Service Management Blog

What is Business Service Management?

Stephen Watts
4 minute read
Stephen Watts
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The world has entered into a new era brought on by massive leaps in technological prowess with customers’ expectations colored by this fact. The digital world is constantly expanding and businesses are expected to keep pace by providing ever-evolving products to meet the shifting demands of the marketplace. With new competition practically spawning from the ether thanks to the massive dissemination of information brought on by internet technology, establishing and maintaining a firm hold on any sector of business is a tall order.

One of the core tenets adopted by successful modern businesses is the elimination of information silos. The pursuit of this goal led to the open-armed adoption of business practices like Agile and DevOps. The creation of teams comprised of cross-discipline members who each bring separate skills and a unique mindset to the table empowers organizations to keep up with the constantly shifting sands of today’s competitive world.

The creation of DevOps teams bridges a divide between development and operations, but not all silos are eliminated by this process. The laser focus on the product created by DevOps practices often fails to consider the big picture of how the product fits into the business’ overall strategy. Business service management (BSM) eliminates this disconnect.

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What is BSM?

BSM is an approach for creating a unified platform that treats an organization’s IT offerings as part of the overall business strategy. BSM combines disparate processes and tools to improve the efficiency, visibility, and cost-effectiveness of IT management. The pursuit of BSM is to simplify, standardize, and automate IT processes, empowering the organization’s ability to best serve their customers.

BSM places an emphasis on optimizing services that deliver value to the business. BSM also promotes proactivity by allowing companies to identify and remedy issues before users encounter them. Business service management employs automation and analytics to reduce errors while also enhancing their discoverability when they do occur.

BSM captures and tracks information regarding supply, demand, resources, and finances— bringing it all together into a visual representation aligned with the needs of the user. BSM translates IT metrics into business terms relevant to the user. Instead of bogging users down with bloated reports, BSM provides actionable and direct information that provides disparate departments with enhanced transparency while reducing time spent reading between the lines of IT data.

BSM also works to enhance the IT side of the business by providing detailed information regarding how their products deliver value to the business. BSM treats IT as a part of the overarching business strategy by emphasizing IT’s impact on the bottom line. This enables IT to more easily prioritize operations around the services which have the most immediate impact on the business as a whole. BSM quantifies the value added by IT services and presents insightful, customizable information pertinent to each department throughout the organization.

How Does BSM Work?

BSM acts as the intermediary between IT and the rest of the organization by integrating data from disparate applications and business systems into a single monitoring system, focusing on the experience of the end-user. Customized dashboards are tailored to the needs of each department to create actionable reports that present relevant and immediate information regarding ongoing IT services and their business impact.

The best way of describing how BSM functions is by using the analogy of an automobile. Much like modern organizations, today’s automobiles employ the use of complex computer systems to track and regulate their performance.

Similar to how businesses keep tabs on metrics like cash flow, customer satisfaction, and employee performance, automobile sensors detect levels for fuel, oil, and tire pressure. Businesses employ IT systems to manage customer support, HR, and payroll while cars use computer systems for things like anti-lock braking systems, airbag deployment, and lane assist.

Automobiles collect information from all of their systems and present the most pertinent data to the driver by way of their dashboard. When fuel is low or the engine needs maintenance, an indicator is displayed communicating the issue to the driver. BSM functions as the car dashboard for each business department by alerting users to the information they need at a glance.

What Are the Benefits of Business Service Management?

The integration of business and IT processes provides organizations with a huge competitive edge by further breaking down information silos. BSM enables IT to function as a value-adding department with the impact they have on the business and, ultimately, with the customer always in sight. BSM empowers IT to proactively identify innovative methods to enhance core business processes.

BSM increases the efficiency of resource management by providing detailed insight into IT and all other departments in terms relevant to each end-user. This aids in every step of the IT service lifecycle from planning to integration and maintenance. Aligning IT with business needs improves functionality by empowering IT with the information they need to optimize their workflow around what is best for the business as a whole.

The increased transparency provided by BSM will help everyone involved in understanding both the what and the why of any service outage or delay. BSM cuts down on finger-pointing by clearly defining expectations in terms that can be understood by every department. Open lines of communication are created on the foundation of a shared understanding provided by BSM dashboards.

BSM enhances visibility that makes finding and fixing issues by order of business priority faster and easier. Furthermore, by mapping processes and establishing direct value propositions, BSM helps to eliminate waste. BSM enables continuous improvement by providing insight into resources, services, and user impact.

BSM’s concentration on efficiency directly carries over into better product delivery and customer satisfaction. BSM improves IT return on investment by optimizing time-consuming, manual operations with automation. Freeing up IT to focus on value-adding products by offloading mindless tasks through automation improves morale, resource usage, and optimization. BSM focuses IT on creating direct value for the business while also improving the rest of the business’ insight into IT operations.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts

Stephen Watts (Birmingham, AL) has worked at the intersection of IT and marketing for BMC Software since 2012.

Stephen contributes to a variety of publications including CIO.com, Search Engine Journal, ITSM.Tools, IT Chronicles, DZone, and CompTIA.