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May 2, 2007

About IT Service Management

IT Service Management, as a primary enabler of IT Governance objectives, deals with IT systems from a customer's view: "What and how can my IT contribute to my business?"

ITSM is a discipline for managing enterprise IT. It's task is to defocus IT practitioners from technology and put customer deliverables on a first place.

Definition: “Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.”

IT Service Management is a discipline which deals with transforming resources into value for a customer, according to definition of a service. Main capabilities in Service Management are functions and processes for managing services through the service lifecycle.

By purchasing or using a service customers get the outcomes they want to achieve. Perceived quality of these outcomes determines the value of the service to the customer.

A process “is a set of coordinated activities combining and implementing resources and capabilities in order to produce an outcome, which, directly or indirectly, creates value for an external customer or stakeholder.”

Business wants  IT to support its existing business processes effectively and dynamically. Business managers often lack the insight on complexity and problems of supporting the business process within the realm of IT resources. IT people, on the other hand, do not exactly understand goals of business managers. Service Management principles are used to reduce this gap. Among others these principles are specialization and coordination, agency principle, encapsulation etc.

As said earlier, main Service Management capabilities are functions and processes:

Functions are “units of organizations specialized to perform certain types of work and be responsible for specific outcomes.” Functions are self-contained  units with their work methods, processes and body of knowledge. They can be viewed like, and often they are, organizational business units.

Service Desk is the oldest known ITIL function. It provides a single point of contact for Customers while dealing with restoration of normal operational service with minimal business impact on the Customer. Other functions are Application, Technical and Operations management.

To improve cross-functional coordination and evade pitfall of silo-mentality, service management needs well defined Processes.

Process has actions, dependencies, sequence, inputs and outputs. Process is measurable, it has specific results and its own customers (owners). Also, process is usually event driven.
For Example, Incident Management is a process:
  • It starts by incoming call or operations control tool notification (Event)
  • We can count incidents, resolved in a first call or specific types (Measurable)
  • We know the results of all closed incidents (Output result)
  • Every incident has a contact person, (Customer) and Service Desk is the Owner
Operations Management is not a process, it’s a day-to-day activity which interacts with processes. On the other hand, some organizations can define some functions as processes if it suits their business and organizational requirements.

ITIL Processes in Lifecycle stages

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