While the terms ITSM and ITIL are often used interchangeably, they are two distinct disciplines.
ITSM refers to the way organizations manage their personnel, processes and technology together to deliver their IT services. ITSM encompasses the entire life cycle of an IT service, from its design and creation to the delivery, support and maintenance of the service. This scope incorporates numerous tasks, ranging from planning and managing IT systems, to fixing and preventing IT issues, to managing the IT budget. As such, ITSM goes beyond basic IT support to be a driver of business value.
ITIL is a best practices framework that organizations can adopt to guide their ITSM efforts. It aims to align IT with strategic business goals and needs and create service delivery efficiencies to meet those goals. The current set of ITIL processes, ITIL 4, addresses recent changes in working habits, the popularity of agile and DevOps methodologies, and the requirements for digital transformation. Specifically, it encourages more collaboration, fewer silos and better communication across the organization.
ITIL remains the most popular of the IT service management frameworks and brings organizations a number of benefits, including:
- Standardized service delivery, increasing overall efficiency.
- Better paths to meeting regulatory compliance requirements.
- Elimination of repetitive, manual tasks, allowing IT to focus on creating more innovative, value-adding services.
- Consideration of all a service’s stakeholders, not just the end users.
- An iterative approach to delivering value that allows services to be improved over time.
Although there is clear overlap, ITSM and ITIL are distinct but complementary concepts. In short, ITSM is a specific discipline, and ITIL helps organizations succeed at ITSM.