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ITSM vs ITIL

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by Rajesh Shetty
Last modified: April 22nd 2021

One of the most prevalent questions that newbies ask when stepping into the realm of IT Service Management (ITSM) is whether ITSM and ITIL are similar. If not, what are the basic differences between these two? 

Put simply, the most fundamental answer to this question is that ITSM is a real practice that manages IT operations as a service. On the other hand, ITIL is a set of practices that offer ITSM guidance while covering the basics. 

Though that was just a gist, there is a lot that can be learned about ITSM vs ITIL. So, without further ado, let’s read ahead and find out more regarding this concept.

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ITSM vs ITIL - Difference between ITSM and ITIL

So, let us begin with the ITSM definition first, which I am going to talk about in the section below.

What is ITSM?

Abbreviated for IT Service Management, ITSM is performed by service providers to implement and manage the quality that meets the standard of business. It is integrated with an adequate amalgamation of information technology, people, and process. 

The paradigm of ITSM has emerged as a basic approach toward how IT companies deliver their support and provide services. At the core, the notion of ITSM simply outlines the management of IT as a set of services. 

It highlights the consideration that IT professionals must align their goals with the strategic objectives of the company and work toward delivering value to their customers. It also echoes the idea that IT only exists to deliver services to customers – both businesses and employees.

What is ITIL?

ITIL was introduced as an abbreviation for Information Technology Infrastructure Library that was published anywhere between 1989 and 1996. It was a volume that comprises 30 books, outlining the best practices for certain ITSM processes. 

In 2000 and 2001, ITIL volume 2 came into the market that contained 9 books, each of them describing 30 processes that were grouped into one set with their most relevant processes. After that, in May 2007, volume 3 was released that introduced the world with a refreshed system of 30 processes that were refined into a set of 4 functions and 26 processes covered in 5 different books. 

Thereafter, the refinement and clarifications of ITIL volume 3 were released in 2011. Throughout this way, the full name, which was Information Technology Infrastructure Library, got relinquished, and ITIL turned out to be the official name. 

Basically, these sets of ITIL best practices get used by such enterprises that wish to have a certified standard with precisely defined needs to be met.

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ITSM vs ITIL: Relationship between ITSM and ITIL

In this article, we have enlightened the essential aspects of ITSM vs ITIL which will help you understand both ITSM and ITIL.

How ITIL Processes Replicate ITSM Best Practices?

Simply, ITIL can be understood as a periodically upgraded set of ITSM practices. For such IT companies that wish to embrace the IT model in the form of a service, the framework of ITIL offers a set of best processes and practices that companies can seamlessly integrate to offer improved services to customers, meet objectives and make sure that the company’s actions are efficiently supporting the goals of the organization as a whole.

On the one hand, ITSM can be explained as an adept discipline that is associated with effective designing, deployment as well as management of IT services; on the other, ITIL is one such framework that professionals use to integrate best ITSM practices in the worth ethics and move toward transforming the organization into a more operative that delivers subpar value.

Defining the ITSM and ITIL Framework

As per ITIL 2011, the ITSM discipline has been divided into five different stages, each one of them matching to respective IT service lifecycle stages. Moreover, every stage has been covered in one of the books where they describe processes as well as sub-processes that create a set of best practices for effective handling.

Below mentioned are the five stages of the IT service lifecycle:

1. Service Strategy: The Service Strategy talks about the strategy development for an IT company to cater to customers, basically the business where it belongs. It starts by evaluating the needs and requirements of both the customers and the business. Thereafter, it comprehends the types of services the organization will provide and what capabilities it must integrate to fulfill the organizational objectives.

2. Service Design: Service Design is the second stage that includes the creation, designing, and modification of both the existing as well as new IT services. Herein, the organization designs new services and implements changes to the existing ones.

3. Service Transition: After designing the service, the next step is to build and deploy. This development of abilities and deployment takes place in the stage of transition. Also, the Service Transition book of ITIL also comprises processes to make sure that modifications to existing services get executed in a coordinated way so as to decrease the interruptions in business.

4. Service Operation: The Service Operation is an essential stage of the entire lifecycle as its objective is to make sure that the services offered by the organization are getting efficiently and effectively delivered. It includes all of the four functions linked with ITIL, such as

  • Technical management
  • Application management
  • IT operations management
  • Service desk

5. Continual Service Improvement (CSI): Being the last stage, the goal of Continual Service Improvement (CSI) is to make sure that the company is capturing data, knowledge, and information from its failures and successes. And then, this stage ensures that the organization is continually using the same to improve the efficiency of services and processes offered.

How to formalize the Processes of ITSM Service Management with ITIL?

The framework of ITIL provides a template for modern organizations to integrate ITSM efficiently and start delivering better value through effective lifecycle management for all of the IT services. The paradigm of ITSM came out of a need to align the objectives of it with the business’s needs. 

ITSM and the IT concept as a service resulted in the rise of service and help desks, which is a single point of contact between the business and the IT organization where customers can report issues and make requests. 

In the form of a professional discipline, ITSM grew as more organizations tried their hands on formalizing their own best practices. In the present era, companies might have certain service management processes that remain consistent with ITIL, or they may craft their own personal processes to suit the unique situations of the company.

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ITSM VS ITIL : Conculsion 

The one-sentence synopsis or finish of ITSM VS ITIL : 

  • ITSM is about how you deal with the administrations you convey to Customers and end-users. 
  • ITIL is one of the structures that show you the prescribed procedures for ITSM.

That was all about ITSM Vs. ITIL Frameworks. We hope you might have understood the difference between ITSM and ITIL very clearly. You can also avail our ITIL Certification Training to understand each concept in a better way. In case you have doubt, please feel free to drop your comments in the comment section below.

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NameRajesh Shetty
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Technical Content Writer