Definition

IT operations

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Why -- and how -- BizDevOps is going to change everything
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

IT operations are the processes and services administered by an organization’s information technology (IT) department. As such, IT operations include administrative processes and support for hardware and software, for both internal and external clients.

Every organization that uses computers has at least loosely-defined IT operations, based on how it tends to solve internal and client needs. Elements of IT operations are chosen to deliver effective services at the required quality and cost. IT operations are usually considered to be separate from IT applications. In a software development company, for example, IT operations include all IT functions other than software development and management. However, there is always some overlap between the departments.

IT operations determine the way an organization manages software and hardware and includes other IT support, such as network administration, device management, mobile contracting and help desks of all kinds. IT operations management (ITOM) and IT operations analytics (ITOA) help an organization refine the way that IT approaches services, deployment and support and help to ensure consistency, reliability and quality of service.

Current IT trends affecting IT operations include cloud computing, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT). The efficiency of cloud computing typically means that IT operations for a given organization require fewer administrators. The increasing interconnectivity and automation of M2M and IoT require adaptations to the traditional IT operations skill sets and business processes.

Different organizations define IT operations in various ways; the term is also used to describe the department that manages IT operations as well as the collection of services and processes and how the department operates as a standardized procedure.

Vendors that offer IT operations management (ITOM) platforms and related services include IBM, HP, BMC Software and CA Technologies.

See an introduction to IT operations management:

This was last updated in March 2016

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