Determine proactive and cost-effective. Aligning IT with the business goals makes sense

Determine proactive and cost-effective. Aligning IT with the business goals makes sense

IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT (ITSM) The benefits of ITSM versus the traditional IT Support model

By Student




In a BMC Blog titled, “ITSM vs .ITIL: What’s the Difference?” Stuart Rance (2017) writes, “IT service

management (ITSM) is what you do to manage the services you deliver to your customers.”

Furthermore, ITSM is implementing, managing, and delivering IT services to meet the goals of an


Traditionally IT support focused on break/fix scenarios and didn’t look at the big picture. Businesses

were often hit with large expenses to support a reactive environment. Introducing service

management adds a continuous life cycle and framework from which IT operates. It is a more proactive

approach. There are many benefits of using IT service management in today’s business as opposed to

the traditional IT support model. For example, operational efficiency and cost savings are two areas

that bring benefit to the organization.

In previous approaches IT support has traditionally focused on and provided the following services to its

customers or end-users:

• break/fix • hardware repair • software install • help desk • account management (i.e. password reset, account activation)

In recent years the focus has shifted to a more service-based approach. In the past, IT organizations

were primarily concerned with how programs or codes are written or how a computer is assembled. For

example, traditionally focusing on a computer’s speed, memory capacity, and the size of its hard drive

to fix a problem could prove time consuming and costly. ITSM is a shift from that focus to the actual

service the system provides and how well it provides that service. ITSM operates off of a framework of

processes that provide service. There are two main types of frameworks and they are very similar. The

first is ITIL, formally an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. The second is ISO

20000, which is the international standard for IT service management. Both frameworks model a

continual service improvement and at the core are made up of several processes. To support the new

findings, and since these two frameworks are very similar, the focus will be more on the processes

themselves. The following are some of the processes that support the continual service improvement

of ITSM:

• incident and problem management • change management • service management • release and deployment management • availability management

In Uzado’s Blog (2017), the author states, “ITSM attempts to eliminate IT support risks by advocating

standardization and best practices.” By operating off the same processes, policies, and procedures, IT

organizations can solve problems and provide solutions to its customers more effectively and




Businesses are struggling to keep up with technology changes. It is imperative IT operations and efforts

align with the business strategy, requirements, and goals. Old IT support models that focus on

break/fix and hardware/software solutions are challenging, inefficient and costly. IT organizations are

adopting ITSM and switching to a more service-based approach to support the business. Adopting a

process framework to follow, like ITIL or ISO 20000, provides common structure and allows IT to align

with the business and their goals. ITSM processes like incident management, change management,

and service management are crucial to IT operating as a service and aligning itself with the strategic

goals of the business. ITSM allows IT to operate more efficiently and can significantly improve cost.

This white paper will discuss two different approaches to IT support. The first approach we will discuss

is with Jacob, an IT Manager at a large Landscaping company, who follows the old IT support model,

which proves to be challenging and costly. The second approach we will discuss is with Courtney, an IT

Manager at a small software company, who uses ITSM as her framework for IT support. ITSM brings a

new approach that organizationally makes sense both operationally and financially.


Have you heard the term help desk? The help desk is usually the first line of support in a traditional IT

support model. According to Stephan Mann (2016), “The IT help desk was born in the late 80’s to fix IT

issues, focused on the IT rather than the end user,

usually with no targets for fixes, and immediate

fixes were infrequent.” The following are examples

and brief definitions of techniques of the old IT

support model that Jacob and his team use:

Break/Fix: In this scenario, one of Jacob’s IT

support technicians, particularly help desk, uses

troubleshooting to provide repair or resolution to a

computer problem whether it be hardware or

software related. This often takes place over the

phone or via an email or chat exchange. Often the repair is tactical, reactive and not strategic. This

scenario utilizes at least two resources. The two resources in this scenario are the end-user and Jacob’s

help desk representative.

Hardware repair: In this scenario, one of Jacob’s IT support technicians will replace hardware to fix a

problem. For example, an application running on a laptop may consume more memory than what the

laptop has to give. In this case, the technician will upgrade the memory to support the application

requirements. This scenario typically utilizes at least three resources. Two of the resources are from


Jacob’s team, the help desk associate and the level 2 technician, while the third resources is the end-

user. There is typically a cost associated with the hardware that needs to be upgraded.

Software install: In this scenario, Jacob’s IT support technician will install software or upgrade

software to fix a problem or resolve a software type of request from an end-user. For example, an end-

user may have the Microsoft Office Suite on his or her computer. However, in order to do project plans,

the user will need Microsoft Project installed. The end-user typically makes a request to Jacob’s help

desk for the software. There may be a license purchase involved. Once the help desk or support

technician determines he or she can complete the request, the software is installed on the workstation

for the end-user. This scenario is similar to the hardware upgrade scenario and typically utilizes three

resources (end-user, help desk associate, level 2 technician).

Account Management: In this scenario, an end-user makes a request to Jacob’s help desk to reset his

or her password or enable an expired password. This is very time consuming for the representative at

the help desk as he or she could get several of these requests a day due to the large size of the

Landscaping organization that they support.

It is important to note that all of the above scenarios are still used in ITSM; however, the techniques are

more strategic, proactive, and part of a process management framework that provides a service that is

directly tied to the business strategy.

Some of the old ways of doing IT support can be costly, time consuming, and resource heavy. For

example, each person from Jacob’s IT support team was likely to have his or her own way of resolving

an issue. Issues may have been perceived as being resolved at surface level without deeper problems

having been addressed such as the process and/or long term solution.

However, Courtney and her IT team use ITSM as an attempt to eliminate those risks by advocating

standardization and best practices. It is important that while businesses become more agile and

technology continues to advance, so does the IT department. ITSM offers strict guidelines to follow to

become more agile, proactive and cost-effective. Aligning IT with the business goals makes sense, and

IT managers like Jacob should re-evaluate his or her approach to supporting the business.



Courtney and her IT team use ITSM because it is a process-based practice designed to align the delivery

of IT services with the needs of the business. Figure 1 shows the ITIL framework Courtney’s team uses

and the processes that make up its continual process improvement. While all of the process areas

won’t be covered, it is important to point out a few as part of the new findings section to support ITSM

as the more valuable approach for IT support.

Incident and problem management provide a more strategic approach when it comes to managing

incidents and problems at Courtney’s service

desk. In ITILv3, an incident is described as, “An

unplanned interruption to an IT service or a

reduction in the quality of an IT service.” Let’s

take the scenario in our previous findings of

Jacob’s technician fixing a computer by upgrading

the hardware. In this example, Jacob’s IT support

person is taking a reactive approach by waiting

for the end-user to report a problem. The end-

user must contact Jacob’s help desk to report the

issue which takes time for that user as well as the

help desk associate to log the ticket and possibly

troubleshoot the problem prior to escalating it to

a level 2 technician that will do the actual

hardware upgrade. This is a disruption in the

organization. It is a disruption to the end-user

who is attempting to meet a goal for the

business. At least two of Jacob’s resources are involved in

this scenario and there is typically a cost associated with

buying hardware to fix the computer.

Many of IT managers may not realize that most of this can be avoided by using an ITSM framework.

For example, one of the processes in the ITSM solution that Courtney’s team uses is service

management. Included in this process area, are the service desk, the service catalog, and self-service.

Aligning IT with the business and its goals is a strategic approach for Courtney and her team. She must

understand the goals of the business to provide them the right services. In other words, let’s say the

end-user is a developer. Courtney’s team uses a proactive approach by identifying what specs the

developer requires on his or her laptop. Courtney’s service desk can offer the laptop in a service catalog

through an online self-service portal. When the developer is hired, he or she is provided with a laptop

that has the specs required to run the applications the developer needs. This scenario requires no

Figure 1.


interaction from Courtney’s service desk. This is a good example of Courtney’s team operating more

efficiently and saving money. By being proactive, fewer of her resources will be required, as no

hardware upgrade will be needed. Courtney’s IT department can also order several developer laptops

in preparation for new hires. The bulk, up-front purchase with the required hardware specs will save on

cost. This is a more proactive, efficient and cost savings approach compared to Jacob’s scenario of not

knowing his customer and purchasing hardware on an as needed basis. It should be clear how the old

model disrupts the flow of both the end-user and the IT resources. By Courtney’s team utilizing a

service management and incident management process, they save time and prevent future

reoccurrence. This model can work up the entire stack (i.e., server, storage, network, etc.).

Courtney’s IT team is able to manage change effectively through a change management process and it

has a significant impact on the organization. Let’s discuss the example of software installs. Installing

software on a workstation or server is a change in the baseline. It can have a positive or negative

impact depending on how the software reacts on the workstation or server. In Jacob’s approach,

software installs or software requests were completed and reacted to based on the end-user requests

to his help desk and/or the needs of the business. As in the previous example of the hardware upgrade,

this uses more resources than needed and can become more costly. Courtney’s ITSM approach

includes a software catalog that is published online where her end-users can pick from and have

downloaded on her or her computers automatically. The software catalog is usually taken from a white

list of software that the firm has already vetted and approved for installation. Testing of the software

to the baseline is a part of Courtney’s team’s process to alleviate any potential disruption of service.

Courtney purchases her licenses in bulk and up front which saves money in the long run compared to

Jacob, who is buying a license each time an end-user makes a software request. By using an ITSM

approach and aligning IT with the business goals, Courtney’s IT organization will already have a good

understanding of their customer or end-user base and therefore can have the software already

purchased and installed. Additional software is made available to the user through the online service

catalog. Courtney saves time and money as her service desk and tier 2 technical support are not even

involved in this scenario. When change is managed correctly, it minimizes the amount of downtime

and the issues that end-users experience, which means more productivity for the business and less

disruptions in service.

Release and deployment management works alongside of change management. According to UCISA

ITIL (2010), “[the goal of Release and deployment management] aims to build, test and deliver services

to the customers specified by service design.” It includes planning, designing, building and deploying

new software and hardware components. Maintenance activities like Windows updates and patches

are included in these processes. Courtney and her team believe the Release and deployment process is

important to maintaining the integrity of their environment. By having a release and deployment

process defined, Courtney’s entire IT organization follows the same process when releasing new

software, hardware or doing maintenance in a stable environment. Steps in the process like testing,

rollout plans and documentation help Courtney and her team prevent any disruptions to service. For

example, in Jacob’s organization, when a new software release was installed on several workstations in

the company Jacob’s team did not follow a release and deployment process. Therefore, proper testing

and phased rollout plans were not used. This could result in the workstations having problems with the


new software. This example could produce several calls to Jacob’s help desk and in some cases tier 2

technicians may need to be deployed to fix the software related problems.

Jacob’s help desk handles account management in a reactive approach waiting for customers and end-

users to call the help desk and report his or her password had expired and he or she needs it reset. New

findings show that Courtney’s team, by providing a self-service portal for end-users to do their own

password resets, saves a substantial amount of money and resources. It can also cut down on 10% to

30% of calls to the service desk depending on the size of the business and/or customer base.

It is important to note that all of the process areas and services can and should be measured with

targets and service level agreements. Reporting is a huge part in the process of IT providing services to

the business. IT organizations need to be able to measure themselves against the services they provide

so they can continually improve. Providing the reports to the business help with transparency and

supporting the alignment of IT and the business and build a trust relationship between the two.

Overall ITSM is a framework of processes that provide value to the IT organization which in turn

provides value to the business. In an ITSM survey, from CIO Water Cooler (2017), one of the

respondents said, “[ITSM] helps us to manage risk to the business and minimize downtime to users and

the business.” Processes like incident, change and service management minimize risk and disruptions in



Traditional IT support and help desk like Jacob’s team example, can

improve in areas of operational efficiency and cost savings by

utilizing ITSM. ITSM is able to offer Courtney’s team and all IT

support teams, a stable and concrete framework to build off of, and

a maturity level that can save time and money. In an article from

Computer Weekly (2008), Ashford and Warwick tell us an Indian car

maker, Tata Motors, says they were able to reduce IT service

support calls by implementing an ITSM solution. Probir Mitra, CIO

at Tata Motors, said, “Since implementing [ITSM], supplier calls

have reduced by 80%, desktop calls are down 40%, and server

support calls have dropped 8%.” Although there are many parts of

information technology support, it is still viewed as strictly

hardware and software based. ITSM has the ability to change this view and strengthen the trust

between the business and its IT support. In a 2017 survey conducted by CIO Water Cooler, “89% of

respondents see ITSM as a value add to their business – mostly in support of customer experience (35%)

and service quality (48%).” ITSM helps make IT a key player in business operations by assessing

capacities, capabilities and planning more effectively. One of the best things about ITSM is that it saves

89% of the CIO’s

who responded, see

ITSM as a value add

to their business



the business time and money. Since ITSM is aimed at standardization and efficiency, it intends to

minimize downtime and disruption, as well as, the time IT spends on resolving issues. Jeff Rumburg

(2017), co-founder and managing partner of MetricNet, did a presentation at the annual Fusion

conference last year in Orlando, Florida. The title of the presentation is, “The ROI of ITSM-Know Your

Financial Impact!” During the presentation, Rumburg expressed the importance of ROI and how it is

the ultimate measure of success for any business. He gave several examples of ITSM increasing ROI.

The state of Illinois saved over $130 million annually. Telkomsel reduced operational IT costs by 50-

60% (Computerworld UK). JPMorgan Chase eliminated 500,000 service desk calls. Visa saw a

reduction in the mean-time to resolve incidents by as much as 75% (Smart Enterprise Magazine). These

are just some of the many examples how ITSM has improved operational efficiency and cost in

businesses around the world. Is it time for your IT operations department to adopt ITSM? There is no

better time than the present.



Ashford, Warwick. (1/29/2008). Tata cuts IT support calls with ITSM. Computer Weekly, p4-4.

CIO WaterCooler (2017). IT Service Management Survey 2017. Retrieved from

ITILv3. Definition of Incident. Retrieved from

Millier, David (February 22, 2017). Uzado’s Blog. 5 Benefits of IT Service Management. Retrieved from

McCafferty, Dennis (5/5/2017). CIO Insight. How ITSM Can Fast-Forward the Tech Transformation. p1-1

Mann, Stephen (2016). ATLASSIAN IT Unplugged. Help desk vs. service desk vs. ITSM: What’s the

difference? Retrieved from

Rance, Stuart (2017). BMC Blogs. ITSM vs. ITIL: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from

Rumburg, Jeff. Fusion 2017. The ROI of ITSM – Know Your Financial Impact

UCISA (2010). ITIL – A guide to release and deployment management. Retrieved from

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