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Managing Across the Lifecycle

As the current IT organization has grown from a provider of technology to the Service Provider of choice we have had to incorporate the principles of service management to ensure that we deliver the outcomes required by our customers.  Given that, we have to ask ourselves a couple of strategic questions:
  • What outcomes are we trying to provide?
  • How do we as a service provider facilitate that?

Delivering an outcome based definition of services will allow the IT organization to move beyond just business / IT alignment to towards business / IT integration, which really should have been the goal from the beginning.  Supporting customer / business outcomes should be the ultimate focus of the IT organization thus creating value through the delivery of services.
A focus on business outcomes is both a critical and in most cases a cultural shift for IT service providers.  As customer’s preferences and perceptions change over time so does the value statement that a service provider needs to remain focused on for the customers.  Perceptions influence the value statement and perceptions can be influenced by:
  • Attributes of a service that are indications of value
  • Present or prior experiences with similar attributes
  • Relative capability of competitors and other peers
  • Customer’s self-image or position in the market

If we are to facilitate outcome, then how best do we organize ourselves?  There is no one answer to that question.  The best practices that we engage in must be tailored to the individual organization and situation.  If we are to successfully engage the ITIL Service Lifecycle roles and responsibilities must be well defined.  Ownership of processes and services must be well defined.  We need to define what skillsets are needed, both current and future.  Where will investments be made? The current size and culture of the organization must be taken into account.
  • A starting point for organizational design is Service Strategy where many of these questions can be addressed and answered at a high level.
  • Service Design will ensure that services and service management processes will be well defined and designed with clearly related roles and outcomes.
  • Service Transition will allow the appropriate controls to be put into place, yet not become overly bureaucratic so it doesn’t slow innovation and change.
  • Service Operations will enable effective and efficient use of resources to deliver services when and where they are needed.
  • And Continual Service Improvement, where meaningful metrics will be utilized to allow continual improvement to happen and greater value created and sustained.
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