ITSM, ITIL and DevOps: What’s What?

Technical jargon easily explained for IT newbies

How do IT teams organize themselves in your company? With the help of ITSM and ITIL or with DevOps? Both or neither? In general, companies tend to consider themselves to be either a pure ITSM or DevOps company - although both approaches can be combined to work well together. But what exactly are the differences between ITSM, ITIL and DevOps? You’ll find the answer in this blog article!

ITSM, ITIL and DevOps: What is what? - banner

ITSM, ITIL, DevOps - is it all Greek to you? Or have you heard the terms before, but when you think about it, you can't quite put your finger on the differences? Then you've come to the right place! In this article, we'll shed some light on what's actually behind these IT abbreviations - and we'll explain in an understandable way what they mean for the work organization of IT teams.

IT Service Management (ITSM): Towards greater productivity

IT Service Management (ITSM) is the approach IT teams use to manage the end-to-end delivery of IT services to their customers. This includes all processes and activities that involve planning, compiling, providing, and supporting IT services.

According to ITSM - IT should be viewed and delivered as a service. This includes a wide range of workplace technologies from laptops and servers to business-critical software applications.

ITSM has several benefits: A structured approach to service management enables IT to focus more closely on business objectives, and using it has been shown to lead to efficiency and productivity gains. Furthermore, with the help of ITSM, services can be provided in a standardized manner - based on budgets, resources, and results, which can reduce costs and risks.

A team's ITSM approach can be structured to align with ITIL practices and be influenced by DevOps concepts (which we will get to in just a bit).

ITIL: Useful Practices

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the most widely used framework for ITSM. Essentially, ITIL provides practices to align IT services with business requirements. This approach can help organizations adapt to ongoing transformation and necessary scaling.

At the same time, ITIL should not be perceived as a rigid set of rules, but rather as a guidance that leaves room for interpretation (if you've seen the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" - kind of like interpreting "Parley!"). In this way, ITIL serves as a guide, not the one-and-all solution. The ITIL approach is intended to provide the necessary context to make decisions and manage IT teams as effectively and efficiently as possible.

DevOps: Mediator between development and operations

DevOps is made up of "development" and "operations" and is a method that allows you to bridge the gap between the two. The core principles are open communication, collaboration, and shared goals.

Atlassian explains DevOps like this: "unlike frameworks like ITIL, there is no 'official' best practices document for a DevOps team. But in general, you can say that DevOps is about increasing the business value of an organization by breaking down organizational silos, increasing transparency, and fostering open communication between developers and IT operations teams."

Which framework is best for your business?

ITSM and DevOps are usually seen as opposites - often companies classify themselves as either a pure ITSM or DevOps company. But this is a fallacy! ITSM or ITIL and DevOps are not mutually exclusive; in fact, the opposite is true: when you combine them, their strengths come into play even better. After all, while today's IT teams need to work smarter and faster, they still need processes and control.


Further Reading