• Defining IT Services: An Overview

    Written by Graham Furnis

    Defining IT Services is central to any IT Service Management (ITSM) approach to managing IT. I always find a lot of interest in this subject when I discuss it; and I also find that organizations are constantly challenged in this area.

    There are many approaches to defining IT Services, but all seem to align with the ITSM concept that IT Services enable and/or improve business processes. This leads us naturally to the following basic steps: 

    1. Identify Business Processes

    2. Define IT Services

    3. Identify IT systems

    4. Identify lower level IT Components

    You’ll notice that “define” is only used when describing IT Services. I assume that we already have a functioning company conducing business and that Business Processes, IT Systems, and IT Components are already in place. So our challenge is to define IT Services in a business live environment. The best approach is to define IT Services top-down, where we first try to understand and differentiate business activities and processes. Without this understanding and awareness, defining IT Services and building a Service Catalog becomes futile. 

    Further to this initial step, it’s critical to get cooperation and involvement from customers and users – after all, these are the people conducting business and making use of IT Services. Business processes and IT Services must be defined from the customer and end user perspectives. Quite often I find that there is a major challenge in getting cooperation and time commitments from customers and end users. This leads me back to some of the articles I’ve written on succeeding in ITSM, where time and time again organizational change management and continual improvement methods are critical to success. 

    This article is just the tip of an iceberg. Ultimately, defining IT Services leads to an actionable Service Catalog, but what business results are you trying to achieve? Beneath the surface is your strategic ITSM plans and roadmap. More on this in future articles.

    Graham Furnis is fully immersed and passionate in providing ITSM solutions. He is a business-driven IT professional with 20+ years of technology and management experience. He is certified as an ITIL Manager and Expert as well as an accredited instructor.

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