What are IT Services So Hard to Define? (Part 2)

In my last blog, I provided some suggestions for overcoming challenges in obtaining agreement on the scope and definition of IT Services.  As I mentioned, the Service Catalog is one of the first and most important assets in any service management program.


Today we are going to take a high level look at mapping IT Services to business processes.   The first step is to understand what your business or customer does and how it does it.


In truth, every business only has five primary focus areas - regardless of whether it is public, private, governmental, non-profit, small or large.  Consider this:
  1. Every business designs, develops or acquires products and/or services
  2. Every business communicates, markets and sells those products or services
  3. Every business delivers those products or services
  4. Every business supports its products or services
  5. Every business has to have a corporate infrastructure (HR, IT, Finance, etc.)
Can you identify where these activities are performed within your organization?


Starting at the highest level of your enterprise, create a running list of possible outcomes that are needed to fulfill each of these critical focus areas.  For each outcome, identify the associated end-to-end IT service or services.  For organizations with multiple lines of business, you may want to repeat this exercise until you reach an acceptable, agreeable and manageable level of service definition.


The key to this exercise is to not perform it in isolation.  Try to take a 360 degree view of services and outcomes. Engage stakeholders at all levels from IT and the business.  An interesting by-product will be an improved dialogue between IT and its customers and users. 


My final piece of advice is to start simple and stay simple.  A service catalog does not need to be very complex; it needs to be very clear.  

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