Service Introduction: What is an IT Service

This KB article describes to you the accepted and agreed definition of:

- What is a Service

- Types of Services

- Introduction of a Service

Service Introduction pic

Background / Introduction

At the University of Leeds IT Services has adopted the ITiL v3 framework to manage and deliver the various services it offers to its business partners (customers). It manages its processes to deliver its various services through the ServiceNow tool since it was introduced back in 2013.

The ITiL IT Service Management (ITSM) concept is about combining the right technology with IT best practices to help deliver services to our customers in the best possible way. IT Service Management therefore refers to all the activities, plans, and processes an organisation such as ours uses to design, deliver, and manage service delivery for its customers. Customers can thus request services through an ‘IT service catalogue’, where IT publishes the services it offers. When you deliver an IT service requested through a service catalogue request, you are engaging in ITIL service delivery.

To help customers achieve their desired outcomes, it is vital that we (IT Services) take a holistic approach in the way services are conceptualised, developed and managed to delivering a customer-centric (focused) service.

What is a Service

Defining ‘what is an IT Service’ is the first step within Service Management but there are challenges in defining what a ‘Service’ is and what it should look like.

The service concept plays a key role in service design and development. The service concept defines the how and the what of service design, and helps mediate between customer needs and an organization’s strategic intent.

The concept of a Service consists of:

Whilst we are currently exploring the new ITiL v4 framework to obtain an understanding on how it can be adopted to bridge any gaps and enhance what we, as IT, do; we will focus on the current ITiL V3 guidelines.

The ITiL v3 framework offers the following definition of a service as:

If you are managing a number of IT services, and wish to do so effectively, then please ask yourself how well do you understand and can address the four key components that are defined by the service definition::

Service management can also be classed as a set of organisational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services. Services are designed, deployed, delivered, improved, and retired by using the ITIL v3 service lifecycle.

Services are also described by their utility (‘fit for purpose’) and warranty (‘fit for use’). In order to consistently provide the desired levels of utility and warranty, much care is needed to define the strategy, technical design, and transitioning of the service into operations (to the live environment).

Types of Services

Services can be broadly classified into Customer (business) services and IT (Supporting) services:

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on customer-facing services as opposed to supporting services. 

Service Portfolio / Service Catalogue

Service portfolio management is a process that entails defining the service offerings that are available and ensuring that they meet customer requirements. A working service portfolio contains services that are yet to be offered (Pipeline), services that are currently offered (Live) by IT Services and retired services that are no longer offered.

The Service Catalogue provides the ability to contain critical information in a central repository accessible by both the IT Services and by the Business. The information contained within the Service Catalogue relates to all Services provided by IT Services to the Business.

Introduction of a Service?

The concept of introducing a service to the ‘live’ environment is nothing new. Following the ITiL framework services can be managed through the service catalogue.

Service Introduction however, spans across a number of areas across the ITIL process model, ensuring that the product lifecycle of a service being introduced is aligned with the organisational requirements and organisational operations through service transition.

The Service Introduction Advisory Board (SIAB) is a new body which has been setup and overlooks the service introduction of new, changed (or retired) services.

Like the Change Advisory Board (CAB), SIAB is also a supportive environment that seeks to review and understand the services (new/changed/retired) that are being introduced that not only bring value to the business but is also there to support and ensure the live environment is protected through change management. SIAB helps to ensure that the service being introduced has sufficient support model and resources, including adequate funding from both the business and from within IT to support the product throughout its lifecycle.

More information about SIAB Terms of Reference will follow in separate articles in due course.

For more information about the process please contact Aga Gryz/ Mansoor Butt, Service delivery Team.

It is essential to have a clear understanding of the services IT as an organisation delivers and how it provides value for the customer. Defining services is just one step on the journey, and once defined, the IT Services must manage the service portfolio and service catalogue, identify service owners and other key roles in providing the business with the tools it needs to manage the trade-offs between cost and quality.

What Service Management is Not

Don’t confuse “Service Management” with Customer Service. Service Management is Not Customer Service.

Services are what IT delivers to facilitate business outcomes. Service Management is a framework of capabilities that encompasses every area, function and aspect of IT Service delivery, including strategy, design, transition, operations, and continual improvement.