This article is about ITSM, yet another technical term. But do you understand what it is or even care? I will try to explain why you should know and care, in non-technical terms unlike like a mechanic that said…

Once the timing belt went, the cams spun out of control and broke the rocker arms. To cap it all off, the harmonic balancer went all out of whack. And that’s just the engine.”

Say what? Have you ever had a conversation with an IT professional where you had to ask them to clarify every other term they used? IT jargon does not need to be so complicated! If only there were a way to present IT jargon without giving off blank stares in the process.

As an executive, you resolve most issues with management skills, and IT is no different. Let me introduce you to a management model called Information Technology Service Managment (ITSM). This model puts IT terminology and activities into business speak, most times. The most popular flavor of ITSM is ITIL®.

ITIL® stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and is the most widely used IT Service Management framework in the world. What does ITIL® do for you? Well, if you manage a business, large or small, ITIL® provides the best in class practices (and in business terms) to ensure your IT aligns with your business and not the other way around. ITIL® also provides one set of standard terminology where geeks and business leaders both can be on the same page.

My name is Manuel W. Lloyd, and I have been ITIL® certified since February 2006, and I am an ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) expert, speaker, author, and trusted ITSM advisor.

My goal with this article is to try to help busy executives keep up with the alphabet soup of IT services and an easy way to manage IT. ITSM or IT Service Management is the best practice way to do that vs. shooting from the hip in a “break-fix” manner. Let’s look at the four terms in ITSM:

  • Term #1—Information: I’m going to make this article seem very simple, but once you see where I’m going, I think you will agree that when it comes to the management of IT, simplicity is needed. First of all, IT is two words. Information and Technology. Today, we casually throw that term around. However, let’s break it down. Information is data and today data has become as valuable if not more valuable than money itself. Think about it; HIPAA, FINRA, SOX, PCI-DSS, and more. Cybercriminals love Information. Don’t think so? Have you read the news of late? The point is information/data has tremendous value.

  • Term #2—Technology: This could mean a myriad of things. However, in the domain I’m speaking about, it represents electronic devices that help transport, manipulate, and serve up the Information (data) we use to make critical decisions. These devices usually come in the form of hardware, software, data lines, and of late, services—more on services in the next section. New technologies emerge in today’s environment seemingly every week. How can a busy executive keep up with it all? The alphabet soup is too much! Keep reading to find the answers.

  • Term #3—Service: What is an IT Service? Simply put, anything an electronic device or service delivers in the form of critical information (data) that helps you make informed decisions delivering actionable results. For instance, let’s take hottest IT service going, which is cloud computing. OR, just another way of saying “my stuff in someone else’s facilities…”. Seems risky huh? Well, the thing about it though is that the “service provider” has removed many of the risks for you, the customer. How? Hard costs, some insurances, software licensing (in some cases), and many other ways. It is critical that you pick the right service provider that will actually partner with you and not just sell to you.

  • Term #4—Management: The final term in ITSM is management. You’re an executive, so you know how to “manage,” right? Well, in most cases that is true, until it comes to IT. In most cases, IT represents a cost center and a royal pain in the neck. However, it does not have to be that way. Believe it or not, the biggest pain and cost in an IT “cost center” is typical, and it’s you.

    I call this the “CLO syndrome.” It’s when C-level executives don’t fully invest in IT. I know, I know, but “I do..” you may say. What I mean by that is investing in the intricacies. You become laissez-faire. You don’t buy into things like IT Service Management; You think “IT should just work” without knowing how “IT works.”

    Not only is this unfair to your IT Department (CIO down to 1st Tier Service Desk Tech) but you hurt yourself and more importantly, you could damage your organization. CLO syndrome is cured by starting with an ITSM framework like ITIL®.

    IT does not have to be the ITIL® framework (as painful as it is for me to say that but it’s the truth). And, you do not have to do everything at once. The goal is to get started with at least one framework for managing IT people, processes, products, and partners.

    A fund bonus term is “CLO syndrome” which stands for Chief Laissez-faire Officer. The prevention is less painful than the cure, but either way, it begins with an ITSM framework, like ITIL®.

    Please share your thoughts and questions.