Two of the topics most frequently discussed among IT folks are IT service management, or ITSM, and IT operations management, or ITOM. Between the two, ITOM is perceived by many as the “new(er) kid on the block.” However, this is a pretty meaningless distinction. ITSM and ITOM are inextricably intertwined, similar, different, and equally critical to success with business IT.

ITSM and ITOM: What Are They, Exactly?

TechTarget’s Whatis.com resource is a great starting point for understanding the similarities and differences that unite and separate ITSM and ITOM. According to that worthy resource, ITSM “is a general term that describes a strategic approach to design, deliver, manage and improve the way businesses use information technology (IT). ITSM includes all the discrete activities and processes that support a service throughout its lifecycle, from service management to change management, problem and incident management, asset management, and knowledge management.”

In comparison, Whatis.com defines ITOM as “the administrative area involving technology infrastructure components and the requirements of individual applications, services, storage, networking and connectivity elements within an organization.” “IT operations include all the processes and services administered by an organization’s information technology (IT) department. As such, IT operations include administrative processes and support for hardware and software, for both internal and external clients. Effective IT operations management ensures the availability, efficiency and performance of the organization’s processes and services.”

ITSM and ITOM: Similarities, Differences, and Interdependencies

These definitions make a few things very clear. One is that ITSM is focused on how services are delivered by IT teams, while ITOM focuses more on the processes IT teams use to manage themselves and their internal activities. ITSM is more outward-facing and visible to those outside of IT.

Another thing the two definitions make clear is that ITSM and ITOM are inextricably intertwined. An organization could have one without the other, but is more likely faced with managing and executing both sets of tasks every day. This means that as is true with almost all IT-related tasks and functions, silos and separate bureaucracies are not conducive to maximum efficiency or business value. ITSM and ITOM are different sets of tasks, but they need to be managed in a coordinated, integrated, and collaborative way.

Given this, it’s not surprising that success with both ITSM and ITOM depends upon some common elements and efforts. For example, it is all but impossible to get ITSM or ITOM right without effective IT asset management (ITAM). And effective ITAM depends upon comprehensive, accurate, and timely discovery of your IT assets. This must include mapping of the relationships that connect them to each other, the services your IT team delivers, and those who use them.

Another element of success with both ITSM and ITOM (and with ITAM) is a configuration management database (CMDB). A comprehensive CMDB provides a “single version of the truth” about your IT estate, and can accurately and consistently inform ITSM, ITOM, and ITAM efforts at your business.

Upcoming posts will dive into these considerations in greater detail. In the meantime, you and your team should make sure that your ITSM and ITOM efforts, however mature they are, are closely aligned, and well supported by your underlying IT management infrastructure and processes. Getting and keeping these efforts aligned will provide a firm, flexible foundation for future efforts to get more business value out of your organization’s IT investments.

Virima: Your Partner for Comprehensive IT Management

Whether your needs focus on ITAM, ITSM, ITOM, or all three, Virima can help. Virima solutions can automatically discover and map those critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users. Virima solutions are easy to use and configure, and designed to work well with each other. They also produce useful, actionable reports about your IT environment, reports that can help you identify and resolve challenges before they become disruptive problems.

These features can help your IT management team deliver more and better services faster and more securely, manage IT assets more effectively, and maximize the business value, reliability, and security of your IT estate. Learn more about Virima’s solutions online, or contact Virima today.

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Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike oversees Virima’s ITSM product sales, marketing and support organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges for nearly 25 years. He has been with Virima in Atlanta, GA for 8 years.