This content is part of the Essential Guide: ITIL and ITSM best practices for process improvement

What are the benefits of ITSM for fast-moving businesses?

IT service management helps enable digitization, but CIOs will have to invest resources to develop an effective ITSM program. Here are six benefits of ITSM that help make the case.

Three words come to mind when talking about the value of an IT service management program: better, faster and cheaper. Customers are looking for improved IT services. They need to see the business value from these services ASAP. In addition, they want to pay less for all these benefits of ITSM.

In order for better, faster cheaper to happen, IT service providers, in turn, must find ways to reduce their costs of delivering IT services by upgrading technology, re-engineering processes, training staff and doing whatever else is needed to develop an ITSM program to meet today's business demands. Here's how to make the case:

Six benefits of ITSM

First off, when laying out the benefits of ITSM it is important to understand that IT service delivery is more than just ITIL. Today, ITSM includes other practices such as Lean, Agile, DevOps, organizational change and governance. ITSM addresses people, processes, technology and suppliers, as these all are part of the end-to-end value stream.

In this context, the key benefits of ITSM for the IT organization and the business include the following:

  1. Enables digital transformation: ITSM as an enabler of digital transformation is less about the technologies needed to do this and much more about making the necessary changes in our services, processes, competencies, activities and ways of thinking that allow IT and the business to take advantage of digital technologies.
  1. Continuously improves services and processes to align with changing business requirements: Services are the mechanism of how IT provides value to the business. If processes aren't working well, they will have a negative impact on the delivery of IT services and ultimately on the business being able to achieve the results and outcomes it wants to achieve.
  1. Delivers value faster to the business: In today's competitive environment, businesses need to find ways to get to market quicker. They need value delivered much faster than a typical Waterfall project method delivers it. In response, IT organizations are moving more and more to Agile and DevOps. This doesn't mean Waterfall isn't needed, as there are circumstances where Waterfall may be the right choice, but not when speed is of the essence.
  1. Improves project success by using an iterative approach: In addition to speed, Agile and DevOps have proved to deliver higher quality results on a more consistent basis. This is due to a project scope measured in one- to four-week sprints, and a limited set of requirements in order to meet that sprint objective. The approach requires a clear definition of "done" and documentation of completion. At the end of each sprint, there is also a sprint review with the customer, providing immediate feedback and a roadmap for improvements.
  1. Increases the success rate of IT and business initiatives by managing organization change activities: This is the people component of ITSM. You can have the best processes and technologies, but if you don't have people following the process and using the technologies correctly then you still have issues. It requires a large effort to ensure management and staff can see the need to change and are willing to make the change. There are many activities that help manage organizational change, but two are critical: timely and effective two-way communication and ensuring management and staff have the adequate knowledge and skills to successfully meet their new responsibilities.
  1. Provides the ability to scale up and down by using cloud solutions: Businesses need to scale operations quickly in order to meet rapidly changing business requirements and take advantage of market opportunities. Working in a private or public cloud allows that to happen. In many cases what used to take weeks to do can now be done in minutes.

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