What is ITSM? IT Service Management Guide (Updated for 2024)

Implementing IT Service Management (ITSM) is an excellent way to optimize your IT services and ultimately increase your profitability. When your IT services are optimized within your business, you’ll deliver a better experience to your customers. When you have a service strategy with a high customer satisfaction rate, your business will be more successful.

This sounds great, but what is ITSM, exactly? Also, In this article, you’ll learn how next-gen ITSM supports your business, and how to implement it within your company.

What is ITSM? IT Service Management Definition

ITSM stands for IT Service Management, which is a holistic strategic approach used to optimize IT services that impact customers. In other words, ITSM streamlines the end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers, emphasizing continual improvements to maximize customer satisfaction.

Think of ITSM as “IT as a service” that encompasses everything, including the services used to manage your IT services. In essence, anything that even remotely impacts your IT services is included in IT Service management.

Ultimately, ITSM aligns an IT service team’s objectives with your overall business objectives to ensure their actions align with your business’s mission.

What is ITSM and IT Service Management explained

AI for ITSM: Utilizing AI in IT Service Management

The truth is evident and powerful: Leveraging AI for ITSM, help desks, and service desks makes employees more productive and processes more robust. AI technologies are transformative for ITSM software and the entire service experience.

The increased use of AI in service desk tools is inevitable because it improves self-sufficiency and the end-user experience as well as the overall effectiveness of the service desk and fast-track digital transformation for businesses.

What is Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)?

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a widely accepted approach to IT service management, providing best practices to manage IT services in a structured and efficient way.

The ITIL framework is a detailed set of practices for creating, delivering, and maintaining IT services that meet the needs of an organization.

ITSM vs ITIL: Key Differences between ITIL and ITSM

The primary difference between ITIL and ITSM frameworks lies in their scope. ITIL is a subset of ITSM; it provides a detailed framework for IT service management, while ITSM is an overarching approach that can incorporate many frameworks, including the ITIL framework.

Additionally, for ITSM vs ITIL, we can say they both aim to align IT services with business needs, but the ITIL framework is more prescriptive, providing specific processes and functions, while ITSM is more holistic, considering the broader organizational context and business objectives.

There are additional terms related to IT management, such as ITOM and ITAM, which may appear similar to ITSM but have distinct responsibilities. To learn more about ITOM and its differences from ITSM, you learn more in another article.

Here’s how help desk software can help your IT processes:

When employees have IT-related issues and they contact the IT team directly, it’s usually through email. Your IT team is likely being bombarded with emails about tech issues, and it’s not easy to manage support requests this way. Keeping track of email requests is exhausting and time-consuming, and requests will slip through the cracks.

Help desk software rounds up all support requests into one central location that’s accessible by your entire IT team. When a ticket is submitted, it gets routed either to a specific person or lands in the general queue where the first available team member will handle the request.

However, if that person goes on vacation or steps out of the office, anyone else can step in to continue assisting the person who needed help.

So, what kind of support requests would employees make through an internal help desk? One of the most common scenarios is when someone needs a new device, like a laptop or printer. They’ll open a ticket with all the necessary information and the system will route the ticket to the right person. This could be your HR manager or the IT supervisor.

The same type of scenario applies to employees working in your server room. Say a server tech needs some new Ethernet cables. Instead of having them manually fill out a purchase request form, they can submit a ticket through your internal help desk system, which will make the status of their request easier to track. The employee can check in at any time, make updates, or close the request if necessary.

End-to-end optimization of service delivery

ITSM optimizes service delivery end-to-end by taking a holistic approach throughout the entire service lifecycle—from design, through deployment, to maintenance and continual improvement. It orchestrates all workflows, processes, people, and technology toward meeting the organization’s objectives.

By proactively managing IT services and bridging the gap between IT infrastructure and business, ITSM promotes collaboration, and prevents and resolves issues systematically, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction for improved business performance.

ITSM Use Cases: 7 Ways ITSM Can Help Your Business

If you haven’t already done so, here’s why it teams that you should consider implementing ITSM in your business.

1. ITSM supports customer satisfaction

High customer satisfaction (CSAT) is the key to profitability in any industry. ITSM will help you improve CSAT by streamlining and organizing all of your IT processes that impact your customers. This includes back-end processes as well as front-end processes like customer service.

Customer service plays a central role in determining CSAT. In fact, according to studies, amazing customer service is more important than ever before. About 90% of today’s consumers choose to do business with brands based on how well they focus on their customers’ needs. They want to know they’ll be taken care of in the future beyond their initial purchase.

Great customer service also affects your revenue. According to data sourced by Help Scout, 68% of consumers will pay more for products and services if the brand has a reputation for providing good customer service.

Support your customer service team with an internal help desk

No customer support team is perfect; there is always room for continual service improvement throughout. One of the best ways to strengthen your customer service is to employ ITSM throughout your organization with a focus on supporting your customer service team.

Your customer support team needs support, too. They will run into obstacles, setbacks, and issues that need to be resolved before they can continue providing support to your customers. Implementing ITSM through an internal help desk ticketing system will give them everything they need to stay on top of supporting your customers.

For instance, say a customer service representative runs into a question they can’t answer and nobody else on the team knows the answer. They can submit a ticket through the internal help desk and get help from the right person or department. This process, in turn, will speed up the time it takes for them to help customers. Quickly resolving customer issues is how you create satisfied customers.

2. ITSM lowers costs

When you can get a handle on your ITSM processes, you’ll lower your costs by improving workflows and derive better ITSM ROI. Automation plays an especially important role in streamlining workflows because it removes the redundancies that typically waste time.

For example, internal help desk software can automatically route new tickets to specific departments based on form field input or keywords within the content. This means your team doesn’t need to manually route all of your tickets, which reduces the number of payroll dollars you’ll spend having your team perform tedious tasks.

Of course, generating a faster response time also plays a role in lowering costs because you can resolve issues before they become a larger problem.

3. ITSM increases productivity

ITSM in the form of internal help desk software has the power to drastically increase productivity throughout your organization. There are two factors that give it this power:

  • Automation routes tickets to the right department, ensuring a timely response from the right person.
  • Integrating knowledge base articles into the automation process provides teams with self-help options that are often faster than waiting for someone to answer a ticket.

When you provide your customer support team with self-service options, you empower them to get answers faster than making them wait for an email reply or a returned phone call. When your support team gets fast answers, everyone benefits and productivity rises because they can help more customers faster.

Although self-service was once considered less-than-friendly, it’s actually king today. Today’s consumers prefer self-help options over talking to live support. In fact, a whopping 69% of consumers troubleshoot issues on their own before reaching out for support and 67% prefer self-service over interacting with a live representative.

If you’re worried about making your support teams find their own answers, don’t worry, because that’s exactly what works best for most people.

4. ITSM improves employee satisfaction

Employee experience and satisfaction are just as important as CSAT. You need to keep your teams engaged, happy, and supported to foster long-term, loyal employees. Truth be told, employees can become bitter and frustrated when internal systems don’t work, or in the total absence of systems.

When you implement IT Service Management throughout your company, it positively impacts the employee experience. Your employees will feel happier simply because things will flow smoothly. Their work will become easier, they’ll find quick answers, resolve problems more efficiently, and they won’t be hindered by random, avoidable breakdowns. This further emphasizes the next point…

5. ITSM prevents avoidable breakdowns

When your IT processes are well-managed, you’ll have fewer technical breakdowns that impede your ability to serve your customers.

Part of ensuring your customers receive the best experience requires streamlining all of your business activities that impact your IT services. For example, your IT support team can’t function without a working computer, so you need a smooth process for ensuring their devices stay virus-free and functional.

ITSM processes aren’t always this simple, however. Sometimes, you need ITSM to manage more complex situations like coordinating moving data between servers while keeping your company’s network and website online the entire time.

There are an infinite number of breakdowns that can occur each day, and ITSM can help prevent a large number simply by putting systems into place that resolve issues as they arise.

6. AI-powered ITSM handles mundane tasks

Wasted time is wasted money. Deploying AI-powered ITSM solutions in your organization can save you money by taking over all the mundane tasks that don’t require live human input. For instance, businesses use AI-powered help desk software to complete the following tasks:

  • Password reset requests
  • Granting VPN access
  • Setting up two-factor authentication
  • Onboarding tasks
  • Offboarding tasks
  • Procuring devices, like laptops and printers
  • Handling common security incidents
  • And more

Almost any basic task can be automated by programming your help desk software with conditional triggers. When specific conditions are met, the application will perform set actions.

7. ITSM can predict needs and problems

There is power in predictive intelligence, and you can tap into this power by using internal help desk software powered by artificial intelligence. A help desk is just one form of ITSM, but it happens to be exceptionally powerful.

An AITSM system can actually predict potential problems before anyone becomes aware there’s a problem. For instance, the software can detect anomalous behavior across various IT systems and alert your team before there’s an incident.

Predicting potential incidents, including possible breakdowns, gives you the upper hand in guarding productivity. This is just one of many ways preventable, but catastrophic IT breakdowns are prevented.

What is AI Service Management for ITSM or AISM?

AISM is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to service management, sometimes known as AITSM. Other AI terms include project management, AI-powered service management or simply AI service management.

AISM is an emerging approach that aims to solve the increasing challenges of traditional IT service management tools.

Modernizing ITSM & Service Desk with AI Technology

As systems generate increasing data volumes, a service desk, and an ITSM automation tool are absolutely key to helping IT improve how it delivers services effectively. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) help automate and improve services for end-users while providing context-based recommendations, improved correlation, anomaly detection, root-cause analysis, and much more.
A large part of an ITSM platform is its ability to proactively learn & continuously improve to deal with issues: server concerns, application updates, forgotten passwords—whatever arises. Now, as AI automates processes and determines root causes, it is reducing all the noise an environment produces not only at the help desk but throughout the organization.

Prescriptive insights on how to improve ITSM processes like change management and service transition are only the start. AI and machine learning are actually transforming help desk automation so that teams can handle service holistically, manage change and compliance, and do financial planning.

Gartner recognizes that applying AI technologies like service desk automation will be transformative for ITSM software – noting that while AI implementations stood at 10 percent four years ago, today it has grown to 37 percent, a 270 percent increase.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 70% of organizations will integrate AI to assist employees’ productivity. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, the global economy could see a potential contribution of $15.7 trillion from AI by the year 2030.

Turbocharging an ITSM Platform?

This is the ideal time for AI to enter IT and service management automation. In many organizations, ITSM solutions have been confined to just help desk operations; companies implement an ITSM platform to improve incident management, requests, and changes, but not to add services or to define application portfolios.

Now, ITSM software will take even greater leaps forward as AI combines with other digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), and bots.

Even now, new service desk automation solutions integrate various machine-learning capabilities into tools—essentially connecting the dots to everything taking place in the IT environment. That means AI in ITSM and help desks will grow in influence and power, correlating and linking all functions and events within the managed environment.

As AI becomes the core of the ITSM platform, we’ll see AI virtual assistants and AI chatbots leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) technologies to deliver autonomous conversational AI solutions and conversational resolutions to users.

Additionally, NLP and NLU will move to the forefront of AI innovation. They will provide a practically human first level of interaction to end-users as the conversation becomes increasingly natural and contextually relevant.

How Does AI Transform an ITSM Platform?

AI’s ability to streamline processes such as password resets, patch management, incident routing, and software deployments makes its superiority stand out vividly compared to manual interventions.

Today, 70-80 percent of resources are spent on help desk and operational services activities—executing service requests, closing incident tickets, and delivering changes. Automating these activities makes service delivery faster, cheaper, and more efficient by a dimension.

Organizations can leverage AI to intelligently automate complex tasks at just about every operations level, freeing help desk and IT professionals and allowing them to spend more time innovating and evolving the department to help achieve business goals.

Anytime something is automated, organizations can utilize their process management and their resources for more proactive and creative work, rather than performing routine tasks. They can shorten the cycle for resolving incidents and spend more time working on end-user satisfaction for both internal and external services.

Increased use of service desk automation solutions will eventually move outside of information technology to become an organization-wide capability and competency.

Digital transformation is rapidly changing the way businesses and their users work. AI is already part of our lives, delivering a great experience—and people expect that same quality level of experience in the workplace, similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, etc.

Instant response and personalization are fundamental expectations from a technical support desk. Not surprisingly then, the service desk will soar into a new dimension powered by AI and automation in ITSM to deliver exceptional service.

How Can AI Improve and Drive ITSM Software Adoption?

AI-powered ITSM tools or IT support management tools can automatically collect the data to identify tickets without human assistance, allowing people to do more meaningful work and less manual labor. Organizations that implement AI in the workplace such as powered ITSM and ITIL tools find substantial ROI and numerous benefits that drive success throughout the entire company. These benefits include:
Speed request resolution 

Service desk team members work on individual tickets manually to segregate and analyze them; AI can simplify to provide end-users with quick and accurate solutions. It accelerates resolution by comparing current tickets with past ones and keeping the service desk ahead. Calls on the agent’s and IT service desk can be routed intelligently by the use of AI.

Gain cost-effective operations

Staffing service operation costs are a major element of total IT; high service operation costs can hinder growth and overall competitiveness. Because AI reduces the need to outsource and makes each employee more productive, it reduces costs significantly.

Handle tasks securely and scalably

The use of AI has been estimated to reduce business costs by 25 to 40 percent and increase savings by up to 55 percent in just six months. Evidently, the adoption of AI in ITSM has a lasting impact on business.

Learn from historical knowledge

AI provides tools that help service agents learn from trusted knowledge databases. These data bundles can be utilized and categorized to guide service agents to the right resolutions.

Save time

Through AI, any major outage or low-tier/first-level issue can be easily predicted. The solution can be suggested with an increasingly high level of success in a short time interval. AI categorizes at the IT support center, boosts instant solution retrieval and all in all provides superior problem management and resolution.

Drive accuracy

Working on data manually increases the chance of error and inaccuracy. AI learns from past experiences to prevent the same kinds of problems.

Prevent false results

New service desk employees might make errors that AI-powered ITSM tools can minimize—detecting issues, offering proactive and superior guidance to end-users, and avoiding the repetition of mistakes.

Enable predictive maintenance

AI-powered ITSM uses predictive maintenance to detect possible issues prior to the incidence. This prevents sudden disruptions and encourages smooth functionality. Machine Learning can help detect unusual behavior to block and bolster system security.

Prevent cybercrime

Amid the thousands of daily alerts, AI reduces response time, collects threat insights, flags harmful files and sketchy IP addresses, and responds to them even faster.

Perform faster and smarter

Machine language, natural language, and virtual agents improve accuracy and enable superior service to the end user, making for remarkably improved CSAT.

Automation in ITSM Software Has Arrived

Now is the time to implement service desk automation in your IT Service Management systems. Technologies such as NLP, ML, and AI virtual assistants save time and prevent errors—all vital to ITSM and CSAT. AI for ITSM Automation supercharges IT service desks to deliver self-service resolutions, unite people, processes, and technology to scale IT services and create great service experiences.

Implementing an AI Service Management solution to your organization will drive efficiency and productivity to the workplace, enhancing both internal employee experience, but also external customer experience. An AI Service Desk solution not only streamlines IT support center tasks, actions, and workflows but delivers immediate ROI for its adopters.

Addittional Resources