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April 23, 2007

ITIL v3: From Process to Strategy

Boris By Boris Pevzner

Most CIOs embrace ITIL as a natural best-practice framework for service management. However, few would say that it helps them show business stakeholders why investing in service management results in solid return on investment.

One of the driving factors behind this challenge is that ITIL has historically been process-oriented and directed towards a strictly IT audience. To prove ROI for any initiative, you need to have the customer in mind, and in order to serve that customer you need to take a strategic approach to the services you offer, and align the processes behind it in order to best deliver what the customer needs.

What is needed is a top-down view of IT Service Management – and when ITIL v3 on May 30th, 2007, I anticipate it will meet that need.

Sharon Taylor, ITIL’s chief architect, told Computerworld that, “one of the gaps that evolved was that the focus on service management became very operationally based’” says Taylor. “The big change that we’re introducing is to take a broader viewpoint of what service management encompasses, [including] strategic considerations, the design implications, the cultural and organizational change implications. So the major shift is to introduce service management from a life-cycle perspective, as opposed to just a process-based view.”

The new IT Infrastructure Library is aligned to the five phases of the service life cycle:

1. Service Strategy
2. Service Design
3. Service Transition
4. Service Operations
5. Continual Service Improvement

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The Core Framework

The focus on Service Strategy means that the productization and alignment of IT Services to the needs of the business will be front and center in any ITIL Adoption initiative. What this means is that the definition of those services, along with demand planning in terms of services, and developing a service-based costing methodology, all through the Service Portfolio, has become the starting point to optimizing the way IT organizations do business.

In short, whereas existing ITIL standards are directed at a strictly IT audience, ITIL v3 makes sense to the business stakeholders, as well. For IT organizations just starting out in ITIL, now you know where to start. For organizations deep into their ITIL initiative, the time couldn’t be any better to take your ITIL initiative from process oriented to strategic in just 60 days!

Posted on April 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 9, 2007

The Service Portfolio and the Service Catalog

Molly By Molly Holladay

Out of sheer curiosity, I searched Wikipedia today for information on Service Portfolios… and boy was I ever disappointed. No results for Service Portfolios, and the article on Service Catalogs is lacking to say the least.

I won’t argue that managing service requests is “a” benefit to having a service catalog, but how much do your executives really care about service requests? Are you talking to your CIO about how your service catalog has brought benefit to the organization through allowing your customers to make more well-defined requests of you? Probably not, or I submit you shouldn’t.

A Service Catalog and Service Portfolio are as much about managing service requests, as the CMDB is about storing inventory. There are a number of service catalogs on the web that you can look at… but what I'm rarely seeing is the ‘business perspective'… where are the examples and case studies of organizations using their service catalog to “Manage IT Like a Business”?

True, Service Catalogs are the perfect way to go about establishing standards amongst IT offerings, but even more importantly, the Portfolio takes that catalog to the next level by separating supply from demand and furthermore enables highly structured evaluation of:

  • IT Spend Data - Classifying and analyzing IT service costs facilitate highly focused cost improvement and reduction opportunities.
  • IT Budgeting Data - Understanding the cost drivers underlying the supply and demand of IT services allows us to get to the root of improving our cost structure.
  • Organizational Consumption Data - Providing discrete costs to the IT customer for each class of service consumed makes improvements to the IT cost structure possible by changing the demand side of IT.
  • Service Capacity - When IT is able to provide customers with real-time information on their consumption of services they’re able to more accurately charge for current usage as well as determine future service levels & costs to customers

In light of the need for visibility into these valuable metrics, I foresee the tactical, request-centric Service Catalog of the past being left behind by the strategic demand planning and financial management capabilities, among others, built into the Service Portfolio. Keep an eye out for more information on Service Portfolios and benefits from us and from ITIL v3 just one more month!

Posted on April 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack