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September 8, 2014

IT Service Management - An Overview of Service Strategy

Today, Information Technology is a driving factor in delivering Business Services. Due to this, new avenues have opened up in the field of conventional IT landscape. Thus, a guidance and support about how to manage the IT infrastructure is required to improve functionality and quality in a cost effective manner. IT Service Management (ITSM) forms the core of Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) concepts.
ITSM acts as an enabler for IT governance. In a broader sense, ITSM concurs with the principles of BSM (Business Service Management) and IT portfolio management. However, the guidelines & principles for project management are not covered under ITIL terminologies. Some process oriented ITSM methodologies include ITIL, TQM, COBIT, CMMI etc.

IT Infrastructure Library
ITIL is a widely accepted ITSM framework that provides much-needed guidance on how to manage IT infrastructure so as to streamline IT services in line with business expectations. To know more about ITIL history, refer to our previous blog:
http://www.infosysblogs.com/sap/2014/05/service_transition.html
The 5 core volumes of ITIL are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operations and Continual Service Improvement (CSI).

Service Strategy
In ITIL, Service Strategy provides a guidance related to service-provider's investment in services. This helps the organization with the clarity and prioritizing of the services to be delivered. These principles are helpful for developing service management processes, policies and guidelines across Service Life-cycle.
Activities covered in Service Strategy volume include the development of customer markets, service assets and request catalog, and implementation of business strategy. Other key topics include Service Portfolio Management, Financial Management, and Strategic Risks Management.
The key benefit of formulating a Service Strategy is that it helps IT organizations improvise their service delivery. Service Strategy relies to a large extent on a customer satisfaction approach wherein it focuses on business-case development, service value definition, service assets, service provider types and market analysis.


When defining a service, the strategist should think of the service on the following lines:
Value creation: Creation of value to the business
Asset service: Assets required to build, deliver and operate the service.
Service provider types: Whether the Service Provider will be an Internal Service Provider, External Service Provider or a Shared Unit.
Service structure: Defining governance structure to ensure smooth operation of service

The key stakeholders & processes involved in Service Strategy are:
Service Portfolio Manager
• Strategic service assessment: Assessing need of new service
• Service strategy definition: Definition of goals, customers & customer segmentation
• Service portfolio update: Aligning service offered with the strategy definition
• Strategic planning: Controlling and Definition of projects required to execute the service
• Demand Management: Understand how to best meet the needs and expectations of customers, clients, partners& enablers and deliver a proper forecast and sizing of demand.

Financial Manager
• Financial management support: Define structure for managing costs and financial planning data
• Financial planning: Estimate financial resources over next cycle of the service
• Financial analysis and reporting: Analyse financial costs and service profitability.
• Service invoicing: Raising invoices for the provisioned service.

Service Strategist
• IT portfolio management: Applications and tools to manage the activities, projects and investments in a systematic manner.
• Business relationship management: It is an approach to understand, define, and support a plethora of inter-business activities related to knowledge and service management in a multi-vendor scenario.

Key takeaways from Service Strategy Phase:
Service strategy enables the transformation of service management from an organizational capability to an asset that can be leveraged for strategic decision making. It helps an organisation to objectify the relationship between services, systems. This helps in alignment of processes, business models and their objectives.
A strong service strategy enables strategic decision making for investment in services sets; this, in turn leads to a better performance towards customer satisfaction.

Check out this space for our next blog on ITIL - Service Design.

 

May 14, 2014

Service Transition

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) [1], 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.

 

 ITIL.png

 

Figure 1: ITIL v3 Service Lifecycle [2]

 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.


Conclusion:

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.


References:
• 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

 

Bibliography:

Adams, Simon et al (2009). ITIL v3 Foundation handbook: Pocketbook from the official Publisher of ITIL (2nd ed.). UK: TSO

 

Contributors:

Abhinav Chittora
Ayush Gupta
Jyotsna Shrivastava
Manish Kumar
Pinkey Sahay
Siddharth Godha


 

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