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Service Offerings and Agreements

When we think about what services we are going to offer we immediately think of the Service Catalog.  We must also consider what agreements go along with the delivery of those services.  What levels of utility and warranty are going to be expected over the life of our services?   What about services that will be supplied by external service providers; who is going to manage those?  Let’s take a look at which ITSM processes we will need to engage to ensure that we are able to strategize, design, deliver and maintain services that will meet our customers’ needs over the lifetime of the services.

In Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA), we look at Service Portfolio Management (SPM), Financial Management (FM), Demand Management (DM) and Business Relationship Management (BRM).  These are all processes within the Strategy stage of the Lifecycle.  We also explore Service Catalog Management (SCM), Service Level Management (SLM) and Supplier Management (SM) processes within the Design stage of the Service Lifecycle. We are going to examine how these processes are integrated to ensure that we are able to deliver the right services at the appropriate levels of performance and within the defined budgets. Now there are additional processes engaged but we will limit our discussions to the processes mentioned earlier.

Let’s start with the Service Portfolio. It describes a provider’s services in terms of business value and is utilized to ensure that a service provider has the right mix of services to balance the investment in IT with the ability to meet business outcomes. It’s divided into three parts, the pipeline which represents future investment, and where BRM introduces the Service Level Requirements (SLR) which are utilized in the creation of the definition of the service and are used later in the Service Catalog (2nd part of the portfolio) to establish the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) defined by SLM.   SPM along with other stakeholders will make the strategic decision on when it is time to retire older or underutilized services which is the final and 3rd part of the Service Portfolio (Retired Services).  Of course, Financial Management for IT Services is engaged throughout to provide us with accurate financial data for our decision making.

Increasingly important in today’s complex environments is Supplier Management.  We find more and more of our services and supporting services are being supplied by external suppliers.  The purpose of Supplier Management is to ensure that our suppliers are being appropriately managed so that we are receiving value for our money and that suppliers are delivering quality IT services to the business.  These relationships must be managed and assure that contracts are defined to meet business needs and align and underpin targets established in our SLRs and SLAs in conjunction with SLM.  It is critically important that a Supplier Policy and a Supplier/Contract Management Information System be established to guarantee the success of this process.

If you would like to take a deeper dive and have a more in-depth discussion about how these best practice processes can enhance you and your organization's success in delivering and managing IT services, come join one of our SOA classes.  See you soon!

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