ITSM Frameworks Explained with Examples

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IT service management (ITSM) is critical for organizations providing IT services. An AXELOS survey reported that in a self-assessment, roughly half of the organizations felt their ITSM capabilities were “great” or “good,” while the other half said they needed some improvements. ITSM frameworks can be an invaluable tool for improving an organization’s ITSM capabilities.

What is ITSM?

ITSM encompasses the processes, policies, and procedures used to manage and improve the planning, delivery, and support of IT services. The goal of ITSM is to ensure that the IT services a business provides meet the needs of its customers and are aligned with the overarching organizational goals. ITSM is the actual practice of managing IT services.

What is an ITSM framework?

An ITSM framework is simply the structured approach used for IT service management and delivery. It includes the collective processes and best practices for ITSM and their implementation within a business. ITSM frameworks simply provide guidance for ITSM.

5 popular ITSM framework examples


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework contains a group of documents with best practices for ITSM. ITIL processes assist companies in increasing the efficiency of service delivery while reducing the associated management costs. This framework focuses solely on ITSM, and it is the approach that is most widely accepted.

The ITIL framework provides direction and best practices for the five stages of the IT service lifecycle:

  1. Service Strategy
  2. Service Design
  3. Service Transition
  4. Service Operation
  5. Continual Service Improvement


The Control Objectives for Information Technologies (COBIT) framework guides an organization’s IT management principles and IT governance, and it aims to align IT processes with an organization’s business goals. It focuses on the areas of regulatory compliance, information security, and risk management.

The most recent COBIT 19 framework, released in 2018, is based off six core principles:

  1. Meet stakeholder needs
  2. Holistic approach
  3. Dynamic governance system
  4. Distinct governance from management
  5. Tailored to enterprise needs
  6. End-to-end governance system

3. MOF

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) is an open-source service management framework and was designed to help guide IT service providers in improving their efficiency and effectiveness. MOF specifies organization and management principles for IT services to optimize the value and reliability of those services. Even though Microsoft is the creator of this framework, MOF is used generally and not exclusively for Microsoft products and environments.

MOF 4.0 talks about the entire IT lifecycle. They break it down into 3 different phases and one layer that applies to all the phases:

  1. The Plan Phase
  2. The Deliver Phase
  3. The Operate Phase
  4. The Manage Layer

4. ISO/IEC 20000

The International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (IOS/IEC) created an international standard for ITSM called the ISO/IEC 20000. This standard serves as a benchmark for IT teams to ensure that their ITSM processes and practices are aligned with business goals and international guidelines.

ISO/IEC 20000 has ten parts, but parts 1 and 2 are the most important and applicable to ITSM.

Part 1: Service management system requirements
Part 2: Guidance on the application of service management systems


The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is an enterprise architecture framework or methodology that helps increase efficiency by aligning IT goals with overall business goals. It looks at the use and implementation of software and other technology holistically across the company.

Each TOGAF principle has these 4 components: name, statement, rationale, and implications. TOGAF contains 21 architectural principles that are divided into the following groups:

  • Business principles
  • Data principles
  • Application principles
  • Technology principles

4 ITSM framework use cases

ITSM frameworks are used for several specific use cases and areas of ITSM. Here are the 4 most common ITSM framework use cases:

1. Incident management

ITSM frameworks assist businesses in managing and settling various incidents that may occur, such as disruptions in service, security breaches, and system failures. It helps to resolve any incidents and restore IT services to operation.

2. Problem management

Problem management is directly related to incident management since the process aims to identify the causes of any incidents and manage those causes. An effective ITSM framework aids companies in managing or eliminating the identified root causes.

3. Change management

ITSM frameworks help businesses change systems and services while managing the effects of the change on IT services. Ideally, you want to minimize any disruptions to IT services when implementing any system or service modification.

4. Knowledge management

Knowledge management is a process that includes the creating, gathering, using, sharing, and storing of knowledge and information within an IT service desk. ITSM frameworks, such as ITIL, guide this process to ensure accurate information is available to the right people when needed.

What are the benefits of ITSM frameworks?

Some of the major benefits of ITSM frameworks are:

Effective ITSM processes

Using an ITSM framework to guide how your organization plans out ITSM results in more standardized and effective ITSM processes. This improves IT service delivery, reduces incidents, and increases customer satisfaction.

NinjaOne integrates ITSM and unified endpoint management to drive efficiency.

Increased accountability

Comparing current IT service delivery, practices, and processes with ITSM frameworks allows IT teams to see what components may be missing and visualize how their ITSM could improve. Additionally, as a company begins to implement changes and improve processes, the ITSM framework provides a reference point to compare against.

Enhanced alignment with business

ITSM frameworks help organizations to align their IT practices, processes, and overall service delivery with overall business goals. It enables companies to bridge gaps and be aligned with their objectives.

What are the challenges of ITSM frameworks?

A few major challenges of ITSM frameworks include:


ITSM frameworks are often complex and a bit overwhelming since they contain so many details. Consider hiring someone with framework expertise to assist your organization with the implementation and adaptation of the ITSM framework:


ITSM frameworks may require a lot of time and resources to implement in an organization. Make a plan beforehand accounting for the tools, technology, and personnel your organization needs for successful ITSM framework implementation and ongoing management.


The ITSM framework your organization selects must integrate with the existing IT tools, systems, and processes. Create a strategy for integrating the ITSM framework and how it will align with your business.

Improve your IT services with an ITSM framework

No matter which ITSM framework your organization chooses, NinjaOne can help your organization provide better IT services through unifying ITSM and endpoint management. With seamless integrations and automated time-consuming and repetitive tasks, Ninja’s software enables organizations to support their customers efficiently. Complete visibility into any endpoint also enables technicians to get more context when delivering IT services and taking action to meet service demands.

Ninja offers software for endpoint management, remote access, ticketing, documentation, and more. Watch a demo or sign up for a free trial today and discover the benefits of unified IT management.

Next Steps

Streamline IT operations with unified management. NinjaOne helps you deliver a better IT service outcome with seamlessly integrated IT service management and unified endpoint management solutions that drive efficiency and produce a better IT experience for everyone.

Learn more about ITSM with NinjaOne, check out a live tour of our ticketing solution, or start your free trial of the NinjaOne platform.

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