Too often, these two concepts don’t mesh together, but they should. Learn the basics and why both are valuable for your organization.

by April Miller
April 6, 2022

There's no denying that IT management can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive for organizations. The business landscape has changed in several ways, and it's a crucial time for IT firms to review their internal operations and help clients reach their goals.

Organizations that adopt new business technologies must also diligently manage them and their underlying IT infrastructure. Many companies will use various practices to deliver IT services, which can help them achieve operational efficiencies, support scale-up, and offer insights into company performance.

These essential practices are IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM). Major problems in IT services can be identified and rectified by understanding these two concepts, their differences and why they are linked.

Here’s more information about ITSM and ITOM, their similarities and differences, and why companies should consider using a combined approach for improved business continuity.

The Basics of ITSM and ITOM

ITSM and ITOM are frequently discussed topics among IT professionals and the business community. They are intertwined and critical aspects that IT organizations must consider.

ITSM

ITSM is a term used to describe all the technological elements and activities responsible for executing IT services. Some examples include provisioning IT infrastructure, capacity and availability management, cost-control operations, and performance and security management.

ITOM

ITOM refers to how a company approaches, manages, and to end users. It can include designing, producing, creating or supporting what the organization provides.

Differences Between ITSM and ITOM

The key differences between ITSM and ITOM boil down to a few points listed below:

  • ITSM concentrates on how IT teams deliver their services with a user-centric approach.
  • ITOM focuses on performance monitoring, event management and IT teams' operation processes.
  • ITOM is also more focused on the tools, techniques and environments for the services ITSM provides.
  • In simple terms, ITSM is a comprehensive approach used to deliver vital IT services, whereas ITOM handles how the company operates them. They are very closely related, but cannot be used interchangeably because they involve different IT activities within organizations.

These concepts are different, but their functions overlap and work together to increase IT team productivity and enhance the customer experience (CX). These two factors, productivity and CX, play a critical role in the business world.

Consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the business landscape. About 61% of CEOs say their companies will be more digital in the future, and they'll need to rely on IT services to help their transformations. IT services will likely be in high demand based on how companies adopt new technologies, speed up their internal processes, and consider the impact of remote work.

The Value of Connecting ITSM and ITOM

Why should IT teams care about bridging the gap between ITSM and ITOM? For starters, many companies, regardless of industry, are aware of the negative impact of using business processes in silos. A lack of communication or collaboration can lead to fragmented and discordant operations.

On the other hand, connecting ITSM and ITOM can help businesses:

  • Achieve higher productivity
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve employee experience
  • Close regulatory and policy gaps

ITSM and ITOM should be unified and synchronized, as a combined approach can prove greatly beneficial. How can businesses close the gap between ITSM and ITOM? Consider two methods listed below.

Use a Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

Essentially, a CMDB can act as a single source of truth for IT infrastructure. It precisely and reliably aids in an organization's ITSM and ITOM practices. A CMDB is an invaluable tool IT professionals use that stores all hardware and software assets in a centralized location. This allows for efficient oversight and simplifies the management of configuration items (CI).

Use an IT Asset Management (ITAM) Tool

An efficient IT asset management tool can be a game-changer for those looking to close the gaps between ITSM and ITOM. Some popular ITAM tools include:

  • ManageEngine AssetExplorer
  • GoCodes
  • Asset Panda
  • MMSoft Pulseway

ITAM serves as the backbone of service management processes. It allows companies to keep an updated record of IT assets, mark them for disposal, and monitor deployment, usage, and upgrades.

The two tools listed above can allow IT professionals to use ITSM and ITOM cohesively, which can present business benefits, too. These include:

  • Rapid digital transformation
  • IT visibility
  • Resiliency
  • Multi-layered security measures
  • Lower associated costs
  • Breaking down IT silos by combining ITSM and ITOM allows businesses to reach better outcomes for the end-user.

Challenges in Combining ITSM and ITOM

However, organizations may face some challenges when combining the two concepts.

Some organizations are resistant to change. IT professionals can outline the benefits of using a combined approach to help executives buy into an ITAM or CMDB tool. By explaining the value of these tools, IT teams should be able to convince their superiors to make the initial investment for long-term results.

Another potential obstacle in achieving this approach is the presence of legacy IT solutions. Essentially, older systems consist of disparate data sources. The bottom line is that using outdated IT systems prevents organizations from aligning with new client expectations and meeting business needs.

Additionally, outdated systems can open up organizations to higher cybersecurity risks, something no executive wants to be negatively impacted by. Legacy networks are a drain on valuable resources, so using the tools listed above can prompt companies to decommission them and use funds more effectively.

ITSM and ITOM: Leverage a Combined Approach

Bringing ITSM and ITOM together is essential for IT teams and firms. Businesses will benefit from greater insight, improved outcomes, and a better client experience. Companies may need time to find the right approach to bridging the gap, but the benefits are too great to ignore in a modern business environment.

April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine who enjoys discussing various types of IT and business technology. You can find her work on publications such as IT Chronicles and the Society of Women Engineers.

Tag(s): supportworld, ITSM, IT-business alignment

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