The world of technology, along with the industries and services supporting it such as IT services, managed services, and professional services, is expansive -- and it's only set to grow further. The vast array of services available can help your team meet its needs through a wide spectrum of technical support.

In this article, we will explore the differences and insights regarding ITSM vs ITIL and the distinction between ITSM and ITIL.

What is ITSM?

The definition of ITSM (IT Service Management), refers to the set of processes and activities that are directed towards managing and delivering high-quality IT services to meet the needs of an organization. It involves the use of policies, processes, and procedures to design, create, deliver, and support IT services. ITSM aims to align IT services with the needs of the business and improve the overall efficiency of IT operations.

What is ITIL?

The definition of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a widely adopted set of best practices for IT service management (ITSM) and IT asset management (ITAM). The current ITIL version is ITIL 4. ITIL provides a framework for businesses to identify, plan, deliver, and support IT services to the business. ITIL outlines processes, tasks, and checklists that are not organization-specific, but can be applied by an organization for establishing integration with the organization's strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency. The framework is designed to improve efficiency, cut costs, and provide clear and effective management of IT services. ITIL is constantly updated and revised to align with industry best practices.

Is ITIL a form of ITSM?

In fact, according to Atlassian's page dedicated to ITSM, ITIL, and DevOps, ITIL is the number one accepted framework for ITSM and is widely recognized globally. Organizations can better adapt to the constant changes and scale of their technology with the support of ITIL. The current version of ITIL, ITIL 4, represents a paradigm shift that encourages teams to think and work holistically, bringing both business and customer value. This update emphasizes simplicity, feedback, and collaboration as core principles.

What are the top ITSM Activities?

IT Service Management (ITSM) involves a range of activities aimed at delivering and managing IT services to meet the needs of an organization. These activities can include:

  1. Service Strategy: Developing strategies for delivering IT services that align with the organization's needs and goals.

  2. Service Design: Designing new IT services, as well as making changes and improvements to existing services.

  3. Service Transition: Managing the process of moving new or changed services into the production environment.

  4. Service Operation: Day-to-day management of IT services to ensure they meet the agreed-upon service levels.

  5. Continual Service Improvement: Identifying and implementing improvements to IT services and the IT service management processes.

  6. Incident Management: Responding to and resolving incidents to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible.

  7. Problem Management: Identifying and addressing the root cause of incidents to prevent future recurrences.

  8. Change Management: Managing changes to IT services in a controlled manner to minimize disruption to the business.

  9. Service Desk: Providing a single point of contact for users to report issues, make requests, and receive support.

  10. IT Asset Management: Managing the lifecycle of IT assets to optimize their use and control related costs.

These activities are often governed by frameworks and best practices such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies).

What are the top ITIL best practices?

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a set of 34 best practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business.

Key ITIL Best Practices:

  1. Service Strategy: This involves understanding the organization's objectives and customer needs, and then defining the services to meet those needs. It includes financial management, demand management, and strategy management for IT services.

  2. Service Design: This phase focuses on the design of new services or changes to existing services. It includes aspects such as service level management, capacity management, availability management, IT service continuity management, and information security management.

  3. Service Transition: This phase deals with the transition of services into the live environment. Change management, release and deployment management, and knowledge management are key practices in this phase.

  4. Service Operation: This involves the day-to-day management of IT services. Incident management, problem management, event management, request fulfillment, and access management are important practices in this phase.

  5. Continual Service Improvement (CSI): CSI is an ongoing practice that aims to continually align IT services with the changing needs of the business. It involves monitoring, measuring, and improving the IT services and IT processes.

  6. Service Desk Best Practices: Implementing an efficient service desk with good incident management, problem management, and request fulfillment processes is crucial for providing excellent customer support.

  7. IT Asset Management: Proper management of IT assets is essential for cost control, risk management, and compliance with regulatory requirements. This includes maintaining an accurate inventory of IT assets and managing their lifecycle.

  8. Change Management: Having a robust change management process in place helps to ensure that changes to IT services are implemented in a controlled manner, minimizing the impact on the business.

  9. Knowledge Management: Effective knowledge management practices enable the organization to capture, store, and share knowledge and information within the IT organization, leading to improved efficiency and effectiveness.

  10. Supplier Management: Managing relationships with external suppliers effectively is important for ensuring that the organization receives the best possible value from its suppliers.

These are some of the top ITIL best practices that organizations should consider implementing to improve their IT service management capabilities.

Can you Implement ITSM without ITIL?

Implementing ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) without ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is indeed possible. While ITIL provides a comprehensive framework for ITSM, there are alternative methodologies and frameworks that can be used to implement ITSM effectively.

Challenges of Implementing ITSM without ITIL

  • Lack of a standardized framework may lead to inconsistency in ITSM practices across the organization.

  • Difficulty in benchmarking against industry best practices without the guidance of a widely recognized framework like ITIL.


Despite the specific fulfillment each segment of IT service provides, both ITIL and ITSM are designed to cater to a wide range of business needs across various organizations. ITIL 4 introduces 34 ITSM practices aimed at aligning with the demands of modern organizations.

There are several core ITSM processes, considered best practices in service management, that your team should be aware of regardless of its current framework. Many modern IT service teams ensure consistent service by applying organizational resources and following procedures such as Knowledge Management, IT Asset, and Incident Management, to name a few.

At E7, we offer ITSM and Service Management Engagements using Atlassian Jira Service Management. These dedicated solutions are designed to empower organizations to improve service delivery, enhance efficiency, and ensure a high level of responsiveness to internal and external demands. By aligning service management practices with strategic goals, we help drive performance improvements, whether in the specific realm of IT or across various departments organization-wide. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you level up your current service management.