ITIL/Foundation/Service Management/Service definitions
This lesson introduces the main definitions used by both IT Service Management and Information Technology Infrastructure Library 2011.
Objectives and Skills
Objectives and skills for this service definitions section of ITIL Foundation include:
- Define and explain differences between an outcome and a service.
- Define the various service types and classifications
- Explain what a service package could contain
- Define and explain the various types of service values and assets
- Define the various component of a service
- Define and explain what service management stands for
- Describe the concept of best practices
- Review the key terms, then the questions below.
- Use the Discuss page to post comments and questions regarding this lesson.
In ITSM world, many terms have a more restrictive definition than in the day to day life. If reasons to have to know all these definitions could first not appear so obvious, it is anyway important to ensure that when using these terms, everybody has the same meaning in mind.
|“||The outcome is the result of carrying out an activity, following a process, or delivering an IT service etc. The term is used to refer to intended results as well as to actual results.||”|
The outcome is actually what a customer wants and for what he is ready to request - and often pay - a service.
|“||A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.||”|
The service is what needs to be delivered to the customer to let him achieve his outcome. Compared to other business sectors, the services have to deal with several challenges; first one is that deliverables appear less tangible and then more difficult to figure out, to measure or to control; also it requires a good relationship between providers, customers and users as the service is fully dependent on customer’s asset and last, there is short delay between the service delivery and its consumption.
|“||The IT service is provided by an IT service provider. An IT service is made up of a combination of information technology (products), people and processes.||”|
The IT service needs to facilitate the outcome by increasing performance to deliver or being able to overtake regulation constraints, lack of funding or resources limitations. Without these added values, no customer would request the service to a provider. Actually, we find three main kinds of IT services, means infrastructure, application and business process.
A service to deliver will be actually split in several services; each of them will provide a single deliverable to be used by another service. These services could be classified in different types, depending to who they will be addressed and how. If these types are anyway delivered by using the same level of service, the way the various lifecycle steps will differ.
External customer facing service
|“||An external customer-facing service is provided by a different organization from its customer.||”|
The external customer facing service is delivered to another company. Its efficiency could be easily measured through the revenue it will generate.
Internal customer-facing service
|“||An internal customer-facing service is provided by the same organization as its customer.||”|
Opposite to external, the internal customer facing services will be provided inside a company or organisation from one service or department to another. The differentiation is important for at least accounting departments as external customer facing service is often expected to generate business revenues while the internal customer facing service will only create move between cost centres. Anyway, internal customer facing services should also be considered for the external customer facing services revenues they contribute to generate. They therefore have to fully understand how the attached services work to ensure to provide the right deliverable.
|“||A supporting service is not directly used by the business, but is required by the IT service provider to deliver customer-facing services.||”|
The main difference between internal customer facing service and supporting service is that a customer facing service is designed to be delivered to both internal and external customers; the supporting service is more considered as something that is needed but despite it would help, could not generate direct revenues.
Services could also be classified on how they are connected each other and with customer requirements.
|“||A core service delivers the basic outcomes desired by one or more customers.||”|
The core service is actually what the customer has asked to his provider.
|“||An enabling service is needed in order to deliver a core service.||”|
An enabling service, compared to a supporting service can be seen by a customer even if it could not be directly charged to him.
|“||An enhanced service is added to a core service to make it more attractive to the customer.||”|
An enhanced service is not asked by the customer but will be a key differentiator against the provider competitors.
|“||A service package contains two or more services that have been combined to offer a solution to a specific type of customer need or to underpin specific business outcomes.||”|
The service packages generally contain options that will be used to make them more suitable to actual customer requirements.
The value of an IT service may be difficult to figure out on a first view as it has nothing concrete; it could anyway be considered as what could be deserved to ask – and pay - for a service. Actually, it contains two main parts.
|“||An utility is the functionality offered by a product or service to meet a particular need.||”|
The utility is what the customer will actually receive and will fit his outcome purpose.
|“||A warranty is the assurance that a product or service will meet agreed requirements. This may be a formal agreement such as a service level agreement or contract, or it may be a marketing message or brand image.||”|
The warranty covers how the utility will be delivered in order to fit the outcome use.
To properly deliver a service, a provider will need assets. They could be sorted out in two different categories.
|“||A resource is a generic term that includes IT infrastructure, people, money or anything else that might help to deliver an IT service.||”|
Compared to the next topic, resources cover all tangible provider assets.
|“||The capability refers to the ability of an organization, person, process, application, IT service or other configuration item to carry out an activity.||”|
The capabilities have a key role in service management. A service provider who would not have them could be just considered as a bunch of resources, but without value and difficult to provide what will meet customer expectations with a constant level of quality. For example, even if a provider has a lot of people available, he will not be able to deliver a service in a proper manner if none of them have been trained on the specific service.
|“||A set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.||”|
Service management refers to the implementation and management of quality information technology services. it is performed by IT service providers through people, process and information technology. It is process-focused and is not concerned with the details of how to use a particular vendor's product, or necessarily with the technical details of the systems under management. Instead, it focuses upon providing a framework to structure IT-related activities and the interactions of IT technical personnel with business customers and users.
The service management could therefore be considered as the ability to ensure that all components of a service that will be described with more details in the next page will be enough to deliver the core service as agreed with the customer through the SLA.
|“||Proven activities or processes that have been successfully used by multiple organizations. ITIL is an example of best practice.||”|
A good way to ensure continuity in the quality of a delivered service is to reuse the processes that have already proven their efficiency. These methods collections are called best practices. They can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered and could be considered as a business buzzword, used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use.
Best practices are used to maintain quality as an alternative to mandatory legislated standards and can be based on self-assessment or benchmarking.
Proprietary knowledge is customized to fit the specific requirement of the organisation and as most of the time it is poorly documented, it feels difficult to acquire or transfer. The public framework and standards like ITIL, ISO 20000 or others fill these gaps as they are validated across multiple organizations working in several domains. The skills are also easier to gain through standard training or certifications that will make easier new workforce integration.
|ITIL 2011 Foundation Service Management|