The origins of ITSM

As promised, the technology post is not over. Nothing works without ITSM.

This is the third part of the ITS story. You can find the second part here.

What is what?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve only been an adult for a short while. This means that I’ve just started breathing some real professional air at ETH. Right on the first day, I was inundated by dozens of abbreviations. S4D, GzD, DIR, HEST … to me, these were just some cryptic character sequences. Now, after seven months, I’m familiar with the abbreviations of all divisions and departments as well as the most important ones in the field of communication, but not with those used by the IT people.

This has proved to be a disadvantage in my interviews. For example, answering my question what particularly had changed, Tilo Steiger, Group Manager Storage, ITS SD simply said: “ITSM was a major innovation that I would clearly mention.”

As I didn’t understand what he was talking about, I decided to approach Fabio Consani (Group Manager Portfolio Management, ITS PPF), the driving force behind ITSM.

IT Services

On the ETH website, IT Services provides a summary of its services – very transparent, and with dozens of points of contact for various needs.

IT Services of ETH Zurich
IT Services of ETH Zurich

It was not always easy to find the right person for every IT problem. Fabio Consani told me about something that happened long before Procurement and Portfolio (ITS PPF) and ITSM came into existence: A young man submitted a ticket requesting a database for his nursery application. Some 15 minutes later, the database was set up, which Fabio Consani then directly communicated to the young man.

A short while later, he received a call: Is that all there is to it? He explained that for the past seven months, he had been looking for someone who could provide him with such a database, but everybody had told him it’s not possible.

Seven months of searching for something Fabio Consani got done in 15 minutes! Not exactly something you’d consider a customer-friendly process. But the nursery guy was not the only one with difficulties finding the right contacts. No central system, no central collection of IT services, there was simply nothing. So Fabio Consani and Dordaneh Arangeh (Head of IT Procurement & Portfolio) created the ITS PPF. ITS PPF makes sure that an overview of all IT services and customer-oriented descriptions exist and endeavours to make the IT services available to the users in an automated manner and by way of self-service.


IT Service Management (ITSM) is the means to achieve the purpose and the solution to the problem that not even department heads knew what they could offer their customers. ITSM thus describes the transition from (operations-oriented) information technology to customer and service orientation*. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Fabio Consani, Dordaneh Arangeh and their team, it is now possible to find the right contact for various IT needs with a few button clicks.

A schematic overview of the problem that ITSM endeavours to solve: All services at a glance
A schematic overview of the problem that ITSM endeavours to solve: All services at a glance

As you can see, a lot has changed in the world of technology. Research is always at the forefront, making all of us move ahead. But who makes sure that all inventions and changes remain alive? That the business keeps going? This is what the administrative areas are for, ITS being one of them. The achievements of this area are often overlooked. With this post, I’d like to draw attention to all those things that would never have been possible without administration and support. Kudos to the modern technology at ETH!

More / ITS story


  • Sabine Hoffmann, ITS PR & Communication, IT Services
  • German Text by Kaja Walter, ITS PR & Communication

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