Recently I have been thinking about what
defines services. So I thought that I would look up an actual definition
on-line. I was surprised how many there were and that all really were subject
to interpretation. This is where the light bulb went off a little bit. It is
not up to anyone to define the services with the exception of your customers
and must be done on their level and what they see as the service.
Depending on the maturity of your
organization you may already have a formalized set of services and the
constraints around how they are supported, maybe through a 3 letter acronym of
some sort like a SLx. In other cases you may have a single service which needs
But what happens when you are a larger
organization and don’t have anything formalized or established? May feel a bit
like the chicken and the egg. Where do you start? There are more questions than
answers, I will give you that. At the end of the day this will be an exercise
in improvement which in itself is a journey down the right path.
To determine what your scope for this
initiative is you really need to identify what is the end goal? This isn’t a
trick question, but the title is Service Delivery, so delivering services to
the customer successfully if goal number one. The next part and trickier
component is how you do that. This is where the scope will come into play (that
chicken and egg bit, how do you start unless you know where you end).
Depending on your environment you may have
many services which you provide but getting alignment with the customer on
their business outcomes are paramount. After all, whatever goals the customers have
we should tailor our efforts to provide those results. To simplify if the
service is critical to achieving our business goals, then it is a critical
Sit back and take a good look at where you
are right now.
What are your Core,
Secondary, and Tertiary services?
Are the services defined in
that way – are there just services?
How are these supported
You may have this figured out already, you
might not. If you don’t, assemble a list of services you provide and then go
back to the business to determine the level of criticality these have to
achieve your business outcomes. You may be surprised with your results after
discussions with the business.
I can already hear the challenge…. What if
the customers says “all my services are critical” this may be the case. They
way that you may want to simply your list to prioritize them is through the
“Jenga” example. There is a game called Jenga, in which you remove blocks and
place them on top of the same stack of blocks. The object, like your business,
is to keep everything balance during this game. Your key critical services will be those
“blocks” at the base which cannot be removed. For example application X is key
but if the network is down, the application becomes secondary.
Discussion with your customers may also allow
you to streamline the way the IT Operations works as well. IT may have a
perception that services need to be supported in one manner and this touch
point will verify or dispel any of those assumptions. This dialog will allow IT
to take a look at how it manages the services and leverage what the customer defines
to further quantify IT’s activities. For example, we may have less support
coverage than we need, or it may turn out that a particular skill is shorter in
supply than we thought.
At the end of the day the road is long, and
we need to start the discussions and have a scope which will reflect what the
customers need. Having these discussions will allow you to ease any support
changes with customer buy in as they will be driving the requirements rather
than us “telling” the business what we “think” they need
Labels: Business Relationship Management, Continual Service Improvement, Service Delivery, Service Level Agreements, Service Management