ITIL - Service Management

What is service management

The aim of service management is the coordination of specific, technical and organizational resources in order to provide customers with added value in the form of services. Service management according to ITIL is a framework and as such includes the entirety of necessary and specialized organizational skills that are available to generate added value for customers in the form of services. This includes service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and the continuous improvement of processes and services.


The separation of production, sales and use of an IT application is outdated. Total cost of ownership analyzes show a significant shift in costs from the creation to the operation of IT.

IT Service Management is the management framework that plans, monitors and controls the quality and quantity of the delivered services. The manipulated variables are derived from the goals of business process and customer orientation as well as cost optimization.

The three main objectives of service management are:

    Alignment of IT services to the current and future requirements of the company and its customers.
    Optimizing the quality of the IT services provided.
    Reduce the long-term cost of service activity.

 
This process definition and the associated main goals lead to a fundamental change in philosophy: The IT user becomes an IT service customer!


More about service lifecycle processes and culture

IT service (definition): An IT service is the possibility of generating added value for customers by facilitating or promoting the achievement of the results desired by the customer. The customers themselves do not have to bear any responsibility for certain costs and risks.

 


[Translate to Englisch:]

This definition sums it up: The customer wants and should concentrate on his business activities and not have to worry about details in IT service provision. He wants to be able to rely on his service provider and is also prepared to pay a reasonable price. The service provider has to deal with the risks and costs of service production and provision. A service is not just a product. IT used to be defined in terms of products, which was usually understood as hardware, software, PCs and so on. However, with the greater dependence of business activities on IT, this view is no longer sufficient. The business wants a partner who takes care of these products and offers functioning IT as a service. The main differences between products and services can be shown as follows:

 

  • Services are not tangible: A service is not physically tangible and therefore cannot be delivered like a product.
  • Services are produced and consumed at the same time: the service is provided at the time of the request. For example, if a customer calls the service desk to report a malfunction, the service is produced in the same way as this malfunction report is dealt with.
  • Services are volatile: Services are provided by machines and people. Humans are not machines and perform according to their current condition and abilities. This can lead to fluctuations in the provision of services. This is not to say that systems cannot fail too.
  • The user takes part in the production of the services: Often a service cannot be used without a specific action by a user triggering the provision of the service. The customer has a major influence on the quality of the service requested.
  • Satisfaction is subjective: the service consumption is influenced by the user. The quality can only be measured after use and not in advance.

People, processes and technologies work together to provide services. The value of a service is perceived by the customer himself through sustained support in business transactions.


The architecture is based on a service lifecycle. "Service Strategy" defines the axis around which the life cycle revolves. This is where the guidelines and goals are specified, which are implemented as progressive phases with Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation from planning to change to operation. The Continual Service Improvement corresponds to continuous learning and improvement and helps to place and prioritize improvement programs and projects based on the strategic goals.


So that this life cycle can influence the activities in a customer and business-oriented manner, it is very important to organize the various information. Without an appropriate structure, the valuable knowledge is just a collection of observations and practices - or worse, competing goals could be derived from them. The service lifecycle forms an organizational framework and determines the behavior pattern to be observed. As a model for the provision of sustained good services, it expands the service management approach and helps to better understand its structures and relationships.


 

A function is an organizational unit that specializes in compliance with certain tasks and is responsible for the end result. Functions are independent departments with skills and resources that are necessary for the provision of services. For example network or database administration with their own specific procedures and their own accumulated knowledge.


In contrast to a function, a process is a structured combination of activities that, triggered by a defined input - an input - ensures the desired result - the output. Processes lead to a goal-oriented change and require feedback to increase your own performance.
To provide the sometimes very complex services, the IT must be divided into individual organizational units, the functions, which can perform specific functions on their own responsibility. In order to guarantee the overriding overall goal - the delivery of business benefits through services - processes are needed, the actual basis of effective organizations.

Characteristics of processes

    Processes can be characterized by the following four features:
    Measurability - The processes must be measurable in terms of performance, costs and quality.
    Clear result as result - A defined end result is the actual goal of every process and must be individually determined. It must also be defined who is responsible for achieving the end result.
    Delivery to customer - Each process delivers its primary result to a customer or to stakeholders. It is irrelevant whether these are internal or external.
    Reacting to specific events - Since processes work continuously or iteratively, they must be monitorable and traceable. This can be done by specific triggers - so-called triggers or controls - such as a status change.

These triggers are to be taken into account in the design of the processes so that control over the process and its result in terms of effectiveness, effort and quality can be guaranteed.

Control is defined as those guidelines, procedures, practices and organizational structures that are intended to ensure that corporate goals are achieved and that undesirable events can be prevented or corrected. Controls are fundamental building blocks of an organization's governance structure.


 

The provision of optimal IT services requires appropriate service behavior in the IT organization, or better still, a lived service culture. The behavior, the personal attitude and the prevailing work culture within an IT organization are the most critical factors for the successful implementation of service management processes according to ITIL.


In the area of leadership behavior, exemplifying, promoting and consistently demanding the jointly determined service management principles are the key factors. A constructive culture of debate is just as important as the active support of the process owner by the responsible service manager.

Behavior, attitude and work culture are the ABC of IT (Attitude, Behavior, Culture). Correcting them is essential if a successful service management implementation is to be possible. Harmful behaviors are:

  • Wrong understanding of business priorities
  • Lack of courage to set priorities
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Too much internal focus

The effects of such misconduct can be:

  • Solutions miss business requirements
  • Missed business opportunities due to IT delays
  • High IT and operating costs
  • Declining user productivity
  • Increased security and availability risk
  • High failure rates of services and thus jeopardizing business continuity

IT management must eliminate the causes of misconduct early on in a targeted manner in order to enable the change to a business-oriented service provider in accordance with ITIL®. We as EDV-Solutions and our employees and specialists exemplify this.