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Service Offerings - Activities for Service Portfolio Management

Service Portfolio Management (SPM) is a process that is defined by ITIL best practices in the Service Strategy Lifecycle Stage.  The initiation of activities for Service Portfolio Management is often a result of changes to strategic plans or the identification of a service improvement plan and are triggered by a proposal that must have executive approval to proceed.  For existing services, Service Portfolio Management considers investments that have already been made along with new investments required.  The combined may result in the service being too expensive for what the business will achieve.  Investment decisions will need to be made.  There are many possible procedures and workflows to fulfill all the details of this process but overall the activities can be clearly understood with four high level process activities.

Define – In this stage of the process SPM must document and understand existing and new services.  Every proposal for a new or changed service must be accompanied by a full blown business case.  This stage of the process defines desired business outcomes, opportunities and the requirements for the new or changed service proposed.  The customer and consumers of the service are defined. The major inputs and outputs, performance and other non-functional requirements (warranty requirements) will all provide data to ascertain anticipated ROI as well as the type of return the customer needs.  Constraints and how much the customers are prepared to spend will also be identified through this stage of the process.  Regulatory or legal requirements and any applicable standards must be clearly defined to complete the level of information required to build a clear and appropriate service model.  The success for all other activities is based on clear and detailed information defined here.

Analyze –  Here is where we determine whether the service can optimize value. One of the first steps is to define how services will be analyzed, what level of data is required and who will perform the analysis.  In some organizations, the analysis is performed by a pool of senior architects, managers or even a strategic architecture board to evaluate services.  The analysis will need to consider what the long-term goals of the organization are, how the service being analyzed contributes to those goals and what capabilities and resources will be needed to deliver the service.

Approve – This is where “change management” plays a big role in the SPM process and where resources are authorized.  Because this is a major or strategic change that gets processed through the SPM process an authority matrix is often used to approve the new or changed service.  All the information and outputs from the Define and Analysis activities will be evaluated.

Charter – This is the final strategic activity to be performed for the proposed new or changed service before it moves into Service Design.  Charter has two meanings.  One is a verb which implies that the new service (or changes to the existing service) has been commissioned by the customer or business executives.  Within the Service Portfolio Management context a charter is a noun referring to a document which is used to authorize work to meet defined objectives, outputs, schedules and expenditure.  Charters are normally used to initiate the design stage of projects.

Design Coordination, Financial Management and other critical processes will need to integrate as they have a key role to play to ensure that wise business decisions are made throughout Service Portfolio Management activities.

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