Service Operations

1Introduction 2Serv. Mgmt. 3Principles 4Process 5Activities 6Organization 7Consideration 8Implementation 9Issues AAppendeces

2. Service Management as a Practice

2.1 WHAT IS SERVICE MANAGEMENT?

Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services. The capabilities take the form of functions and processes for managing services over a lifecycle, with specializations in strategy, design, transition, operation and continual improvement. The capabilities represent a service organization's capacity, competency and confidence for action. The act of transforming resources into valuable services is at the core of Service Management. Without these capabilities, a service organization is merely a bundle of resources that by itself has relatively low intrinsic value for customers.

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

Organizational capabilities are shaped by the challenges they are expected to overcome. An example of this is how in the 1950s Toyota developed unique capabilities to overcome the challenge of smaller scale and financial capital compared to its American rivals. Toyota developed new capabilities in production engineering, operations management and managing suppliers to compensate for its inability to afford large inventories, make components, produce raw materials or own the companies that produced themR. Service Management capabilities are similarly influenced by the following challenges that distinguish services from other systems of value-creation, such as manufacturing, mining and agriculture:

However, Service Management is more than just a set of capabilities. It is also a professional practice supported by an extensive body of knowledge, experience and skills. A global community of individuals and organizations in the public and private sectors fosters its growth and maturity. Formal schemes exist for the education, training and certification of practising organizations and individuals influence its quality. Industry best practices, academic research and formal standards contribute to its intellectual capital and draw from it.

The origins of Service Management are in traditional service businesses such as airlines, banks, hotels and phone companies. Its practice has grown with the adoption by IT organizations of a service-oriented approach to managing IT applications, infrastructure and processes. Solutions to business problems and support for business models, strategies and operations are increasingly in the form of services. The popularity of shared services and outsourcing has contributed to the increase in the number of organizations that are service providers, including internal organizational units. This in turn has strengthened the practice of Service Management and at the same time imposed greater challenges upon it.

[To top of Page]

2.2 WHAT ARE SERVICES?

2.2.1 The Value Proposition Definition Of 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.

Services are a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve, without the ownership of specific costs and risks. Services facilitate outcomes by enhancing the performance of associated tasks and reducing the effect of constraints. The result is an increase in the probability of desired outcomes.

Figure 2.1 A conversation about the definition and meaning of services
Figure 2.1 A conversation about the definition and meaning of services

[To top of Page]

2.3 FUNCTIONS AND PROCESSES ACROSS THE LIFECYCLE

2.3.1 Functions
Functions are units of organizations specialized to perform certain types of work and responsible for specific outcomes. They are self-contained, with capabilities and resources necessary for their performance and outcomes. Capabilities include work methods internal to the functions. Functions have their own body of knowledge, which accumulates from experience. They provide structure and stability to organizations.

Functions are a means of structuring organizations so as to implement the specialization principle. Functions typically define roles and the associated authority and responsibility for a specific performance and outcomes. Coordination between functions through shared processes is a common pattern in organization design. Functions tend to optimize their work methods locally, to focus on assigned outcomes. Poor coordination between functions, combined with an inward focus, leads to functional silos that hinder alignment and feedback critical to the success of the organization as a whole. Process models help avoid this problem with functional hierarchies by improving cross-functional coordination and control. Well-defined processes can improve productivity within and across functions.

2.3.2 Processes
Processes are examples of closed-loop systems because they provide change and transformation towards a goal and utilize feedback for self-reinforcing and self-corrective action (see Figure 2.2). It is important to consider the entire process or how one process fits into another.

Process definitions describe actions, dependencies and sequence. Processes have the following characteristics:

Figure 2.2 A basic process
Figure 2.2 A basic process

Functions are often mistaken for processes. For example, there are misconceptions about Capacity Management being a Service Management process. First, Capacity Management is an organizational capability with specialized processes and work methods. Whether it is a function or a process depends entirely on organization design. It is a mistake to assume that Capacity Management can only be a process. It is possible to measure and control capacity and to determine whether it is adequate for a given purpose. Assuming that it is always a process, with discrete countable outcomes, can be an error.

2.3.3 Specialization And Coordination Across The Lifecycle
Specialization and coordination are necessary in the lifecycle approach. Feedback and control between the functions and processes within and across the elements of the lifecycle make this possible. The dominant pattern in the lifecycle is the sequential progress starting from SS through SD-ST-SO and back to SS through CSI. However, that is not the only pattern of action. Every element of the lifecycle provides points for feedback and control.

The combination of multiple perspectives allows greater flexibility and control across environments and situations. The lifecycle approach mimics the reality of most organizations where effective management requires the use of multiple control perspectives. Those responsible for the design, development and improvement of processes for Service Management can adopt a process-based control perspective. Those responsible for managing agreements, contracts and services may be better served by a lifecycle-based control perspective with distinct phases. Both these control perspectives benefit from systems thinking. Each control perspective can reveal patterns that may not be apparent from the other.

[To top of Page]

2.4 SERVICE OPERATION FUNDAMENTALS

2.4.1 Purpose, Goal and
Objective The purpose of Service Operation is to coordinate and carry out the activities and processes required to deliver and manage services at agreed levels to business users and customers. Service Operation is also responsible for the ongoing management of the technology that is used to deliver and support services.

Well-designed and well-implemented processes will be of little value if the day-to-day operation of those processes is not properly conducted, controlled and managed. Nor will service improvements be possible if day-to-day activities to monitor performance, assess metrics and gather data are not systematically conducted during Service Operation.

2.4.2 Scope
Service Operation includes the execution of all ongoing activities required to deliver and support services. The scope of Service Operation includes:

2.4.3 Value to Business
Each stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle provides value to business. For example, service value is modelled in Service Strategy; the cost of the service is designed, predicted and validated in Service Design and Service Transition; and measures for optimization are identified in Continual Service Improvement. The operation of service is where these plans, designs and optimizations are executed and measured. From a customer viewpoint, Service Operation is where actual value is seen. There is a down side to this, though:

This publication suggests a number of processes, functions and measures which are aimed at addressing these areas.

2.4.4 Optimizing Service Operation Performance
Service Operation is optimized in two ways:

Although both of these are discussed in some detail within the scope of Service Operation, the Continual Service Improvement publication will provide a framework and alternatives within which improvement may be driven as part of the overall support of business objectives.

2.4.5 Processes within Service Operation
There are a number of key Service Operation processes that must link together to provide an effective overall IT support structure. The overall structure is briefly described here and then each of the processes is described in more detail in Chapter 4.
2.4.5.1 Event Management
Event Management monitors all events that occur throughout the IT infrastructure, to monitor normal operation and to detect and escalate exception conditions.

2.4.5.2 Incident and Problem Management
Incident Management concentrates on restoring unexpectedly degraded or disrupted services to users as quickly as possible, in order to minimize business impact. Problem Management involves: root-cause analysis to determine and resolve the cause of incidents, proactive activities to detect and prevent future problems/incidents and a Known Error sub-process to allow quicker diagnosis and resolution if further incidents do occur.

2.4.5.3 Request Fulfilment
Request Fulfilment is the process for dealing with Service Requests - many of them actually smaller, lower-risk, changes - initially via the Service Desk, but using a separate process similar to that of Incident Management but with separate Request Fulfilment records/tables - where necessary linked to the Incident or Problem Record(s) that initiated the need for the request. To be a Service Request, it is normal for some prerequisites to be defined and met (e.g. needs to be proven, repeatable, pre-approved, proceduralized).

In order to resolve one or more incidents, problems or Known Errors, some form of change may be necessary. Smaller, often standard, changes can be handled through a Request Fulfilment process, but larger, higher-risk or infrequent changes must go through a formal Change Management process.

2.4.5.4 Access Management
Access Management is the process of granting authorized users the right to use a service, while restricting access to non-authorized users. It is based on being able accurately to identify authorized users and then manage their ability to access services as required during different stages of their Human Resources (HR) or contractual lifecycle. Access Management has also been called Identity or Rights Management in some organizations.

2.4.6 Functions within Service Operation
Processes alone will not result in effective Service Operation. A stable infrastructure and appropriately skilled people are needed as well. To achieve this, Service Operation relies on several groups of skilled people, all focused on using processes to match the capability of the infrastructure to the needs of the business.

These groups fall into four main functions, listed here and discussed in detail in Chapter 6.

2.4.6.1 Service Desk
The Service Desk is the primary point of contact for users when there is a service disruption, for Service Requests, or even for some categories of Request for Change. The Service Desk provides a point of communication to the users and a point of coordination for several IT groups and processes.

2.4.6.2 Technical Management
Technical Management provides detailed technical skills and resources needed to support the ongoing operation of the IT Infrastructure. Technical Management also plays an important role in the design, testing, release and improvement of IT services. In small organizations, it is possible to manage this expertise in a single department, but larger organizations are typically split into a number of technically specialized departments.

2.4.6.3 IT Operations Management
IT Operations Management executes the daily operational activities needed to manage the IT Infrastructure. This is done according to the Performance Standards defined during Service Design. In some organizations this is a single, centralized department, while in others some activities and staff are centralized and some are provided by distributed or specialized departments. IT Operations Management has two functions that are unique and are generally formal organizational structures. These are:

2.4.6.4 Application Management
Application Management is responsible for managing Applications throughout their lifecycle. The Application Management function supports and maintains operational applications and also plays an important role in the design, testing and improvement of applications that form part of IT services. Application Management is usually divided into departments based on the application portfolio of the organization, thus allowing easier specialization and more focused support.

2.4.6.5 Interfaces to other Service Management Lifecycle stages
There are several other processes that will be executed or supported during Service Operation, but which are driven during other phases of the Service Management Lifecycle. These will be discussed in the final part of Chapter 4 and include:

[To top of Page]


Visit my web site