IT Services and IT Operations have become key differentiators for businesses of any shape and size in the current competitive landscape for many industries. These are the two pillars on which organizations ensure business continuity to deliver customer success. Various new methodologies have been proposed to extract better efficiency through scalable services and operations in recent years. Such methodologies run across the different parameters that often meet in each other's paths, get entwined or run parallel to one another.

IT Service Management and IT Operations Management are the two frameworks concerned with the Services and Operations landscape of an organization. Both determine and govern the lifecycle of each process (services and operations) and help firms achieve their customer and organizational goals.

Comparative and Disparate Analysis

IT Operations Management is the practice of managing an organization's technology components and application requirements. IT Operations Management encompasses actions that provide the seamless execution of all IT services required to enable an enterprise scale deployment of IT infrastructure, cost-control operations, capacity planning, production schedules, performance, and security management.

On the other hand, IT Service Management refers to the process by which a company manages and delivers information technology services to its end users. It entails the design, development, delivery, and support of information technology services. IT Service Management processes enable organizations to design IT systems that adapt to changing technology and user expectations. IT Service Management can also aid in the standardization of IT service delivery and the generation of actionable IT insights for improved business decision-making.

These definitions also throw light on the few disparities between the two methodologies. One distinction is that IT Service Management is concerned with how IT teams deliver services, whereas IT Operations Management is concerned with event management, performance monitoring, and the methods by which IT teams govern themselves and their internal stakeholders.

Additionally, the two definitions also mean that IT Service Management and IT Operations Management are intrinsically linked. While an organization may have one without the other, it is more likely to deliver both practices on a daily basis.

As is true of nearly all IT-related processes and services, silos and distinct bureaucracies do not promote optimal efficiency or commercial value. While IT Service Management and IT Operations Management are distinct sets of activities, both require a coordinated and unified approach.

IT Operations Management and IT Service Management: Integration

Synchronizing both IT Service Management and IT Operations Management and managing them collaboratively can increase a business's value and efficiency. Nonetheless, IT Service Management and IT Operations Management cannot function optimally without IT Asset Management (ITAM). A systematic process for the exact identification of available assets requires mapping the links between IT service providers and their consumers.

To function efficiently, both IT Service Management and IT Operations Management require the use of a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). It manages the information technology infrastructure, supports the two methods, and optimizes the investment value of a firm's information technology assets.

Integrating both solutions can bring in a more robust and adaptive organization that meets the strategic needs of the marketplace. By unifying data and metrics from discrete monitoring tools and combining reports from IT Operations Management and IT Service Management, IT professionals can present a consolidated view of the entire operations via dynamic dashboards. This enables real-time access into the activities that transcend both services and operations.

However, some firms choose to manage various components of their infrastructure using distinct technologies. For instance, a company may use one tool to manage systems communications and infrastructures to manage application uptime across clouds. These technologies provide built-in reporting and dashboard functionality and are used to create and distribute reports. In some cases, these reports can add complexities instead of solving them. Organizations in such scenarios lack end-to-end visibility over their IT infrastructure and operations. For instance, an IT staff may spend an inordinate amount of time collecting data. Integrating IT Operations Management and IT Service Management enables enterprises to manage these entities as a single entity, aligning operations with business requirements and reducing downtime and expenses, which have a significant influence on the bottom line.

Combined IT Service Management and IT Operations Management Approach: Business Benefits

The two components of the IT service value chainIT Service Management IT Operations Management share comparable objectives, clients, overhead, and risks. Cohesive use of IT Service Management and IT Operations Management requires preparation and work on both sides, but it enables businesses to optimize their value and agility. The combination has the potential to be truly transformative in terms of IT maturity and end-user experience.

The following are some of the business outcomes that can be realized by this integration:

Digital Transformation:Accelerate digital transformation by adopting a holistic approach to services, infrastructure, and operations.

High Availability: Leverage intelligent automation to prevent service interruptions and boost resilience.

Improved Visibility of Your Organization's Data Center and IT Assets:Align your organization's data center and IT assets with day-to-day business decisions.

Cost Savings: Reduce expenses and improve customer service by providing more effective resolutions, enabling self-service, and leveraging automation.

Change Agility: Improved coordination between IT services enables you to respond to change faster with fewer risks.

Efficiency: Increase operational efficiency by automating previously fragmented functionalities.

Cybersecurity: Gain a 360-degree picture of your assets, endpoints, and vulnerabilities and protect them with multi-layered security.

Analytics: Real-time trend analysis enables the planning of strategic actions and taking sound business decisions.

Looking into the Future: Rise of AIOps

IT Operations Management and IT Service Management are undergoing further transition because of the emergence of what Gartner refers to as "Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations," or AIOPs. This is essentially the fusion of IT Service Management, IT Operations Management, and IT Automation, resulting in multi-layered technological platforms for automating and enhancing information technology processes.

AIOps, according to Gartner, are systems that "use big data, modern machine learning, and other sophisticated analytics to directly and indirectly augment IT operations processes with proactive, personal, and dynamic insight. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 40% of large organizations will use ML and big data to improve their IT operations.

While AIOps is not a replacement for ITIL, it will surely complement it as organizations grapple with the increasing problems posed by the speed and complexity of digital change. For example, AIOps enables them to forecast service outages and automate root cause analysis.

While the capacity to monitor performance and predict events proactively has immense promise, AIOPs is a relatively new technology that is still being investigated by disruptive companies.

By: Richard Phillips

Head of Managed Services | ISSQUARED Managed IT Services

Based out of the Dallas office, Richard Phillips has been with ISSQUARED since the acquisition in May 2019, and prior to that with legacy NCA since 2014. Richard earns over 20 years of experience in the unified communications market, with a variety of responsibilities including large scale enterprise deployments, sales enablement, support, project management and leadership. Richard owns a great expertise in engaging with customers, learning about their environments, designing, implementing and supporting solutions that meet their changing business requirements.