Categories: AtlassianTechnology

What is the difference between ITSM and ITIL?

✓ The advantages of ITSM and ITIL

Which to choose?

When it comes to the question of whether ITIL or ITSM, there is no one truth. IT Service Management (ITSM) lets you manage services and handle requests from your customers, while the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is more of an overarching framework that lets your workflow become more effective. ITSM and ITIl can’t do without each other, that’s true, however there are some differences that need to be considered.

In the following blog we would like to show you the differences in more detail and clear up some ambiguities.

What is ITSM?

ITSM refers to Information Technology Service Management and lets you manage information systems so that they deliver value to your customers. It is a collective term for all activities involved in planning, designing, providing and operating IT services. ITSM also includes their maintenance and control. In this way, ITSM can be implemented in relation to a service desk in order to avoid long customer waiting times in the event of a problem or to prevent other IT problems from arising in the first place or to resolve them quickly. ITSM can help you automate your service desk and build processes for effective change management. it describes.

In summary, ITSM describes the management of an organization and is the process of designing, delivering, managing and improving the IT services your organization provides to end users. It focuses on aligning IT processes and IT services to drive business growth.

What are the advantages of ITSM?

ITSM is customer-centric, focusing on end-to-end optimization of service delivery, so here you manage your customer’s IT services. It addresses the following components :

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Delivery
  • Controlling
  • Operation

Thus, you get all the necessary activities and management techniques to provide IT services to your customers while staying within your budget. A well-known example is Jira Service Management from the Australian company Atlassian.

What is ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) represents a form of IT management and is the most widely used IT framework. It is the specific documentation that defines best practices and a framework. Important here are the set of processes, values and strategies for ITSM to promote efficiency and effective organization. It originated in the 80’s and originates from Axelos and has now been adopted by millions of organizations. ITIL aims to make organizations more efficient and effective so that they are driven by their goals and continuously improve. It serves as a guide for ITSM, but only covers the basics.

In summary, ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library is not a management body, but rather a framework for ITSM, because it prescribes certain processes and guidelines for deployment.

What advantages does ITIL offer??

ITIL covers all phases of the ITSM lifecycle. The processes used are documented in 5 stages and include:

  1. Service Strategy: defines the planning and preparation before services are provided, forms the basis for the process setup
  2. Service Design: Planning and design of IT services from provisioning to management
  3. Service Transition: focuses on all types of service transitions from launch to change to commissioning
  4. Service Operation: describes the service desk and all related activities
  5. Continual Service Improvement: covers all aspects of the improvements

These five areas provide a comprehensive foundation for best practices and offer companies a starting point for their IT services.

It helps you to keep the business and your IT in line with each other and thus satisfy the users, i.e. your customers, as you provide the best IT services, permanently analyze the level and available capacities and create solutions that fit your customers. With ITIL you minimize costs, because you don’t have to try often, but can implement the right solution for the customer the first time.

Where is the difference?

The distinction between the two terms is less about what, and more about how, i.e. the relationship of the two terms. The difference between ITSM and ITIL is better understood if you look at the evolution of the two concepts. ITSM changed from the beginning and evolved with the need for standardization across organizations. As ITSM evolved, so did various ITSM frameworks from different industries and parts of the world. ITIL is just one of these frameworks, yet it is the most comprehensive and popular in the industry. By adopting ITIL, you drastically shorten the time it takes to implement ITSM and ensure that ITSM is tailored to your business. It helps you mitigate business risks from service interruptions and sets a standard across industries. Today, ITSM is treated as a professional discipline responsible for all services you can assign to the IT department.


ITSM is used to plan and manage changes in the system to keep the business profitable, while ITIL aligns IT with the business in question and provides services to its customers.

Definition The best practices of ITSM are taught by ITIL. Management of services to be delivered to customers.
Function ITIL is one of the frameworks needed to implement ITSM. ITSM has many other frameworks such as Six Sigma, Devops, Cobit, etc.
Usage Aligning IT with the business at hand and providing services to customers. Plan and manage business changes to keep the company in the black.


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