IT service management (ITSM) might sound technical but, as any IT service manager will tell you, it isn't. In fact, it should be straightforward. Put simply, it's about applying good business and management practice to the delivery of technology, via tools, people and processes.
ITSM is, however, at a crossroads, which is why it's often not as straightforward as it could be. For a long time, ITSM has been dominated by one best practice framework: ITIL. In some quarters, this is characterised as out-of-date — yet many of its strategies (how organisations manage change and capacity, for example) are still extremely relevant.
Yet things are moving on, and the ITSM landscape is no longer just about ITIL — or, indeed, any single framework. As this supplement highlights, there are number of new approaches available.


One of these is DevOps — a collaborative approach to agile methodology — often portrayed as a challenger to ITIL (when, in reality, it offers something quite different). With DevOps — as its name suggests — development teams and operational teams work together in a culture based on mutual respect and avoidance of blame, in order to collaborate more successfully and be more productive and effective. This supplement also looks at another framework, IT4IT, which defines IT processes and frameworks as business-based value streams.
At present, however, there is too much confrontational marketing hype around 'xxx' is dead', or 'ITSM vs xxx'. What is needed is a grown up approach to understanding and incorporating the best of new and older ITSM practices. For example, ITIL and DevOps work well together. They complement each other. So organisations need to understand the range of options available to them and act positively to make them work – as and if they are appropriate.


Another growing trend examined in the following pages is the increasing adoption of self-service and self-help in enterprise IT — sometimes misappropriated as by-passing ITSM. In actual fact, self-service and self-help is another way of engaging and interacting with customers and is an extremely positive ITSM development.
For example, in our private lives we expect to be able to sort out at least some IT issues ourselves, such as resetting passwords. Yet there are workplaces where users still have to call an IT support professional in order to do it for them. Organisations need to move away from these tasks in order to free up their technical people, who can then spend more time being creative, building more quality into their systems and looking at the bigger picture.
And, actually, maybe that's the best definition of ITSM of all. Done properly, it creates a culture that enables organisations to implement the bigger picture — and make people and business work better.