ITSM vs ITIL: What is ITSM? Difference between ITSM and ITIL

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ITSM vs ITIL: The Concept 

Everybody talks about IT Service Management (ITSM) and Information Technology Infrastructure Libraries (ITIL), but they aren’t always clear on what these concepts mean. This is even though most IT organizations use some sort of IT Service Management (ITSM) strategies and ITIL tools every single day, whether they actually realize it or not. People generally use the ITIL and ITSM term interchangeably without realizing the difference between ITSM vs ITIL.

To help clarify what ITSM actually is?, and what's the difference between ITIL and ITSM, here’s a simple tutorial that explains what each term means and how they help enable IT service delivery.

ITSM vs ITIL Difference between ITSM and ITIL

What is ITIL?

ITIL is the name of the world’s most widely accepted and recognized framework for ITSM. ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS, which also owns a range of other best practice solutions and the authority of their corresponding publications and exams. To know more we have a dedicated tutorial on ITIL [Here: What is ITIL?].

What is ITSM? 

ITSM is simply the acronym of IT Service Management. It just means how you manage the information systems that deliver values to your customers. Even if you are unaware of the term ITSM, if you’re running IT systems, then you're doing some sort of ITSM.

IT Service Management (ITSM) could include activities like planning and managing changes, fixing things when they go wrong or managing the IT department annual budget.

The official ITIL® definition of IT Service Management is found within the Service Design volume, describing the ITSM as:

A set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.

The term IT Service Management is used in a lot of ways by different management frameworks. But some standard elements for most definitions of ITSM include:

  • Description of the processes needed to deliver and support IT Services for customers.
  • The primary aim is to deliver and support the technology or products needed by the business to meet key organizational goals.
  • Defining the roles and responsibilities of the people involved in managing services, including IT staff, customers, and other stakeholders.
  • The management of 3rd party suppliers (partners) involved in the delivery and support of the technology, products, and services.

Benefits of ITSM (IT Service Management) 

Although the benefits of implementing IT Service Management practices vary depending on the organization’s needs, a few distinctive benefits of implementing ITSM include:

  • Improving the quality of service.
  • Maintaining a cost justifiable service quality.
  • Regularize services to meet business, customer and user demands.
  • Implementing the concept of integrated centralized processes.
  • Making everyone aware of their roles and responsibilities within the IT Organization.
  • Learning from previous experience and improving efficiency.
  • Demonstrate performance benchmarks and indicators.
  • Reduce the cost of delivering IT services by lowering the wasted effort and concentrating on getting things right the first time.

The Relation between ITSM and ITIL 

The most exciting part of ITSM vs ITIL now begins! 

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices for running an IT department. It emphasizes on the accountability, the repeatability of actions, the integration of IT across the organization, and workflow management.

That likely sound very familiar, because that’s fundamentally the description of IT service management (ITSM). IT service management adopts many of the same thoughts and core beliefs that define ITIL. As a matter of fact, IT Service Management could be considered as a product of the ITIL framework, since ITIL was one of the first.

Difference between ITIL and ITSM

Now the ITIL vs ITSM - Head to Head:

ITIL is one of several frameworks that help you to implement ITSM. ITIL framework has certain recommendations for establishing “best practices” in your IT department.

Gradually some other frameworks for IT Service management have also been developed; among them, Six Sigma, Microsoft’s Operations Framework, COBIT, DevOps, and the ISO 20000 are also popular.

While ITIL is for sure the oldest and hence the most frequently practiced framework for implementing IT Service Management, it is by no means the only framework that an organization could adopt.

ITIL vs ITSM: The Conclusion

The one-sentence summary or conclusion of ITIL vs ITSM:

ITSM is all about how you manage the services you deliver to customers and end users.

ITIL is one of the frameworks that teach you the best practices for ITSM.


We hope that you have enjoyed the above article about ITSM vs ITIL and understood the basic difference between ITSM and ITIL. Be with us to explore free training on Leading Technologies and Certifications.

Leave us some comments if you have any question about ITIL vs ITSM or you need any further clarification on the difference between ITSM and ITIL, we would be definitely helping you out.

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