ITSM vs ITIL: what’s the difference?

In the IT sector, ITSM and ITIL are sometimes used interchangeably. Do they all imply the same thing?

Infographics I TSM vs ITIL: What’s the Difference

What is ITIL and ITSM?

IT Service Management is referred to by the acronyms “ITIL” and “ITSM” by a large number of IT experts. The terms ITIL and ITSM are also often used interchangeably in the information technology industry. Do they all have the same meaning?
No, there is a distinction; hence the answer is no.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) are two distinct approaches to IT service management (IT Service Management). Because ITIL and ITSM are ever-evolving, it’s essential to stay on top of the newest developments.

Simply said, ITSM is a practice or professional discipline, whereas ITIL is an organization of best practices that provides advice for ITSM. But that’s only the beginning. By studying the history of IT companies and how IT has grown through time, we can learn a lot about the distinctions between the two.

What is ITSM (IT Service Management)?

According to TechTarget “IT service management (ITSM) is a general term that describes a strategic approach to design, deliver, manage and improve the way businesses use information technology (IT)”

That is correct but there’s a misconception that ITSM is a software solution. In truth, ITSM is a combination of people, processes, and technology. An ITSM solution includes software as a component.

ITSM is a strategic approach to the design, delivery, management, and improvement of the way information technology (IT) is utilized inside a company. ITSM stands for IT Service Management. For a company to be successful, IT Service Management must guarantee that the correct technology and people are employed. Read more about ITSM.

What is ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library)?

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of papers that serve as a basis and best practices for developing an ITSM solution. ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. If enterprises that support an IT infrastructure adhere to ITIL best practices, they may be able to increase productivity while also lowering service management costs. Read more about ITIL.

The relationship between ITIL and ITSM

The terms ITSM and ITIL are used to refer to each other in a symbolic way. ITIL encompasses all of the elements in the ITSM definition. ITSM is the method through which IT oversees the supply of services to business customers, whereas ITIL is the method by which IT gives guidelines on how to operate efficiently.

The differences between ITSM and ITIL

  • IT Service Management  refers to an entire organizational implementation of IT Management, while the IT Infrastructure Library refers to a collection of process standards (Incident Management, Change Management, Configuration Management and etc…) that guide the supply and support of information technology services.
  • ITSM refers to a collection of procedures that are used to manage the services that are given to end-users, whereas ITIL refers to the best practice framework for information technology service management. It contributes to the provision of the required tools and strategies for providing those services in an effective manner.
  • ITIL is micro-focused on IT within the organization, whereas ITSM is macro-focused on the business.
  • ITSM defines the “what,” whereas ITIL describes the “how.” ITSM and ITIL are two different concepts.
  • ITIL is one of several frameworks that teach best practices for implementing information technology service management (ITSM), while ITSM is a combination of the use of that framework aligned with the various business perspectives to deliver quality information technology services.


Understanding the distinctions between ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and ITSM is crucial for companies who are developing or extending their IT Service Management services (IT Service Management).
Because ITIL is the most widely used method to ITSM, it is frequently misunderstood. ITSM and ITIL are not mutually exclusive but rather are complementary to one another in their approach. In information technology, service management (ITSM) is a collection of practices, rules, and procedures that assist in the management of services offered to end-users. ITIL is a framework that teaches organizations how to adopt ITSM best practices. To conclude, ITIL is a set of recommendations for effective information technology service management.

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