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Perhaps somewhat self explanatory, but Service Strategy is the strategy used by a business to execute its business objectives and meet the customers requirements.  Utilizing Service Strategy within a business, ensures that the business is able to create value for its customers and shareholders by contributing to the value and not just the costs of the organization.  Service Strategy ensures that organizations are able to organize themselves in an appropriate manner to deliver and support services that will enable a customers' success and will help to achieve a positive ROI in services.  Through a variety of different tools (service catalog and Service Portfolio Management for example) Service Strategy is able to ensure a consistent understanding of what is required by a business and ensures that these services are provided in an efficient and effective manner.

Get a free ITIL Service Strategy Financial Management Assessment here.
This is a document that we use to assess process maturity, tools usage, and organizational structure in managing IT Financials. This questionnaire will allow for an assessment to be performed using a hybrid of the Capability Maturity Model for Service Management and the ITIL Best Practices for Service Support and Service Delivery. The overall structure of the effort will come from the ITIL best practices of the IT Service Management definition. Rankings within each area will conform to a modified version of the CMM scoring. This modified version will provide a greater degree of granularity in evaluating the various factors involved in each service area, and has its basis in the ITIL standard.

The objectives of Service Strategy include providing: 

  • A clear identification of corporate objectives and the products and services available as well as the requirements of the customers that use them.
  • The ability to define how value is created and delivered as well as the ability to prioritize projects and opportunities based on their value to the business.
  • A means to identify opportunities to provide services and how to exploit them as well as the ability to develop market spaces and drive the implementation of strategy through the service lifecycle.
  • A clear service provision model, that articulates how services will be delivered and funded, and to whom they will be delivered and for what purpose 
  • The means to understand the organizational capability required to deliver the strategy 
  • Documentation and coordination of how service assets are used to deliver services, and how to optimize their performance
  • Processes that define the strategy of the organization, which services will achieve the strategy, what level of investment will be required, at what levels of demand, and the means to ensure a working relationship exists between the customer and service provider.

Other components of the Service Lifecycle are also involved and at a high level here are there responsibilities:

  • Service Design
    • Turns a Service Strategy into a plan for delivering the business objectives
    • Covers design principles and methods for converting strategic objectives into portfolios of services and service assets
  • Service Transition
    • Ensures that the value(s) identified in the Service Strategy, and encoded in Service Design, are effectively transitioned so that they can be realized in Service Operation 
  • Service Operation
    • Strategic objectives are ultimately realized through Service Operation, therefore making it a critical capability
  • Continual Service Improvement
    • Provides guidance on creating and maintaining value for customers through better strategy, design, transition and operation of services 
    • Describes best practice for ensuring that the service portfolio continues to be aligned to business needs
    • Provides guidance for linking improvement efforts and outcomes with Service Strategy, design, transition and operation 

Service Strategy is responsible for meeting customer business objectives while ensuring that their own organizational goals and plans are not negatively impacted.  They are responsible for ensuring that these objectives are met in an increasingly competitive world and they must understand the trade-offs involved in making those strategic decisions.

The goal of a Service Strategy can be summed up very simply:
superior performance versus competing alternatives.
When people talk about Project Management, their first thought is often Microsoft Project.  In a similar manner when considering Service Strategy people often think of Strategic plans.  However just like Project is not the whole answer, so to, a strategic plan doesn't really get you where you need to go.  Service Strategy is forward looking but with the increasing pace of change in the world today (especially in IT services), a Strategic Plan is often obsolete before its been published!

A Service Strategy resolves big issues so that staff can get on with the small details – how best to provide services, for example, rather than debating what services to offer. But focusing on a strategic plan impedes the organization’s ability to respond to changing conditions.
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