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ITAM vs. ITSM: What's the Difference?

12/19/2018 by: Jaime Spector


If you’ve ever run the term “ITAM vs. ITSM” through Google, you’ll get search results that will tell you that ITAM and ITSM should be separate, because they’re two distinct concepts. You’ll also get search results that say that ITAM and ITSM should be grouped together. Which search results should you read? 

We strongly believe that ITAM and ITSM go better together. Read on to learn what ITAM is, what ITSM is, and why they’re not so different after all. 

What Is ITSM?

IT service management refers to the strategic approach of designing, delivering, managing, and improving the way companies use IT services. Through ITSM, IT can deliver services that allow users to access information and complete processes, which bring more value to the business.

What services are encompassed by IT service management? They include deploying and supporting enterprise applications, architecting and optimizing IT infrastructure, and creating and managing processes such as helpdesk support and troubleshooting procedures. 

What Is ITAM?

IT asset management is the term used to describe the set of business practices that combine financial, inventory, and contractual functions to improve the way the IT department makes spending and lifecycle support decisions. What assets does IT have to manage? IT assets are any company-owned system, hardware, or even information that are used in the course of business activities. 

What’s involved in managing IT assets? Members of the IT team gather a detailed inventory of an organization’s IT assets (hardware, software, and data). With that information, they decide on purchasing and distribution. 


Is There a Difference between ITAM and ITSM? 

ITAM and ITSM are closely related—some have dubbed them siblings. Unfortunately, at many organizations, ITAM and ITSM are separated. Many people believe they shouldn’t be combined because they don’t see the benefits of managing the two together. However, there are clear advantages to bringing ITAM and ITSM to one place.

For a start, when someone submits a help desk ticket, it’s useful for IT employees to have information about the asset in question so they can solve the problem faster. They can tell where in its lifecycle the IT asset is located as well as other details such as warranty. Moreover, you might need to update asset information after fulfilling a service request, which is easier to do if ITAM and ITSM are in one place.

“ITAM teams spend 50-70% of their time annually on software audits.”  

Moreover, ITAM could become an extension of the service desk. At many organizations, the IT department isn’t aware of how many software assets it owns because people download apps at will. By making ITAM part of ITSM, you can automate the software request process. This has two benefits: the IT department gains control over the software download process, and automation makes the process go faster. 

By combining ITSM and ITAM, you can save time, effort, and money. You no longer need to hunt for information – everything you need is one place. Combining the two functions also streamlines processes. To learn more, read 5 Ways to Improve IT Service Desk For Better End-User Experience.

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