In modern IT service management, teams use frameworks that provide them with the right processes and tools to define, set up, deliver and continuously optimize their services. In this context, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, kurz ITILthe most popular and widespread approach, which has established itself as a quasi-standard in ITSM.
That is not by accident. ITIL offers teams both structure and flexibility and is constantly being adapted by the developers to the changing needs and framework conditions in IT-driven organizations – and which organization is today not IT driven?
However, there are a number of other frameworks, some competing, some complementary, that also aim to provide ITSM teams with systematic practices and processes. We want to present four of them here in a compact form and include the essential differences to ITIL.
FitSM – lean and focused on the core processes
FitSM sees itself as a comparatively lightweight, straightforward approach to IT service management that focuses on operations. While the extensive ITIL framework has the entire value chain in view, FitSM focuses on the actual core section of IT service management.
In particular, the framework defines those processes that are important and relevant when introducing ITSM. Further and connecting practices, for example those that include project management approaches or aim at establishing a comprehensive enterprise service management, are only marginally considered in FitSM and are summarized generously.
Accordingly, the number of practices described is smaller than in comparable frameworks such as ITIL. This in turn allows a relatively simple adaptation of basic service management practices, which is why many ITSM teams fall back on FitSM’s ideas and suggestions, especially in the early stages, before the service idea later, if necessary further scaled using ITIL.
COBIT – Processes for organizations with extensive compliance requirements
COBIT is a framework that – similar to ITIL in previous versions – is highly process-oriented. The acronym stands for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology. Developed by the organization ISACA, a global association of IT auditors, the approach has a clear auditing background.
The focus is on controlling IT from an organizational perspective: The company defines the IT goals based on the organizational goals. In the strongly process-oriented COBIT concept, the processes, their measurement and their control are meticulously formulated.
In this respect, COBIT tends to be a top-down approach, in which the focus is on ensuring and adhering to compliance guidelines: The organization specifies how IT must support company processes and goals. ITIL, on the other hand, tends to have an effect on the organization from within the ITSM teams themselves.
Business Process Framework – other companies and external end customers as additional levels
The Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM) was developed to describe and establish reference processes for telecommunications organizations. The background is that (cross-company) process chains, at the end of which there is the delivery of a service for end customers, naturally require the exchange of data, among other things.
So this is about the provision of services across multiple companies with an external customer as the end station. In this context, the Business Process Framework not only describes processes, but also data models for all detailed processes. This is intended to help organizations build a tool infrastructure that supports easy cross-exchange of data.
Considering these characteristics, the Business Process Framework can be seen as a complement or extension of ITSM frameworks such as ITIL, adding the layer of inter-organizational (data-driven) collaboration and the layer of the end customer.
CMMI – an architecture of organizational maturity
The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is developed to support the development, provision and management of (IT) systems and products at a procedural level. CMMI consists of a series of best practices for establishing, testing and improving organizational processes in product and system development. Specific capability levels are described for each practice that the teams can achieve.
Finally, five defined and verifiable organizational maturity levels are based on these, which should motivate the company to permanently adapt and improve its processes, because the maturity levels indicate in which areas the need for action and optimization is particularly urgent.
As mentioned, CMMI is aimed at the development and management of systems and software, but the approach is also gaining increasing attention as an ITSM framework – and here above all in the form of an integration of CMMI and ITIL. The structural content of ITIL is embedded in the architecture of CMMI.
The questions about the right ITSM framework
From which framework a company or an individual ITSM team can derive the greatest benefit and profit for itself and its customers depends on many open questions and of course the intention of the ITSM efforts. Does the team want to establish a comprehensive IT service management that incorporates DevOps and Agile practices and also provides all possibilities for an ESM scaling? Then ITIL is certainly the most powerful and at the same time most flexible framework available.
Or is a good, effective core implementation the goal first? Does the organization operate in a highly regulated environment and must meet numerous internal and/or external compliance requirements? Are the services primarily provided for external customers? What role does data exchange with other companies play? Should IT development and service management have a common architectural basis?
The answers that a specific company gives here ultimately lead to the most suitable solution. But whichever ITSM framework is used, it obviously doesn’t work without software support.
Atlassian-Tools für ITSM-Teams
Teams need powerful and feature-rich tools that can digitally map as many practices as possible that the common ITSM frameworks provide – from the ticket-based helpdesk with individual workflows to service level agreements and systematic service request management to extensive automation.
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