The Best of Service Strategy, Part 2

Service Strategy's Four P's
Originally Published on July 10, 2012

Whenever I am introducing ITIL and ITSM to a new group of students I always make sure that the concept of Strategy as a process is always discussed.  The reaction that I usually get from most is:
“Strategy isn’t something the business does?” 

I begin our discussion with a simple definition.  Service Strategy comprises the processes of: strategy management for IT services, service portfolio management, financial management for IT services, demand management and business relationship management.  In the world of ITSM, Service Strategy is the stage of the lifecycle were we align our IT strategy the with business strategy and define our perspective, position, plans and patterns that we as a service provider will have to execute in order to meet an organizations business outcomes.   

These four elements must be present and help guide us in defining and documenting our overall IT strategy.    Let’s take a look at what is contained in the four P’s of Strategy.

Perspective:  Describes the vision and direction of the organization.  A strategic perspective articulates what the business of the organization is, how it interacts with the customer and how its services or products will be provided.  A perspective reinforces a service provider’s distinctiveness in the minds of the employees and customers.
Position:  Describes how the service provider intends to compete against other service providers in the market place.  The position refers to the attributes and capabilities that the service provider has that make them unique from their competitors.  Positions could be based on several factors such as low cost, specialized services, expertise of a particular customer’s environment or industry.
Plans:  Describe how the service provider will transition from their current state to their desired state.  Plans will describe the activities that a service provider will have to undertake in order to meet its strategic perspective.
Patterns: Describes the ongoing, repeatable actions that  a service provider will have to execute in order to continue to its strategic objectives.
We can begin with any of the four elements.  The sequence is not prescribed as long as all four are present.  In this way we can be agile in dealing with strategies that currently being executed and those that are still being envisioned.


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