A Historical Perspective:
In the early days when the IT industry was maturing, there was no methodological approach followed for Service Management Processes. During the early 1980's; it was observed by the IT Service providers that there was a need for a systematic service approach as they were being rolled from the application development to the application maintenance teams. It was during this period that IT business started focusing on Service Management and started to design think-tanks on how to manage service requests better to provide customer delight.
During the same time, UK Government with the intention of improving the quality of IT service deliverables; conceptualized the idea of Service Management. The UK government approached the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now called the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) , to develop a methodology for effective and efficient use of IT resources. This led to the inception of GITIM (Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management) which evolved into more popular ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).
In early 90's, ITIL framework was widely adopted across both public as well as private sector. With the growing popularity of ITIL and increasing need for standardization of processes, ITIL v2 was soon released in year 2001. This version focused mainly on Service Support and Service Delivery. In the year 2007, ITIL v3 was released with emphasis on IT business integration. This version adopted a lifecycle approach to Service Management. An improved version of ITIL v3 was published in 2011.
Figure 1: ITIL v3 Service Lifecycle 
As you can see from the above Figure 1, ITIL v3 lifecycle of Service Management is divided into Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. Service Strategy forms the core of IT Service Management and establishes an overall strategy for implementing IT service. Services are designed according to business requirement, transitioned from development to support and ultimately realized through Service Operation. These elements do not work in silos and provide continual service improvement thereby increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Why Service Transition is needed:
Organizations deliver various changes in the form of projects. If they fail to address the operational requirements and service management needs, the service implementation effort will be futile. Service Transition ensures that transition of those changes is effective, streamlined and reduces risk in providing necessary support in steady state. Service Transition in the initial stage of support works closely with Service Operation (also known as BAU/AM Teams) to deliver the support effectively once the service goes live.
Benefits of Service Transition:
Effective service transition enables low volume of change and release for the business. It ensures that the transition process is streamlined, effective and efficient so that the risk of delay in resolving issues is minimized. Service Transition ensures that there are fewer issues once the systems go live enabling customers and users to use the new or changed services effectively. This reduces the risk of service outage.
Challenges in Service Transition:
It is sometimes very easy to establish a process, but to execute the same is a different story. Service Transition process needs lot of co-ordination and synergy between various teams and hence appropriate authority and empowerment is essential to execute the process. In big implementation projects, it is very difficult to keep a track of every project activity which will affect business.
Utmost care should be taken in these transitions. The most important challenge lies in integrating transition activities with those which are related to project. A project lifecycle is limited to the life of the project and it is related to project deliverables whereas the development lifecycle is about quality, consistency and product delivery. Service Transition helps in providing a synergy between the project and support teams.
Service Transition is therefore a catalyst for a seamless handover of changes being implemented. An investment done on time towards Service Transition can help avoid recurring support costs for repetitive issues. This is being recommended across the globe as a best practice towards an effective Service Management. SERVICE TRANSITION is therefore an INVESTMENT and NOT A COST to any organization.
• http://itsm.fwtk.org/History.htm; accessed on 25th March,2014, 11:00 am
• http://www.itservicemanagement-itil.com/it-service-management-cat/itil-v3-life-cycle/itil-v3-service-life-cycle/; accessed on 20th March, 2014, 8:00 am
Adams, Simon et al (2009). ITIL v3 Foundation handbook: Pocketbook from the official Publisher of ITIL (2nd ed.). UK: TSO