Research in Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) (2000 – 2010): An Overview

Research in Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) (2000 – 2010): An Overview

Narges Shahsavarani (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada) and Shaobo Ji (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/ijisss.2014100105
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In information systems (IS) research, Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) has become a popular research area among IS and management researchers as a result of industry push and the development and advancement of research in service sciences. From academic perspective, a growing number of papers have been published addressing many aspects of ITSM issues. This paper presents the results based on a study of comprehensive review of publications in ITSM from 2000 to 2010. A total of 152 research papers from leading information systems (IS) journals and conference proceedings were identified, categorized and analyzed from the perspectives of reference discipline, theoretical foundation, research method, level of analysis, and research topic. The findings suggest five primary conclusions: 1) there is generally a lack of theoretically driven researches; 2) the field is still improving, with a growing number of published papers dealing with the development of concepts, constructs, models, methods and implementations for theory formalization; 3) ITSM performance issues, justifications, and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) topics are among the most popular topics of research; 4) ITSM researchers do not seem to consider research at an individual level; 5) the most popular research method was the conceptual orientation. Recommendations for future research in ITSM are presented and articulated.
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1. Introduction

As a subset of the service science discipline, ITSM focuses on defining, managing, delivering, and supporting IT services to achieve business objectives (Winniford, Conger, & Erickson-Harris, 2009). It deals with the “servitizing the IT function” to align IT function with corporate strategy (Conger, 2010).The rapid growth of the service sector, particularly for what concerns the deployment of IT, has attracted the attention of researchers in a wide range of disciplines (e.g., Marketing, Information Systems and Operations Management) in order to gain insights into several aspects of service science, innovation and management (Spohrer & Maglio, 2008). A number of studies have shown supports to the dominance of the service industry in the modern economy (e.g., Chesbrough, 2005; Chesbrough & Spohrer, 2006; Rust & Miu, 2006; Rai & Sambamurthy, 2006; Galup, Quan, Dattero, & Conger, 2007; Spohrer & Maglio, 2008; Maglio & Spohrer, 2008). Major management and business academic journals have been publishing new research works in service science related fields. For example, in the last four years, the Journal of Operations Management has published on an average of one paper every other issue, in addition to a special issue on service design research in 2002. Similarly, Production and Operations Management Journal (POM) and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Journal (MSOM) have also been actively seeking papers exhibiting empirical research which addresses service issues (Chase & Apte, 2007). Recent developments in the research, particularly from the operations and marketing disciplines, have highlighted the need for service to be better theorized (Vargo & Lusch, 2008). Not surprisingly, MIS Quarterly (MISQ), one of the leading academic journals in IS announced a special issue in 2011 on “service innovation in the digital age.” It is reported that advances in IT provide opportunities for the digitization of services and increasing maturity of the service management area within the field of IS (Rai & Sambamurthy, 2006). Information Systems Management (ISM) journal recently published a special issue on “Servitizing IT” that suggested that the increasing emphasis on service in IT has three main trends in research: service science, ITSM, and software oriented architecture (SOA) (Conger, 2010).

The service concept has attracted the attention of researchers in the past because many countries in the world, particularly the developed ones, are shifting from a (physical) goods-based economy to a service-based economy, and the proportion of the service sector in economies has been increasing steadily over the last few decades. For instance, according to the World Development Report 2009, services in 2007 represented 76 percent of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and between 30 and 90 percent of the GDPs of the rest of the world (World Bank, 2009). In the ICT sector, according to IBM’s 2008 Annual Report and HP’s 2009 Annual Report, IBM and HP services businesses have grown rapidly over the past few years and dominates their revenue (IBM, 2008; HP, 2009). Similarly, many companies, including those in non-ICT sectors, such as General Electric and Xerox have focused on service innovation for growth (Chesbrough, 2005).

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