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IT service management (ITSM)

IT service management (ITSM) is a set of policies and practices for implementing, delivering and managing IT services for end users in a way that meets the stated needs of end users and the stated goals of the business.

For this definition, end users can include employees, customers or business partners. IT services can include any hardware, software or computing resource the organization supplies for a user—everything from a company notebook, software asset or Web application to a mobile app, cloud storage solution or virtual server for development or other services.

ITSM is a complicated discipline—after all, its intended goal is to enable and maintain optimal deployment, operation and management of every single IT resource for every user in the extended enterprise. This article is written to provide a basic understanding of the topic. 

The goal of ITSM is to ensure that IT services perform in a way that meets the needs of the users and the business. It’s no surprise, then, that a rigorous ITSM approach often results in some significant business benefits:

  • ITSM makes it easier for IT teams to provide a fast, agile, trauma-free response to unexpected events, new opportunities and competitive threats.

  • By enabling better system performance, greater availability and fewer service interruptions, ITSM helps users do more work and the business do more business.

  • By systematically speeding incident resolution, reducing incidents and problems and even automatically preventing or resolving issues, ITSM helps the business get more productivity from IT infrastructure at less cost.

  • ITSM helps the organization set and meet realistic expectations for service, leading to greater transparency and improved user satisfaction.

  • By embedding compliance into IT service design, delivery and management, ITSM can improve compliance and reduce risk.


For IT departments, ITSM enables a continually more productive, effective and cost-effective service organization that’s aligned with business strategy—an IT department that increasingly becomes a critical part of the organization’s success (and less and less the source of the organization’s problems).

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