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ITOM vs ITSM: Similarities and Differences

Today, ITSM is the other area of IT management that is most often associated with ITOM. This is the result of the evolution of IT management, among businesses that both use and sell IT solutions. As IT environments and management solutions became more complex and sophisticated, business IT teams began to implement ITSM solutions. Over time, those solutions gained features that enabled basic, then more comprehensive management of IT operations.

ITSM and ITOM are inextricably intertwined and have important differences as well.

  • ITSM is focused on the development, delivery, and management of IT services.

  • ITOM is more about the management of the processes that enable and govern those services. Put another way, one can think of the “OM” in “ITOM” as short for “outcomes and metrics.” Effective ITOM seeks to optimize operational processes to achieve outcomes and meet or exceed metrics deemed important to the business.

Let’s take a look at an example. Imagine your favorite restaurant:

  • The waiter, the kitchen, the menu card, and the food you order constitute a service—dining. All these individual elements are responsible for providing an exceptional experience to your senses. This is service management.

  • In order to provide great service, a strong restaurant infrastructure is required— the lighting, the air conditioning, the handheld waiter pads, the music, billing systems, the internet, the electricity to power these systems, etc. This is operations management.

As you can see, these two functions are similar and different at the same time. Nonetheless, it takes both sides to deliver an exceptional experience to customers.

Similarly, an organization can perform at its highest potential and deliver the desired business results if both ITSM and ITOM processes are incorporated into the IT ecosystem.

By combining the powerful capabilities of ITOM and ITSM, organizations will be able to manage their IT infrastructure performance, availability, and business metrics and optimize systems and applications to meet changing business needs.

Mapping all assets in ITAM, helps ITSM + ITOM better.

With that said, to extract maximum efficiency out of your IT environment, an effective IT asset management (ITAM) strategy is necessary. Mapping all the assets in your organization helps both ITSM and ITOM perform better.

And subsequently, for an effective ITAM strategy, you need a strong configuration management database (CMDB). As is the case with ITSM vs ITOM, IT asset management and CMBD are two terms that are used interchangeably.

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