As IT functions become increasingly embedded into the day-to-day operations of businesses, more IT departments are choosing to adopt IT Service Management (ITSM) best practices, including the ITIL framework, to meet the rapidly changing needs of the businesses they serve. But what are the concrete benefits of ITSM? 

​​Companies are increasingly dependent on their internal IT teams to efficiently and productively deliver business-critical services and functions to help them meet bottom-line goals. So the benefits of ITSM need to be real and measurable. 

Reviewing the many benefits of ITSM 

Below are 20 benefits of ITSM that IT departments can enjoy by adopting IT service management processes, policies and procedures. This wide range of benefits is the main reason so many successful IT teams employ ITSM as their guiding light for IT operations. 

1. Improve efficiency 

“Efficiency” just means getting the most out of the resources you have available. IT service management has many components that help organizations maximize their resources, and one of those is IT asset management. It’s the set of processes used to optimize the lifecycle management of IT assets and seek out the most cost-effective strategies for asset procurement and disposition.  

For organizations working within the ITIL framework, processes for continual service improvement are a critical component of the life cycle of each service. The result? Ongoing efficiency gains as service functions are optimized over time.  

Related: Expand your ITSM: Key learnings for building connected enterprise workflows 

2. Reduce operational costs 

The changes that IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams face are shifting views about ways to purchase and manage solutions. As they increase in size and maturity, these IT departments are forced to hire even more I&O staff, or else risk becoming overburdened by tactical operational processes.  

Adoption of IT service management can help IT departments scale their operations more easily without the need for excessive hiring, thanks to automated features that reduce manual workload for IT operators. 

Related: Ivanti Neurons for ITSM 

3. Risk-free implementation of IT changes 

When changes are poorly planned, tested and communicated to the rest of the organization, there’s a significant risk that a newly implemented change could cause an appreciable business or service interruption.

ITIL's change management process lays out a system for ensuring that your IT department can implement new changes to the IT environment in ways that limit or remove the risk of such changes damaging your business.  

Formalized roles, processes and policies work together to create and support a change management process that communicates clearly with your internal customers, approves changes through the appropriate channel based on their potential impact, and identifies possible issues with changes in the design stage — well before they manifest in deployment. 

4. Improve accountability through standardization 

Another of the key benefits of ITSM? The creation of accountability through the standardization of services is a defining feature of IT service management, one that helps IT departments improve compliance with IT policies and procedures for delivering services.

One of the core objectives of ITSM is to standardize service delivery within the business by implementing functions like the IT service desk along with formal documented processes for delivering each type of IT service. 

IT service management software also enables IT managers to track the actions of operators and how incidents or service requests are addressed. These features create a high level of visibility into how the IT department delivers services. IT managers can review incident records to verify that services are delivered consistently across the business and in compliance with policies and procedures. 

Related: What Is Project Portfolio Management?  

5. Improve accountability within business functions 

“Business functions” are the activities carried out by an enterprise. These can be divided into core functions, the activities designed to yield income, and support functions, which serve to support and streamline the core functions. IT itself is a critical support function in most businesses, especially those where the IT department has adopted ITSM to more closely align its activities with overall business goals and operations. 

To improve accountability within these functions, IT service management includes implementing processes for monitoring activity on the organization's network and IT infrastructure, and for detecting breaches of company security policies.  

6. Improve effectiveness 

How do you measure the overall effectiveness of an IT department? If you're an IT manager, it's up to you to choose the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure the performance of your team. You'll also need to track those KPIs over time to determine whether your company is improving its effectiveness across those metrics. 

One of the benefits of ITSM is how organizations that adopt its structures and processes benefit from formalized systems that drive KPI improvements over time when properly executed. Adoption of a structured incident response can decrease your average response time and mean time to resolution, while a focus on crisis management will help reduce your mean time to recover (MTTR) when a service interruption occurs.  

ITSM offers a framework for increasing the effectiveness of any aspect of your IT service delivery through a process of continual service improvement. 

7. Enhance visibility into operations 

“Visibility” describes the extent to which managers, executives and staff in different areas of the business can see what’s happening in other areas of the business. A lack of visibility into IT operations is a common problem for organizations that haven’t yet adopted IT service management.  

In the ITSM paradigm, there’s a need to align IT and business strategy, a process that ensures that the business knows exactly what activities are being prioritized in IT operations at any time. As your IT needs mature, you can benefit from additional capabilities that will help you handle IT changes in a way that ensures quality and efficiency for your overall IT operations.  

8. Improve visibility into performance 

More complex IT operations mean more comprehensive maturity needs. This requires visibility and insights into IT assets and their relationships to further improve service delivery and value. 

IT service management introduces a set of formalized processes and rules that IT departments can follow to standardize and optimize their service delivery. In this way, ITSM advances process maturity within the IT department along the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) scale described below. As an IT department matures its processes, it gains increased visibility into performance: 

  • Level 1 (Initial). Unpredictable, poorly controlled processes. Performance can’t be measured due to inconsistency. 
  • Level 2 (Managed). A process may be characterized for some projects but is often reactive and lacking standardization. 
  • Level 3 (Defined). ITSM helps organizations clearly define their processes. 
  • Level 4 (Measured). Once a process has been standardized, ITSM software can be used to capture data from the process and measure its performance. The ability to capture this data creates true visibility into performance that helps organizations advance to stage five. 
  • Level 5 (Optimizing). Organizations leverage performance visibility for insights that drive performance improvement over time. 

9. Increase self-service productivity 

Organizations use ITSM best practices to drive improvements in self-service productivity. Self-service is a convenient alternative to the traditional help desk model that can help tech-savvy users resolve incidents or fulfill service requests without the help of IT operators, leading to reduced ticket resolution costs and increased customer satisfaction. 

Establishing a robust self-service catalog, along with a knowledge base that enables users to solve more problems on their own, are both critical components of IT service management that drive increases in self-service productivity.

By transforming the service experience for your users with the latest technology, such as AI-powered chatbots and service portals, you can provide the most engaging self-service possible to deliver world-class service management outcomes for IT and the enterprise.  

10. Better service and customer experience 

For a company’s IT department, its “customers” are the users within the business that depend on IT services to support their daily activities. More benefits of ITSM are shown in how two of its components help improve service delivery and customer experience: 

  • The service strategy process requires IT departments to align their activities with the needs of the business. This ultimately means that the IT team is working on services that the business wants, leading to a better customer experience.  
  • Another important aspect is a formalized ticketing and incident response system. The incident management process improves service by ensuring the IT department responds to every incident report or service request that’s submitted. 

By doing this, IT operations can benefit from advanced maturity solutions that deliver “shift-left” outcomes, and automation and AI that can proactively detect and remediate issues before they become user or organization-impacting events, truly transforming and delivering better employee experiences. 

11. Improve access and communication channels 

IT departments adopting ITSM can improve access to IT operators and support, as well as communication between the IT team and the business.

They can do this by establishing an IT service desk that acts as a single point of contact between the business and the IT team, supporting processes such as incident management, event management and request fulfillment. The IT service desk ensures that every user can access IT support by going through the appropriate channel. 

12. Reduce unnecessary workload 

Automation is a major focus of IT departments seeking to eliminate tedious manual labor and the human error inevitably caused by manual processes. To use automation effectively, however, IT departments need to start managing their IT services with ITSM software. 

This enables the transition from executing a process via human activity and executing it through automated activities. Automation services empower service owners and business managers to adapt, design and take control of workflows without any coding, improving service quality and consistency. The result is decreased workloads for IT operators, who now have more time available to spend on innovation and value-adding activities. 

13. Achieve better ROI on your ITSM solution investment 

Some organizations invest in ITSM software only to find that it does little — or nothing — to improve the performance of their IT department. They often abandon an ITSM tool before even measuring ROI, which may likely be negative anyway. 

The truth is that adopting and implementing ITSM goes beyond simply buying software. IT service management is about adopting processes that reflect best practices for managing key IT services and functions, then creating policies and procedures to ensure those processes get followed. Effective management, executive and staff buy-in and genuine process changes are all requirements for an effective ITSM implementation. 

If your organization has already invested in a corporate ITSM solution, you can enhance your ROI by focusing on making improvements among the people and processes that support your ITSM initiatives. 

14. Enable more effective planning 

IT service management helps organizations engage in more effective planning activities that deliver a variety of positive consequences, another of the benefits of ITSM. But without such a structured approach to managing their services, IT departments are more likely to make poor strategic decisions that lead to waste that could have been avoided.  

Best practices for ITSM, such as establishing a service strategy with input from customer stakeholders or implementing a review and approvals process for changes, will help ensure the IT department will have a well-thought-out plan in place before acting. 

15. Save the business time 

Another of the benefits of ITSM? Take a look at the ITIL framework and you'll find a number of ITSM processes geared toward increasing efficiency by helping the business save time. 

The best example of a time-saving ITIL process is knowledge management, whose entire goal is to reduce or eliminate the need for the business to rediscover information it’s already learned. With an effective knowledge management process, the IT department maintains a knowledge base that supports effective information sharing between every area of the business. 

The result is massive time savings as IT departments streamline information-sharing and spend less time re-discovering information or otherwise hunting down answers to known issues. 

16. Save the business money 

One of the most tangible benefits of ITSM is, of course, how IT service management saves money for a business in literally hundreds of different ways. From the knowledge management process that saves time by supporting information sharing (time is money, after all!) to information security processes that protect the company from the negative financial and legal consequences of a data breach, ITSM best practices are designed to drive cost savings and risk mitigation. 

17. Manage change more efficiently 

ITSM offers a framework for change management that ensures resources are allocated efficiently during the change management process. Minor changes that don’t involve release deployment can be quickly authorized if they’re well understood and low risk.

Normal changes can be approved directly by the change manager, but they may also consult with a Change Advisory Board (CAB) before approving a large, unfamiliar or emergency change. 

The ability to right-size the approval process based on the nature of the change is one way ITSM processes help IT departments manage change more efficiently. 

Related: ITSM & ITAM: Better Together 

18. Improve collaboration between different business functions 

If we define business functions as all activities carried out by the business, it's easy to see how implementing ITSM policies and processes can help the IT department collaborate with other functions more effectively. Under the ITSM framework, the IT department works with finance to optimize the deployment of IT investments. Facility managers may collaborate with IT managers to ensure compliance with information security protocols.  

ITSM also encourages users to report IT issues through the incident reporting process, helping the IT department collect more feedback and data on the performance of applications and services. 

19. Better transparency into IT processes and services 

An IT department without a service catalog is like a restaurant without a menu — it might have fantastic capabilities, but it won't be receiving many orders. Users need transparency into IT processes and services so they know what types of services they can request and how to get their requests serviced.  

IT service management supports this transparency through the establishment of service catalogs that contain a comprehensive list of services being offered to customers by the IT department. Such a catalog helps ensure internal customers take full advantage of the services IT can provide – one of the less obvious but still important benefits of ITSM. 

20. Higher return on other IT investments 

If you have the money, you can invest in the best servers, the ultimate network infrastructure and the most high-end computers that money can buy.

Regardless of how much you spend, you’ll very likely fail to actualize the value of those investments without adequate processes in place to support your IT infrastructure. You might make a substantial investment in a server, for instance, but without proper scheduled maintenance and management, its performance will degrade over time. 

So among the other notable benefits of ITSM is the fact that IT departments following it can establish a configuration management database (CMDB) to better track the presence and utilization of IT assets.

This database can ensure that IT investments are deployed productively and can help in maximizing uptime and availability of IT assets. And a formalized process for IT asset disposition helps guarantee that organizations get the most money back when they offload used IT infrastructure.