The Definitive Guide to ITSM Frameworks

The Definitive Guide to ITSM Frameworks
Power of GenAI within Service Desk
Service Gif
Get Started Today

The IT department serves as the backbone in fulfilling the IT-related requirements of a growing business. Especially in a competitive environment where new technology emerges every second and the demand for IT service delivery proliferates, they play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless operations. They help adopt innovation and maintain a secure and efficient It infrastructure. However, more than new technologies are needed to strengthen the IT infrastructure.

A strategic approach is required to manage IT services, such as ITSM and ITSM frameworks.

ITSM brings transformative power to modern enterprises and saves operating costs by 40%, reduces manual efforts by 68%, reduces ticket volume by 30%, and improves first-call resolution by 84%.

Not only does it improve efficiency and productivity, but it also improves ROI, standardizes services, and brings efficiency in change management and incident management.

Now, ITSM frameworks offer a systematic way for designing, managing, delivering, and improving IT services to meet business objectives and user requirements.

In this guide, we will discuss ITSM frameworks in-depth and their benefits.

What is an ITSM framework?

ITSM framework is a structured approach to managing IT services. It is a collection of best practices or guidelines that help manage and implement IT services effectively. These frameworks include processes, procedures, tools, and roles to streamline service delivery. Some of the commonly used frameworks that we will be discussing in this guide are:

  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library): A widely used framework that offers comprehensive guidelines covering the IT service lifecycle.
  • COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies): An IT governance and management framework that offers a set of controls and practices for IT service management.
  • FitSM: A flexible and lightweight framework that reduces ITSM complexity 
  • IT4IT: A reference architecture that covers the entire IT value chain
  • ISO/IEC 20000: An international standard ITSM framework
  • VeriSM: An ITSM approach that integrates various frameworks to provide an agile and flexible framework
  • eTOM (Enhanced Telecom Operations Map): A comprehensive model for designing, implementing, and managing IT infrastructure based on business requirements
  • MOF: A Microsoft framework for operational guidance and IT best practices 
  • TOGAF: An enterprise architecture management framework

Let’s check them out in detail.

Popular ITSM frameworks

  1. ITIL®

ITIL is a library of best practices for IT service management. It outlines a set of processes to ensure the quality, consistency, and cost-effectiveness of IT services. ITIL guides incident, problem, change, and configuration management and focuses on aligning IT services with business objectives.

It helps organizations in:

  • Enhancing the service quality, service delivery, and user experience
  • Improving efficiency and productivity
  • Reducing costs
  • Improving organizational agility and responsiveness
  • Standardizing and guiding service delivery

ITIL is based on a lifecycle approach and oversees the implementation of ITSM processes from start to finish. It offers guidelines for the entire lifecycle of the IT services.

ITIL consists of five stages, and each of these stages has its processes:

  • Service strategy: This defines the overall vision of IT service and objectives to ensure alignment with the broader business objectives.
  • Service design: This offers a detailed plan of IT services, which includes architecture, capacity, and security.
  • Service Transition: This helps deploy new/changed IT services in the live IT environment.
  • Service operations: This oversees managing day-to-day delivery and support to ensure optimal performance.
  • Continual service improvement: This helps establish a culture of continuous improvement in ITSM.

The ITIL framework is used by a wide range of companies and industries. For example, companies like IBM, HP, and Microsoft use it as a foundation for their internal IT service operations.

It is beneficial for companies that are:

  • Reliant on IT services for their core functions
  • In need of improving the effectiveness of their IT services
  • Facing challenges in aligning business objectives with IT.
  1. COBIT

COBIT is an IT service management framework focusing on security, risk management, and governance. Unlike ITIL, which is a process-oriented framework, COBIT focuses on control and governance by offering a set of control objectives. It helps assess the maturity of IT processes and ensures alignment with business goals.

It helps organizations with:

  • Improving their IT governance and control 
  • Reducing risks 
  • Optimizing IT spending and allocating resources efficiently 
  • Improving IT services and aligning them with business objectives.

The COBIT framework is structured around five key domains: 

  • Framework: For organizing and categorizing IT governance objectives and good practices 
  • Process Description: For a reference model and common language for the entire organization
  • Control Objectives: For defining high-level requirements for the control of IT processes
  • Management Guidelines: For guidance on defining roles and assigning responsibilities, setting objectives, monitoring performance, and demonstrating interrelationship with other processes
  • Maturity Models: For assessing the maturity and capability of each process and addressing the gaps in them

The COBIT framework alone is somewhat high-level and broad. It is implemented along with other frameworks to manage IT strategy across organizations. It is often used by large publicly traded companies and accounting firms.

It is beneficial for companies that are:

  • Seeking improvement in governance and control over their IT services
  • In need of a framework to comply with regulatory requirements
  • Aiming to optimize their IT spending.
  1. FitSM

FitSM is a lightweight ITSM standard designed to provide a scalable and flexible approach to ITSM tailored to the needs of businesses. It is a back-to-basics approach to ITSM that breaks free from the cumbersome processes. It minimizes the complexity overhead of business by bringing simplicity and adaptability to the organization that needs the efficiency of ITSM and wants to improve their ITSM processes without heavy frameworks.

It helps define a baseline of achievable ITSM effectiveness, creating clear and achievable standards accessible for a broader range of environments.

It helps organizations with:

  • Delivering high service quality without complex ITSM frameworks
  • A practical approach to help optimize ITSM practices without heavy cost investments 
  • Adapting quickly to changing business needs without compromising on service quality 
  • Simplifying ITSM implementation.

FitSM benefits organizations ranging from small businesses to large enterprises and startups. 

  1. IT4IT

IT4IT is a reference architecture framework for improving and guiding IT capabilities. IT4IT uses a value-chain approach to develop a model of functions to create a product or service.

The value chain consists of several value streams and activities. It is organized around multiple value streams that outline the value added at each stage of IT processes. The reference architecture lies at the center, tying everything together.

It offers insights into IT elements like service brokering, cloud servers, and software-defined data centers. IT4IT framework is a guidebook for optimizing IT operations and outlines functions like automating end-to-end value stream, integrating external services, etc.

It focuses on defining, sourcing, consuming, and managing IT services by considering the complete value chain.

Unlike other frameworks focusing on processes, IT4IT focuses on managing information and automation for handling services throughout their lifecycle. 

  • It offers a standardized approach to IT service management.
  • It helps achieve greater agility, efficiency, and innovation.
  • It reduces complexity and costs.
  • It offers a flexible framework adaptable to the needs and structures of the organization.

IT4IT functions on four main pillars:

  • Service Model: For defining how services should be managed 
  • Information Model: For defining what information is needed to operate it 
  • Function Model: For defining IT management systems needed for automating and supporting IT activities
  • Integration Model: Defining how processes, systems, and data should be collected to deliver business value.

Companies of all sizes use it globally to drive interoperability, assess and improve capabilities, and rationalize applications. It is suitable for: 

  • Companies of all sizes undergoing digital transformation and want to adopt agile and DevOps methodologies
  • Companies who want alignment in IT strategy and business objectives for digital products and services.
  1. ISO/IEC 20000

ISO/IEC 20000 is an international ITSM standard that enables IT departments to ensure ITSM processes are aligned with their business objectives and international best practices. It is a benchmark for organizations in delivering managed services, assessing their performance, and measuring service levels.

It is associated with ITIL best practices and doesn’t offer rigid rules but specifications for the ITSM system. It outlines the implementation, operations, maintenance, and continuous improvement requirements.

ISO/IEC 20000 offers benefits like:

  • Increased credibility among stakeholders, partners, and customers
  • Better business understanding and transparency 
  • Ways to leverage ITIL practices for optimizing resources and processes
  • Enforcing measurable effectiveness and a culture of continuous improvement by monitoring, measuring, and reviewing service management processes.

The ISO/IEC 20000 has five primary parts:

  • System Requirements: For defining the “must-dos” of the guidelines for global standardization 
  • Application of Service Management: For a comprehensive set of best practices for planning, designing, transitioning, delivering, and improvement
  • Applicability of ISO/IEC 200000: For guidance on defining the project’s scope and whether or not it applies to ISO best practices
  • Process Reference Model: For a framework on how things should operate in an organization
  • Exemplar Implementation Plan: For successful implementation of ISO/IEC 20000

It is beneficial for:

  • Service providers for high-end IT ventures
  • Businesses that indicate IT system compliance and quality standards to clients and high-end value project proposals
  • Businesses that want to increase IT service quality and efficiency and save costs.
  1. VeriSM

VeriSM is a modern IT service management framework that believes every business unit delivers services, not just IT. It augments the existing practices and provides an agile, adaptable approach that can be customized for any organization and department.

VeriSM supports internal and external service providers and pulls the best strategies from multiple frameworks. It allows high customization based on business size, culture, priorities, and project nature. It supports the following activities:

  • Governance: of organizational culture, values, and policies that control the activities
  • Service Management Principles: based on the organization’s governance and define how activities will be executed
  • Management Mesh: outlines how to combine resources, capabilities, and emerging technologies

VeriSM offers a flexible operating model to fulfill business requirements through “Management Mesh,” which is the core of this approach and comprises four elements influencing service delivery.

  • Define: Gathering customer requirements, understanding their needs, and creating blueprints. 
  • Produce: Building, testing, and implementing the product or service-based blueprints.
  • Provide: Safeguarding, maintaining, and enhancing the product and services 
  • Respond: Gathering, managing, and addressing customer feedback

VeriSM is used by companies that rely on IT and digital services to support their business operations. It is beneficial for businesses that: 

  • Are under digital transformation
  • Seek a flexible framework that can adapt to their different service management needs.
  • Operate in dynamic environments and want a mix of IT service management methodologies across departments.
  1. eTOM

eTOM or Business Process Framework is a comprehensive, hierarchical, and multi-layered view of key business processes essential to agile and efficient digital businesses. It helps develop, design, and manage IT and network applications based on business requirements. eTOM categorizes all business activities a service provider uses in a structured manner. The processes are grouped in vertical categories by domains in hierarchical order.

The framework has three major components:

  • Strategy, infrastructure, and product: Including all processes related to planning and managing the product life cycle
  • Operations: Covering all the processes for customer management
  • Enterprise Management: Covering all general instructions and processes for running every aspect of business from HR to finances.

eTOM emphasizes issues related to process structure, components, interactivity, and the business roles and responsibilities to which the processes relate.

It benefits the organization by:

  • Creating a common language for everyone, improving communication and collaboration
  • A flexible approach to business management allows for creating processes to meet business needs while adhering to industry best practices.
  • Providing a clear direction for employees and developing transparent processes for developing products and services 
  • Reducing cost and risks.

It is ideal for companies looking for a customizable set of best practices that can be applied to different business aspects. It is also helpful for planners, managers, and strategists who need a view of the enterprise in business terms. 

  1. MOF

MOF is a framework that guides planning, implementing, and managing IT services using Microsoft technologies. It complements the ITIL and COBIT frameworks and helps achieve system reliability, availability, support and manageability.

It offers operational guidance through the white paper, operations guide, assessment tools, case studies, best practices, support tools, and services. It helps organizations in:

  • Improving service delivery by establishing structured IT processes and procedures
  • Facilitating consistent ITSM with a more robust risk management profile
  • Creating guidance on governance and compliance to help the IT department align with legal and regulatory requirements.

The MOF framework has four quadrants of operational processes, which are foundation-level best practices for operating and maintaining an IT environment.

  • Changing quadrant: This consists of service management functions (SMFs) required for identifying, reviewing, approving, and incorporating change in the managed IT environment
  • Operating quadrant: This consists of SMFs required to monitor, control, manage, and monitor service solutions 
  • Supporting quadrant: This consists of SMFs required to identify, assign, diagnose, track, and resolve problems, incidents, and requests 
  • Optimizing quadrant: This consists of SMFs required for maintaining business and IT alignment, focusing on reducing costs while maintaining service levels

It is highly recommended for companies using Microsoft applications and services. 

  1. TOGAF

TOGAF is a highly adopted ITSM framework for enterprise architecture management. It helps align IT goals with business objectives and organize cross-departmental IT efforts. TOGAF helps define and organize project requirements from the start, ensuring there are no or only a few errors.

It helps organizations in:

  • Implementing software technology in a structured way with a focus on governance and business objectives
  • Creating a systematic approach to streamlining enterprise architecture and developing error-free processes 
  • Bridging the gap between IT and business by creating a common language for everyone.

It is an agile methodology and has three pillars:

  • Enterprise architecture domains: This consists of business, data, application, and technical architectures
  • Architecture Development Model: This consists of the development of actual enterprise architecture and rolling them out in iterative cycles
  • Enterprise Continuum: This consists of a classification system for tracking architecture solutions.

Due to its comprehensive nature, it is suitable for various organizations and industries. It benefits companies looking for a structured approach to complex IT architecture planning.

Implementing ITSM with is a GenAI-based ITSM tool that offers transformative ITSM solutions to large-scale organizations. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams and other applications to replace traditional and cumbersome IT service management. With robust automation features and GenAI capabilities, it auto-resolves 65% of queries using agile knowledge bases.

Book a demo with today to transform your ITSM into a GenAI sidekick!


  1. What is the difference between the ITIL and ITSM framework?

ITSM encompasses a set of activities, processes, and policies for managing IT services. ITIL is an ITSM framework that guides this management.

  1. Is DevOps an ITSM framework?

DevOps is not an ITSM framework, but it complements ITSM practices. DevOps emphasizes communication, collaboration, automation, and integration between the IT operations team and software development for faster service delivery. It emphasizes organizational and cultural changes. ITSM, on the other hand, focuses on processes for managing IT services.

  1. What are ITIL standards?

ITIL standards is an ITSM framework for internal IT services that ensures efficient IT service delivery. It standardizes IT services' selection, planning, delivery, and maintenance throughout their lifecycle.

Transform Your Employee Support and Employee Experience​
Employee SupportSchedule Demo
Transform Your Employee Support and Employee Experience​
Book a Discovery Call
Power of GenAI within Service Desk
Service Gif
Get Started Today