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ITIL DEFINITION OF SERVICES

I think you all know that I'm a big fan of ITIL but sometimes I think it does get overly complicated (despite what I've said in previous posts).  Take the definition of services for example:

Internal vs. External

OK now, I know its not rocket science by any means, but Internal services are those delivered within a business (for example IT services to a specific business unit) whereas External services are those delivered to external organizations (hence the name) ... I'm assuming you're with me so far, as this is not the overly complicated part (although it is important to recognize that internal services have to be linked to external services before their contribution to business outcomes can be understood and measured).

Where I think it goes into too much detail is in its definition of Core, Enabling and Enhancing services.

ITIL's definition of each is as follows:

  • Core Services - deliver basic outcomes that represent something a customer is willing to pay for (basically the bread and butter of the service).
  • Enabling Services - these are the nuts and bolts that let you deliver the core service (support, administration, operations etc...)
  • Enhancing Services -  not needed to deliver the core service ... this is something that can give the core service a "wow" factor but is not necessary.  The problem with enhancing services however is that over time they become core and/or enabling services as they become the expected norm.
Now I don't necessarily have a problem with how they've defined each of these ... in itself they each make sense ... my question however is more couldn't you combine enabling and core?  Enabling by itself simply doesn't do anything as there is no service for it to enable and core by itself similarly cannot be successful as it needs the other groups/services for it to actually work.  Personally I think Enabling Services ARE Core Services and should be included in the same list.  If they were - IT services might be looked at differently from a budgeting perspective that's for sure!

Service Definition Process

Continuing this discussion, the next step is determining how you define a service.  There are five key questions that you can use to help you with this:

  1. What is the service, and how do I get it? (Service Description) 
  2. How do I get help? How do I use the service? (Help and Self-Service) 
  3. What Does It Cost? (Service Cost and Pricing) 
  4. How is the service supported? (Service Support) 
  5. How is the service delivered? (Service Delivery)

The role of the Service Owner


One thing that I do 100% agree with however is the definition of a Service Owner.  I have seen too often businesses role out fabulous new ideas and plans, and not have any idea who is actually responsible for ensuring that it is done correctly and responsibly.

The Service Owner is responsible for the service REGARDLESS of where the underpinning technology components, processes or professional capabilities reside.  Basically the Service Owner is the SPOC (Single Point of Contact) for that Service and owns it.  The Service Owner is responsible to the customer for the initiation, transition and ongoing maintenance and support of a particular service and accountable to the IT director or service management director for the delivery of the service.

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