment (ROI).

Achieving positive results with a new ITSM solution requires more than just purchasing ITSM tools and software. Your personnel must also create new policies and follow the procedures to ensure your team uses these tools to their fullest potential.

Benefits of ITSM

Risks Associated with ITSM Frameworks

Although ITSM frameworks can provide many benefits to businesses and organizations, there are risks associated with implementing one. Here are the three most significant risks to consider.

Full Implementation Requires Time

Regardless of the ITSM framework you wish to implement, full implementation of the model of your choice will take time and require the completion of multiple complex steps. It isn’t uncommon for a complete ITSM project to require several months until completion.

Consequently, it is critical to consider the implementation time before selecting a specific model. An experienced IT service provider can help you provide an accurate time estimate and assist you during the implementation process.

You Need Full Executive Support

Implementing an ITSM project requires the commitment of your organization’s executive team. Their support is necessary to ensure the proper and complete implementation of every tool, software, service, and process your chosen framework needs.

Many organizations fail to implement an efficient ITSM framework due to a lack of interest from the executive team; for example, they consider the project low-priority or a misalignment between the project and their long-term visions and strategies.

Your Team Must be Ready for Changes

Numerous studies have proven that resistance to change is a common organizational challenge, regardless of the organization’s type or industry. A common cause of ITSM project failure is an insufficient change management strategy; in other words, if your personnel cannot be convinced the new framework is essential, many team members will resist the changes it brings.

A critical element of proper ITSM implementation is an efficient change management strategy with a clear definition of the changes, team leaders and executives leading by example, and other communication strategies.

Planning the implementation and change management strategy around the organization’s culture can also ensure your team sees the benefits, inciting them to adopt the new processes.

National Technology Management, Your IT Services Partner

National Technology Management provides comprehensive managed IT services and consulting to businesses and organizations in the Detroit area and nationwide. Whether you are starting a new venture or need help implementing a new IT service management strategy for your established organization, NTM has the resources to assist you.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how IT Service Management can benefit your organization.


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