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Is IT Service Management (ITSM) Still Relevant?

Is IT Service Management (ITSM) Still Relevant?

Richard LaroqueRichard LaRocque, ing. ITIL V3 Expert
IT Service Management Lead

In my previous posts, I mentioned IT Service Management (ITSM) quite a bit.  As you all know, ITSM and its defining framework, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), have been around for decades.  As a concept, ITSM can even be said to pre-date ITIL by many more years as, in essence, mere minutes after the first IT system became live, management of service came into being to support, troubleshoot, change, maintain, enhance, tune, and otherwise operate it.  Many organizations tried to formalize the ITSM practice with varied level of success – Andersen Consulting’s Method/1, IBM’s Redbooks to name a few – but only with ITIL did it become a recognized discipline which was then further consecrated through the creation of the ISO/IEC 20000 standard.

So ITSM must have clearly been beneficial to garner attention on a global scale, but is it still relevant today?  After all, the IT landscape has changed drastically in recent years: systems are now composed of parts provided by a myriad of suppliers, both internal and external, that must work together perfectly to ensure required end result.   Can ITSM provide the means to manage this complexity?  To answer this, it’s important to go back to what ITSM is all about: establishing the means to plan, deliver, operate and control IT services offered to clients.  The details making up these means (the “how”) can vary and evolve based on the IT landscape but the general principles (the “what”) remain sound.  In order for services to be effective, their entire lifecycle must be properly managed; proper management requires relevant metrics; relevant metrics can only be consistently captured through repeatable processes; repeatable processes must be defined according to a unifying framework that ensures are the parts work together.    ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 provide a ready-made overarching view of ITSM but it is possible manage IT services without these, as long as there is a clear plan.  That said, even though some may considers these too bureaucratic, too stringent, and, in some cases, flawed, they do provide a solid starting point which can then be tailored to meet specific realities.

So, is ITSM still relevant?  To me, the answer is “more than ever”.  No IT organization can afford to manage their services haphazardly, without proper control, and with very limited understanding of cause and effect.  ITSM does not provide all the answers but it does establish a solid, organized foundation on which IT can rely to manage the services it provides.  In my next post I will try to bring some insight into making the case for ITSM.
Cordialement / Kind regards,