IT Service Management
Most organisations today are completely dependent on IT to enable them to achieve their company vision, business strategy and goals. Organisations use IT to:
- Revolutionise the way they operate, communicate and do business
- Develop and innovate, gain market advantage and differentiate themselves to their end customers
- Drive increased productivity and efficiency, improve business processes, make cost savings, and increase sales and growth
- Communicate with a larger, more global marketplace.
The quality of an organisation’s IT Services is reflected in its reputation and brand, and has direct impact upon sales, revenue, reputation and share value. Consider the high profile IT outages suffered by the UK banks in recent years! The cost of IT is never insignificant – it is therefore essential to get good value from IT investments, but often this value is not realised. For an IT investment to provide benefit, the resulting IT service must be well planned, well designed, well managed and well delivered. That is what the practice of IT Service Management is about. But to understand what Service Management is, we need to understand what services are, and how service management can help service providers to deliver and manage these services. “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.” A simple example of a customer outcome that could be facilitated by an IT service might be: “Sales people spending more time interacting with customers” facilitated by “a remote access service that enables reliable access to corporate sales systems from sales people’s laptops”. The outcomes that customers want to achieve are the reason why they purchase or use the service. The value of the service to the customer is directly dependent on how well it facilitates these outcomes. Service Management is what enables a service provider to understand the services they are providing, to ensure that the services really do facilitate the outcomes their customers want to achieve, to understand the value of the services to their customers, and to understand and manage all of the costs and risks associated with those services. IT Service Management is:
- The professional practice of planning, designing, developing, delivering and optimising IT services that are both fit for purpose and fit for use, thereby providing best value and return on investment for the organisation that uses them
- A specialised discipline, which includes the processes, methods, activities, functions and roles that a service provider needs in order to deliver IT services which provide business value for customers
- A growing profession of people, skilled and committed to delivering high-quality IT services which bring measurable value for businesses.
Good IT Service Management is essential to achieve business benefits from IT at an agreed and controlled cost. Without good IT Service Management, it is common for IT projects to fail or go well over budget at project stage, for ongoing IT costs of ownership to spiral out of control, for there to be high risk of IT outages, and for businesses to fail to achieve the benefits they expected. Effective Service Management is itself a strategic asset of the service provider, providing them with the ability to carry out their core business of providing services that deliver value to customers by facilitating the outcomes customers want to achieve. Adopting good practice can help a service provider to create an effective Service Management system. Good practice is simply doing things that have been shown to work and to be effective. Good practice can come from many different sources, including public frameworks (such as ITIL, COBIT and CMMI), standards (such as ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO 9000), and proprietary knowledge of people and organisations.