As noted here previously, there are numerous words, phrases, and acronyms which are either unique to the IT service management and ITIL world, or have a specific meaning within those contexts.
To help clarify these terms and concepts, Kinetic Data has compiled definitions for nearly 60 items in our ITIL – ITSM glossary.
But the IT discipline is constantly evolving, with new practices, technology, concepts, models, trends and ideas being introduced. Reflecting these ongoing changes, four new entries were recently added to the glossary of ITSM terms.
Here are a few sample definitions from the glossary of ITSM terms.
Agile Service Management
A methodology for providing users with the ability to order and obtain physical items or resolution of issues in a manner that permits new offerings to be defined and added to the system quickly; that makes it easy to change existing items; and that allows new items to be added iteratively, starting with one or a small set of offerings and scaling to large numbers of varied items. With an agile approach to service request management, new service items can be defined an added to the system iteratively, allowing for “quick wins,” rather than requiring an extended effort followed by a “big bang” release of a large, complex catalog of business services all at once. Agile service request management also provides the flexibility to easily accommodate changing user needs, such as modifying or expanding existing service offerings to support mobile users.
Business Service Catalog
Extending the concept of providing a portal interface in which physical items or issue-resolution processes are defined and can be requested by users, from IT-related items only to all functional departments across an organization. Though the concept of service catalogs began in IT as a recommendation of ITIL, these are now evolving into enterprise or business service catalogs per Forrester Research. Accordingly, the architecture of enterprise service catalogs is evolving to accommodate a wider range of service offerings than just IT services; to enable non-technical business function managers to define and optimize their own service fulfillment task workflow processes; and to scale to the enterprise level. This evolution extends the benefits of service catalogs across the business.
Variously defined as an integrated set of IT best practices recommendations, a framework for accepted IT service management best practices, and a set of documents designed to improve IT service delivery. ITIL provides an extensive set of IT management procedures designed to improve the efficiency, timeliness and quality of IT services delivery. The library was first developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), a U.K. government agency. It is now managed by the U.K. Office of Government Commerce (OGC). ITIL V3 consists of five core documents: IT Service Design, IT Service Introduction, IT Service Operations, IT Service Improvement and IT Service Strategies. One key element of ITIL service delivery recommendations is the establishment of an easy-to-use, dynamic IT service catalog; Kinetic Request service catalog software supports implementation of an enterprise-wide service catalog by providing service request management functionality coupled with backend process automation via Kinetic Task.
IT Service Management (ITSM)
An approach to managing large-scale IT systems and processes focusing on the customer perspective of service delivery (as opposed to technology-centric), and promoted by ITIL best practices. ITSM is a framework for continual improvement in the IT services delivery process, much as CMM is focused on application development. Effective IT service management integrates technology with people and processes in a manner that supports industry best practices, such as implementation of a service catalog.
When you are standing at the base of a mountain, it’s usually impossible to see the true peak. You will see “a” peak in front of you, but upon reaching that summit, you’ll see another “peak” higher up, and upon scaling that one, another…until eventually, you reach an elevation from which you can see the actual top of the mountain.
So it is with service catalogs. They were originally defined in ITIL as “an exhaustive list of IT services that an organization provides or offers to its employees or customers.” According to Wikipedia, each service item within an IT service catalog typically includes:
A description of the service
A categorization or service type
Any supporting or underpinning services
Timeframes or service level agreement for fulfilling the service
Who is entitled to request/view the service
Costs (if any)
How to request the service and how its delivery is fulfilled
Escalation points and key contacts
Hours of service availability
While that’s a useful list, notice that none of these bullet points necessarily describe attributes of only IT services; a service description, timeframes, costs, etc. just as readily apply to services from human resources (e.g., a PTO request), facilities (e.g, reserving a meeting room), finance, marketing, or any other internal shared services group.
Service catalogs are still often thought of as “IT software” because that is the way most vendors have viewed them, built them, and sold them. They only see the first “peak” near the base of the mountain, and that’s all they show to customers.
Once those customers reach the first peak, however, they are able to “see higher up the mountain”—but the software they’ve invested in isn’t designed to let them climb any higher.
The result is that service catalogs are used only in IT. Other functional groups (HR, facilities, finance, etc.) each have their own systems and processes for handling requests. The onus is thus on employees to determine which department (or departments, in the case of complex requests) are responsible for service request fulfillment, which systems and processes to therefore use, and how to use each system or process—as well as to “manage” their request from initiation through fulfillment.
There is a better approach, both in terms of improving the user experience and in reducing cross-departmental service delivery costs. Take the service catalog concept to the next peak (and the next, and the next). View it as business software, not just IT software.
Forrester Research recommends rethinking the IT service catalog “as a higher-level entity called the business service catalog.” In the enterprise request management (ERM) approach, employees have one single, intuitive, web-based portal for ordering any type of business shared service. Users have one simple system for initiating and monitoring the status of requests, with no need to understand all of the departments, approvals and processes involved. Enterprises get increased first-time fulfillment, time and cost savings, and visibility into actual service levels and delivery times.
Don’t let anyone limit your vision. You’ve got higher peaks to conquer.
Today is the final day of the early bird special for the Kinetic Enthusiasts Group (KEG) 2013 event, to be held once again at the beautiful Inverness Hotel in Denver.
The keynote speaker for this year’s conference will be Eveline Oehrlich, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. Evenline’s areas of focus at Forrester include information technology infrastructure library (ITIL), the implementation of IT service management, business service management (BSM), and many other aspects of IT operations. In this role, she offers strategic guidance to help enterprises worldwide manage their networks and systems, define key projects that focus on IT service management, and bridge IT to the lines of business.
Last year, attendees came to KEG to learn more about products like the Kinetic Task workflow automation engine, get new ideas for use of service requests, and to discuss the future direction of Kinetic Data products.
This year’s conference will feature sessions on moving from a queue-based model to a schedule-based approach for service desks, creating blueprints for service items, connecting service items in a parent-child relationship within a service request, and much more.