Business Service Management

Business service management (BSM) is an approach used to manage business-aligned IT services. A BSM philosophy promotes a customer-centric and business-focused approach to Service Management, aligning business objectives and priorities with IT or ICT from strategy through to operations and continual improvement.

A BSM approach is most commonly applied in an Information and communications technology (ICT) environment, positioned above IT Service Management (ITSM) (which is often exercised according to guidance such as ITIL). BSM is distinctive in ensuring that business and customer objectives provide an input which is considered when defining the IT Service Management approach and the business services to be offered by the IT Service Provider (whether an internal IT department or an external service provider).

According to the 2011 edition of ITIL, business service management is "the management of business services delivered to business customers. Business service management is performed by business units."

ITIL, according to the ITIL books themselves, is "a set of best-practice publications for IT service management". ITIL does not, therefore, give guidance on Business Service Management or Service Management outside of the IT domain.

A BSM approach can be used to understand the impact of business needs on IT Services and infrastructure, helping in the process of planning to ensure the portfolio of Business Services and IT Services aim to support these changing needs and objectives. This approach also helps to understand how technology, including incidents, changes and new developments, impact the business and customers. BSM can provide a dynamic method for linking key service components and capabilities to the goals of the business. It can help prioritize the activity and response of IT staff and service providers based on business priorities, and identify the impact and cost of service outages.

Advocates of BSM often use it to support a cultural change from one which is very technology-focused to a position which understands and focuses on business objectives and benefits. Rather than supporting an internalized technology view, there is a shift to recognize and support customer needs and the delivery of value to business stakeholders including shareholders. A BSM initiative often underpins a shift in maturity for an IT department or service provider towards a more proactive and predictive operating model rather than the reactive and fire-fighting behavior which has been common in many IT operations. IT departments and Service Providers who reach this level of maturity often report improved relationships with their customers and business colleagues, being recognized as 'Trusted Business Partners' and 'Competent Suppliers' who deliver added business value rather than being considered a commodity or 'Necessary Evil'.

The benefits of adopting a BSM approach will vary for different organisations, but typically include: improved relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues; service quality improvements; cost reductions through improved efficiency; and a reduction in service outages and the impact of outage.

Based on industry best/good practice, standards, guidance and methodologies such as ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000, a BSM approach can ensure ICT departments and Service Providers operate in a more efficient and effective manner to underpin business objectives.

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