What is the difference between ITIL and ITSM?

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The business develops extremely fast now, and the more companies appear, the more unique offers they present. The IT industry is not the exception. IT products are developed to be one of a kind, and the more complex systems of work they suggest, the more it is difficult to provide appropriate customer service. How the notions of ITIL and ITSM are related to these questions, and why do ServiceNow alternatives fit well for handling the issues?

Customer and business

To start with, it needs to be mentioned that the current business tendency that touches upon any industry requires a business owner to consider carefully the customer satisfaction level. It is quite complicated to invite new clients because of high competition, so now you should concentrate on retaining those you managed to engage. 

One of the main aspects to consider is customer support. Particularly in the IT industry, many cases need the assistance of support agents, even if an experienced user encounters the issue. And as the customers are not necessarily individuals but also employees of organizations, there exist strategies to minimize possible problems and deal with those appearing. That is what ITIL and ITSM refer to.

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IT infrastructure library (ITIL) is a theoretic base that provides:

  • basic terminology to simplify issue solving; 
  • contains collections of documents that create a structure for building specific IT solutions;
  • contains collections of best practices to create specific IT solutions. 

These specific solutions are ITSM software pieces. In other words, ITIL is a theoretic base to apply ITSM in practice with the most efficiency possible. In fact, without these guidelines, there would be almost no chance to create solutions that would fit the requirements well.

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As you noticed already, we talk about ITSM as a practical thing. Indeed, IT service management is a discipline that defines what people should manage, what processes, and what technologies they should use for the best result possible. So, although ITSM is often considered to be software, it is only one component out of three. 

To clarify the subject, you can consider IT service management as an approach. It determines the strategy according to which the design, delivery, management, and improvements happen to provide appropriate IT work inside a company. 

The bottom line is that the infrastructure library is a set of best hypothetical variations, but service management is an appliance of a certain variation according to a specific case.


The ServiceNow platform is an ITSM solution created according to the ITIL best practices. It provides complex customer support by introducing artificial intelligence use to prevent the issues before they appear. To learn more about the features, you can visit the link above. Though, if ServiceNow is not convenient for you for some reason, you can choose an alternative, among which there are: Zendesk, Help Scout, Zoho Desk, etc. 

You can choose an alternative depending on what you aim to deal with. For example, Zendesk, being considered a help desk solution, refers to incident management, which is only a part of ITIL guidelines. But those who follow the ITIL set in full, refer to the Service Desk notion. The working principle may be similar, but some critical aspects differ significantly. 

Running an IT company, you always need to consider the customers’ feedback because it is the key to better development of your product. The more you try to find out what is wrong and what people want to be improved, the better response you have. So using ITIL to build your strategy is the best way to succeed. Depending on what part of it you need, you can choose help desk solutions created according to the ITSM or service desk software. ServiceNow is known as one of the most popular ones, but it is not the only option available. So if you feel that you have chosen the wrong, use the help-desk-migration.com services to transfer your data.

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