ITIL/Foundation/Service Management/Service definitions

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This lesson introduces the main definitions used by both IT Service Management and Information Technology Infrastructure Library 2011.

Nuvola apps package utilities.png Objectives and Skills[edit]

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

Nuvola apps korganizer.svg Activities[edit]

  1. Review the key terms, then the questions below.
  2. Use the Discuss page to post comments and questions regarding this lesson.

Nuvola apps kdict.png Key Terms[edit]

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.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The outcome is actually what a customer wants and for what he is ready to request - and often pay - a service.[1]



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.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[2]

IT service[edit]

The IT service is provided by an IT service provider. An IT service is made up of a combination of information technology, people and processes.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[3]

Service types[edit]

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.[4]

External customer facing service[edit]

An external customer-facing service is provided by a different organization from its customer.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The external customer facing service is delivered to another company. Its efficiency could be easily measured through the revenue it will generate.[5]

Internal customer-facing service[edit]

An internal customer-facing service is provided by the same organization as its customer.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[6]

Supporting service[edit]

A supporting service is not directly used by the business, but is required by the IT service provider to deliver customer-facing services.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[7]

Service classification[edit]

Services could also be classified on how they are connected each other and with customer requirements.[8]

Core service[edit]

A core service delivers the basic outcomes desired by one or more customers.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The core service is actually what the customer has asked to his provider.[9]

Enabling service[edit]

An enabling service is needed in order to deliver a core service.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

An enabling service, compared to a supporting service can be seen by a customer even if it could not be directly charged to him.[10]

Enhancing service[edit]

An enhanced service is added to a core service to make it more attractive to the customer.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

An enhanced service is not asked by the customer but will be a key differentiator against the provider competitors.[11]

Service package[edit]

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.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The service packages generally contain options that will be used to make them more suitable to actual customer requirements.[12]

Service value[edit]

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.[13]


An utility is the functionality offered by a product or service to meet a particular need.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The utility is what the customer will actually receive and will fit his outcome purpose.[14]


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.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

The warranty covers how the utility will be delivered in order to fit the outcome use.[15]

Service assets[edit]

To properly deliver a service, a provider will need assets. They could be sorted out in two different categories.[16]


A resource is a generic term that includes IT infrastructure, people, money or anything else that might help to deliver an IT service.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

Compared to the next topic, resources cover all tangible provider assets.[17]


The capability refers to the ability of an organization, person, process, application, IT service or other configuration item to carry out an activity.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[18]

Service Management[edit]

A set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[19]

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.[20]

Best practice[edit]

Proven activities or processes that have been successfully used by multiple organizations. ITIL is an example of best practice.
"ITIL® 2011 glossary and abbreviations - English". December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 

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.[21]

Best practices are used to maintain quality as an alternative to mandatory legislated standards and can be based on self-assessment or benchmarking.[22]

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.[23]

Nuvola apps package editors.png Review Questions[edit]

Enable JavaScript to hide answers.



Which of the following elements are parts of the assets?



What definition best fits a service value?

Balance between the revenue expected by providing a service and what will have to be paid to deliver it.
Customer beliefs a provider should share to be able to deliver the service.
The need for what the customer is ready to require the service.
The worth of the service compared to the price paid for it.


What are the various service types?

Core services.
Enabling services.
Enhancing services.
Internal and external customer facing service.
Supporting services.


What value element should fit for purpose?



What value element should fit for use?



What definition best fits an outcome?

The balance between what will cost the service and what it is expected to bring in.
The need for what a customer has to require a service


Which of the following characteristics should be met in an internal customer facing service?

Generates direct revenue to the provider.
Has to take care of provider customers’ requirements.
Refers to all supporting services of an internal customer facing service.


To which service class best fit the following statements?

Core Service Enabling service Enhancing service
Actually what the customer has asked to his provider.
Not asked by a customer but could be a key differentiator against provider competitors.
Not explicitly asked by the customer but needed to deliver the requirement.


What is a service level package?

Documents that define all service levels a customer has to agree.
It contains all the various tasks needed to deliver the service.
It is a service package where components are changed at service level to meet customer requirements.
This is a list of all service requirements at all stages of its lifecycle.


Which of the following ITIL components could be considered as transforming resources in valuable services?

Enhancing services.


What of the following look the most difficult to acquire for a provider?



Which of the following statements apply to IT service management?

Ensure that the service will facilitate the outcomes the customer wants to achieve.
Explain how to use the various applications and all pieces of infrastructure involved in the service.
Manage all the risks and costs associated to a service.
Provide the capacity to deliver a service in a cost effective and timely manner.


What are the 3 main sources of IT best practices?

Academic works.
Proprietary knowledge from organizations and individuals.
Public Frameworks.


What are the advantages of public framework vs proprietary knowledge?

It has been checked on multiple environments.
It is deeply embedded into organizations.
It is easier for an organization to find skilled workforce.
It is easier to transfer to another environment.
It is easy to adapt to local context.
It is license free.


What are the main characteristics of an IT service compared to other activities like agriculture, mining or manufacturing?

Close relationship with customer assets.
Easiness to define what has to be delivered.
More listening to customer need.


At what stage do we begin to think about value creation?

Continual Service Improvement.
Service Design.
Service Strategy.
Service Operation.
Service Transition.

Nuvola filesystems folder orange.png References[edit]

  1. Nissen, Christian F.; Great Britain Cabinet Office (February 29, 2012). Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam. The Stationery Office. p. 11. ISBN 9780113313556. 
  2. "Business Services vs IT Services vs Digital Services". Lea-Cox and Associates. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  3. "IT Services". Gartner. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  4. Agrasala, Vinod (September 2, 2011). "External, Internal and Support Services – A welcome addition to ITIL 2011". Vinod Agrasala’s ITSM / ITIL Blog. Retrieved Bebruary 15, 2014. 
  5. Dutta, Anirban (April 19, 2010). "One Big Difference between Internal and External Customers". BMC Software. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  6. Farne, Caesar. "Define and explain the concept of internal and external services". ITIL Foundation Exam Preparation 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  7. Kempter, Andrea (August 2, 2013). "ITIL Implementation - IT Service Structure - Business Services and Supporting Services". IT process map wiki. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  8. "Service Provider Types and Types of Services". ITILstudy. December 17, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  9. "Defining, Modeling & Costing IT Services". Pink Elephant. p. 4. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  10. "Service Level Agreements : so much more than just templates". ITSM Portal. p. 16. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  11. Palmer, Ron B. "Define and explain the concept of a service". Ron B Palmer. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  12. "Service Packages and Service Level Packages". The Art of Service. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  13. Wikibooks ITIL v3 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)/Introduction Service value Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  14. "How to measure ITIL service utility and warranty". Observatorio Tecnológico - Instituto Tecnológico de Informática. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  15. "What is the difference between utility and warranty in ITIL®?". Ashford Global Information Technology. February 23, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  16. "ITIL – Introducing service strategy". Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association. p. 3. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  17. McPhee, David. "ITIL and Security Management Overview". Information Security Today. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  18. "ITIL v3: The use of Resources and Capabilities". ITIL Blues. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  19. "IT service management". Wikipedia. January 11, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  20. Mann, Stephen (March 30, 2012). "Defining IT Service Management – Or Is That “Service Management”?". Forrester's blog. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  21. "Best practice". Wikipedia. January 21, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  22. Bogan, C.E. and English, M.J. (1994). Benchmarking for Best Practices: Winning Through Innovative Adaptation. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
  23. "IT Service Management: Best practices for improving IT efficiency". SearchCIO. March 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
ITIL 2011 Foundation Service Management
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