In today’s fast-paced business landscape, modern-day businesses need to adapt to the constantly changing business needs in order to efficiently and effectively manage the delivery of IT services to its users and clients. In order to cater an organization’s broad business objectives and meet customer’s exponentially increasing demands, it is common to hear business professionals discussing two acronyms: ITSM and ITIL.

It is not unusual for people to confuse between ITSM and ITIL, especially when even those who are not new aren’t very clear on what these two acronyms mean. They are often used interchangeably, which is wrong. Also, sometimes people say they don’t understand if they need ITSM or ITIL, which is again a wrong question altogether. It is not about choosing ‘this’ or ‘that’. Even though, the two acronyms are broad concepts in their own, let’s discuss them to build a basic understanding of ITSM and ITIL.

What is ITSM?

ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) is a strategic approach which simply involves how you manage the information systems that deliver value to your customers. Most people understand it as all the activities, policies, procedures and processes an organization utilizes for designing, delivering, managing and improving the IT services used within an organization. Whether or not you have heard much about ITSM, but you are running IT systems, then you are doing IT Service Management (ITSM). Practicing ITSM helps IT organizations better understand their customer’s needs. While larger organizations are already utilizing ITSM, small or some mid-level organizations are still looking at implementing ITSM.

What is ITIL?

ITIL is an acronym that stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. ITIL is a framework of “best practices” for delivering and supporting IT services in the business world. It includes processes, procedures, checklists, and tasks for ITSM. ITIL is a view on how to do ITSM, but not all ITSM is ITIL. An easy way to differentiate between the two is to think about horses versus animals per se, i.e. a horse is an animal, but not all animals are horses.

ITIL – An IT Service Management Essential

Although ITIL isn’t the only framework for implementing best practices for ITSM, but it is the world’s most widely recognized framework for ITSM – introduced in the 1980s as an official publication of the United Kingdom’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). Since 2013, ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS.

By implementing an ITSM environment using ITIL best practices, businesses get a consistent framework to create, design, deploy, manage, and improve their IT service delivery. The five core areas (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Process Improvement) of the ITIL service lifecycle provides standard practices and consistency for your IT service delivery and management.

Using the ITIL framework in an ITSM environment helps provide standardized IT service delivery through an organization-specific service catalog, which in return, provides a single point of contact for customers requesting a specific service or requesting help when an incident occurs.

ITIL practices provide consistency and help define IT roles and responsibilities when IT services fail, and help find and fix the root causes of persistent issues. It also lets you monitor services and take appropriate actions when an exception occurs in an ongoing service.

When medium to large IT organizations embrace ITIL framework in their ITSM programs, processes built as per the guidance manuals have demonstrated success. They introduce structure, create efficiencies, and cut overall costs. They provide defined roles, facilitate metrics for benchmarking and continual improvement, and bring together higher levels of accountability to IT investment.

ITIL – Adapt & Adopt Approach

You can get the best value from ITIL by taking a lifecycle approach to ITSM. This methodology covers everything right from IT strategy through design, transition, and operation of services, along with the continual improvement. However, in order to adopt to the rigid set of ITIL processes requires a full understanding of how they would fit within the culture of their organization. This ignorance may also result in wasting away valuable company resources. Some experts believe the right way to use ITIL framework in an IT Service Management environment is to “adapt and adopt”. This is no need to follow the ITIL guidelines as presented. Once you evaluate your business goals, departmental budgets, resource constraints and other important aspects, you can determine which processes work for you and adopting what processes will help you better meet your individual company needs.

To evaluate how much and what processes are the best fit for your project/company needs, one must have proper understanding and in-depth training of ITIL. The demand of skilled ITIL professionals has been on a rise in the last decade or so, as more and more companies are adopting the ITIL framework in their ITSM environment to enhance IT service delivery processes. Since now you know how important a role ITIL plays in an ITSM environment, why don’t start with the first and most basic ITIL Foundations Certification training today.

QuickStart – Helping Professionals Grow

Quick start is an IT skills learning marketplace that optimizes project performance and career growth by personalizing learning experience through online courses, instructor lead training, high impact mentoring and hands-on lab experience.

QuickStart offers the ITIL Foundations Certification training course where the students will be introduced to the fundamentals of IT Service Management as described in the version 3 (2011) of the IT Infrastructure Library. Under the supervision of ITIL experts and practical experience in managing and deployment of ITIL-programs, students will be prepared for the certification exam. The course is accredited by ISEB and EXIN.

IT management and staff professionals who want to learn and understand ITIL service lifecycle and its role in quality IT service delivery can take the ITIL Foundations course. This ITIL training program will include lectures, discussion, team exercises and quizzes.

Certified ITIL Foundation professionals who had completed their training program at QuickStart are hired by top technology companies around the globe.