Bridging the Gap Between ITSM and DevOps: A Quick Guide


Jenna BunnellSenior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Friday, September 2, 2022

Bridging the gap between ITSM and DevOps can increase speed, implementation and effectiveness of enterprise solutions. Here’s how to do it.

Article 8 Minutes
Bridging the Gap Between ITSM and DevOps: a Quick Guide
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For many years, organizations used ITSM and ITIL to improve IT service delivery efficiency. But DevOps framework development saw many companies dump these processes in favor of the new workflow solution. In fact, 70% of organizations now rely on DevOps for deploying software.

It’s true that the ITIL system can't compete with DevOps frameworks when it comes to speed, agility and implementation ease. Similarly, ITSM predominantly features unnecessarily complex principles and involves too much red tape. DevOps' creation effectively rendered ITSM outdated for many organizations.

What’s more, DevOps has several capabilities the old-school systems don't have. For example, creating a workflow design template for teams is simpler. However, it doesn't address some of the clogs that the old-school solutions were able to deal with, and there are many enterprise human resources growth and development problems that it can’t solve.

The good news is you don’t have to choose between ITSM and DevOps. The best solution is to combine DevOps's speed and ease of implementation with ITSM’s overall effectiveness. But how do you bridge the gap between these distinct solutions?

You could look to hire DevOps specialist workers to come into your company. Or instead, read on and we'll provide a general overview of how you can do it yourself.

What are DevOps frameworks?

DevOps combines the words Development and Operations. It represents a collaborative system under which teams cooperate on tasks, particularly the application development and IT operations departments. DevOps frameworks facilitate process automation and integration between IT units and application development groups.

For a more generalized definition, DevOps is a framework embodying a philosophy promoting communication and cooperation between teams. This system also covers cultural iterations that build trust and cohesion between admins and developers while aligning technological projects. DevOps isn’t a technology; it's an idea that births technology quicker and more accurately.

So, a DevOps team will primarily include IT operations and developers collaborating on tasks to increase the result's speed and quality. Depending on the project, it may also bring in other departments. For example, the marketing team could be involved in the development of an app for multilingual content marketing.

What are ITSM and ITIL processes?

Many stakeholders sometimes use ITSM and ITIL interchangeably. However, they're not the same thing. ITSM is an acronym for IT Service Management, and it's an action-based approach to designing, executing, and hosting IT Services. This system's primary focus is on optimizing the customer experience.

ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library, a framework that guides ITSM strategies and processes. It informs the tools and approaches organizations use to manage their IT services to improve customer experience. But of course, it's not limited to customer service systems. It also works for IT inventory management and is helpful in fine-tuning inventory forecasting methods.

Why you should combine DevOps and ITSM tools

Often, combining DevOps and ITSM will produce tremendous results. Hence, the two systems make a solid case for integration.

DevOps may be significantly more efficient than ITSM in some aspects, such as speed and agility. However, ITSM provides a stable foundation and discipline for growing operating systems. In addition, ITSM systems come with a wealth of experience and proven approaches that teams can integrate into more agile DevOps operational modes.

Furthermore, managers use DevOps to cover some aspects of IT like monitoring, change requests, incident control and release management. Interestingly, these aspects and more are within ITSM's capabilities. In other words, the primary elements of DevOps merge into ITSM. Therefore, combining ITSM with DevOps provides stability and speed in executing enterprise solutions like vanity phone number frameworks.

DevOps focuses more on speed and agility. ITSM and ITIL systems, on the other hand, are more customer-centric. In other words, ITSM is more suited for attending to customers' needs and improving services. Consequently, morphing the two systems enables the company to speed up processes while still keeping customer satisfaction a priority.

Then again, both systems use specific tools for their processes. Tools like Jira take in a few aspects of each framework, but no single universal product can work for both systems efficiently. And even if such a system exists, it can't fit all the needs of all tech companies.

The best option is to get the right DevOps tools that work for your teams and the right ITSM that fits your requirements perfectly. Then combine them to bolster your systems' efficiency. Overall, both systems focus on improving processes and creating effective solutions. So, since they share similar goals, they have a common ground to work together.

Visualization showing the link between DevOps and ITSM


How to bridge the gap between DevOps and ITSM systems

DevOps and ITSM aim to deliver value to IT customers and elevate their experiences, but they have very different focuses. So, how can you bring DevOps' more specific focus on secure software delivery lifecycle to work with ITSM's broader focus on fulfilling standard services?

Start by considering shared objectives

The first step to successfully combining DevOps and ITSM systems is recognizing their shared objectives and knowing there's no one right way to achieve them. DevOps users thriving on the system's speed and flexibility should understand that some level of control needs to be in place. That's even more important in large, regulated workspaces.

On the other hand, ITSM practitioners must accept that they shouldn't trap themselves in the rigid traditional ITSM models. Hence, they should be willing to embrace some of the flexibility DevOps provides while working towards the same objective.

Of course, both systems will retain their core principles. However, organizations should look at the objectives, and the mutual values both systems provide towards achieving the goals.

For context, organizations need to ask themselves, what are we trying to do? Do the DevOps and ITSM teams share these objectives?

Shared objectives first create a common ground for integrating the two frameworks. Then having each team educated in the other team's processes and operations makes collaboration easier. This also requires good communication between departments, so you’ll need a robust comms system in place (check out these competitors to Aircall).

For example, you may let the IT management team learn the fundamentals of pipeline machine learning while the developers' team gets a crash course on vanity phone number operation. As a result, both teams have an idea of how the other works, which makes working together simpler.

A diagram spelling out the stages of DevOps


Integrate ITSM tools with DevOps systems

Most teams are skeptical about combining ITSM with DevOps because they have an inaccurate notion of what the ITSM system is about. Some view ITSM as an archaic system that's way past its time and can no longer function in today's tech scene. For instance, some believe it requires manual inputs using monolithic ticketing systems by telephone or data entry.

No doubt, that's how people interacted with ITSM systems in the ‘90s. However, the systems went through various changes over the years. For example, they've moved through telephones to call conferencing systems and operating conference call services for small businesses.

Then again, self-service requests, IT orchestrations and automation flows are now everyday necessities in the industry. As such, IT service management should be running parallel to DevOps operations. And if possible, managers should use DevOps tools to create and maintain IT service management systems.

Most organizations still maintain a moat between ITSM and DevOps tools. So, you'll often find developers with their product-backlog management or bug-tracking tools. Then, they'll also have a separate tool for tracking problems on the ITSM side. But they won’t have a system to enable those tools to interact and work together.

Eventually, this forces developers to use processes they're not conversant with to address issues. Fortunately, most modern ITSM tools have several integration points, making combining them with DevOps tools easy.

Automate change management

One of the best things about ITSM systems is their disciplined approach to managing changes. ITSM attempts to evaluate changes and their potential impacts on the production environments and the organization's bottom line. While that's good for ensuring that only profitable changes are allowed, slow-change approval boards constitute a significant problem. It's one of the triggers that pushed many former ITIL users to switch to DevOps.

But what if you could automate change approval or at least create a system that makes the process faster? The ITSM change approval model was a manual effort at enabling only good and profitable changes. But it was slow and often frustrating. However, what if we meld it with the agile DevOps process to enable automation?

A diagram spelling out the stages of ITSM


DevOps frameworks can enable automation systems around the implementation of proven, good changes. DevOps brings agility, iteration and innovation to the table in change consideration and implementation — all of which are useful for designing call conferencing systems. On the other hand, the ITSM helps to hold back risky changes with the potential to significantly impact the organization's output.

ITSM can be a vital supporting cast for DevOps

Understandably, most of the world uses DevOps systems for managing workflows and collaboration between developers and operations teams. However, in all its glory, DevOps still lacks certain vital functionalities. Admittedly, team members often find a way to compensate for these issues. But that's usually at the expense of other factors, even if it's only time.

As we’ve seen, you can compensate for the typical DevOps setbacks with ITSM solutions. That's because while managers designed DevOps as an upgrade for ITSM, it sacrifices some functionalities for agility and versatility. Hence, combining the agile DevOps with the more controlled ITSM helps to cover weak points in both systems.

Jenna Bunnell

Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Jenna is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. She has also written for sites such as eHotelier and PayTabs.


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