Skip to main content

The Evolution of a Definition

The definition of an IT service has certainly evolved:

IT Service (ITILv1):    A set of related functions provided by IT systems in support of one or more business areas, which in turn may be made up of software, hardware and communications facilities, perceived by the customer as a coherent and self-contained entity. An IT service may range from access to a single application, such as a general ledger system, to a complex set of facilities including many applications, as well as office automation, which might be spread across a number of hardware and software platforms.

IT Service (ITILv2):    A set of related components provided in support of one or more business processes. The service will comprise a range of Configuration Item (CI) types but will be perceived by Customers and Users as a self-contained, single, coherent entity.

IT Service (ITILv3):  A Service provided to one or more Customers, by an IT Service Provider. An IT Service is based on the use of Information Technology and supports the Customer's Business Process. An IT Service is made up from a combination of people, processes and technology and should be defined in a Service Level Agreement.

Service: A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.  The term service is sometimes used as a synonym for core service, IT service, or service package.

In ITIL v3 an outcome based definition of services moves the IT organization beyond just alignment to the business but to actual integration.  In today’s world there are few business strategies, activities or tasks that do not include some underlying IT component in the form of a service. These services should enable desired outcomes by enhancing the performance of associated tasks and reducing the effects of constraints.  While some services enhance performance of tasks, some may actually perform the task itself reducing the need for expensive human intervention. 


Over the years the definition has changed to incorporate a more business/customer focus in defining what an IT service is.   Ultimately we must deliver services that always have at least three underlying factors, Utility (fit for purpose) does it do what the user needs, Warranty (fit for use) is it available when demanded with enough capacity, security and continuity to insure agreed levels of performance and without which our services could not deliver Value to our customers.

Comments

Unknown said…
Great thoughts on the evolution of the definition Professor. I know that this topic generates a lot of passion on my team and I might borrow these concepts to shed light on the topic.

The concept of Value in Services intrigues me. I know about gathering requirements for Utility and Warranty, but how do you suggest we approach measuring value?

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and th

The Four Ps of Service Design - It’s not all about Technology

People ask me why I think that many designs and projects often fail. The most common answer is from a lack of preparation and management. Many IT organizations just think about the technology (product) implementation and fail to understand the risks of not planning for the effective and efficient use of the four Ps: People, Process, Products (services, technology and tools) and Partners (suppliers, manufacturers and vendors). A holistic approach should be adopted for all Service Design aspects and areas to ensure consistency and integration within all activities and processes across the entire IT environment, providing end to end business-related functionality and quality. (SD 2.4.2) People:   Have to have proper skills and possess the necessary competencies in order to get involved in the provision of IT services. The right skills, the right knowledge, the right level of experience must be kept current and aligned to the business needs. Products:   These are the technology managem

The ITIL® Maturity Model

Most organizations, especially service management organizations, strive to improve themselves. For those of us leveraging the ITIL® best practices, continual improvement is part of our DNA. We are constantly evaluating our organizations and looking for ways to improve. To aid in our improvement goals and underscore one of the major components of the ITIL Service Value System , Continual Improvement .   AXELOS has updated the ITIL Maturity Model and is offering new ITIL Assessment services. This will enable organizations to conduct evaluations and establish baselines to facilitate a continual improvement program. A while back I wrote an article on the importance of conducting an assessment . I explained the need to understand where you are before you can achieve your improvement goals. Understanding where you are deficient, how significant gaps are from your maturity objectives, and prioritizing which areas to focus on first are key to successfully improving. One method many organi