The purpose of Service Operation is to organize and conduct the activities and processes needed to deliver services to business users at agreed levels of service. Additionally, Service Operation is responsible for the ongoing management of the technology (both infrastructure and applications) that is utilized to deliver and support the services.
Service Operation is the balancing act. It is not just a matter of carrying out the processes on a day to day basis. There is a dynamic ‘debate’ that is taking place on four levels. These are known as the Four Balances of Service Operation:
• Internal IT view versus external business view: The external business view of IT will relate to the services delivered to users and customers while, internally within IT, those services will be viewed as a number of components. Individuals or teams responsible for the running of particular components may not understand how their components fit into the overall delivery of a particular service. If an organization is too externally focused, there is the risk that agreements will be made with the business that cannot be actually delivered due to a lack of understanding of how the internal constituent parts need to operate. Conversely, an organization that is too internally focused is likely to struggle to understand and deliver business requirements.
• Stability versus responsiveness: Changes are frequently the causes of Incidents and loss of availability, so it may be tempting to limit the number of changes in order to boost the stability of services. However, changes will always be needed in order to keep service up to date and to adapt to evolving business needs. The balance is between being able to speedily respond to changes and focusing on the stability of the infrastructure.
• Quality of service versus cost of service: There will always be pressures to boost the quality of IT services while controlling costs. Intense budgetary pressures may lead to reduced levels of service with more failures and less support. On the other hand, organizations out of balance on the ‘other side’ may be paying too much for their services with resilience built in that cannot be justified. The key is to have a meaningful dialogue over costs ensuring that the business fully understands what it gets and does not get for a certain amount of money and what it would get if it spent a bit less or a bit more.
• Reactive versus proactive: An extremely proactive organization will always be predicting where things could go wrong and taking action to mitigate or prevent the situation. Taken to the extreme, such organizations may over monitor and apply unnecessary changes. Conversely, organizations that are purely reactive spend most of their time ‘firefighting’ and dealing with situations as they arise, and they need to move more to the ‘fire prevention’ approach of predicting and avoiding Incidents and Problems.
The Value of Service Operation
Each of the stages of the ITIL Service Lifecycle adds and provides value to the business. Service Operation does this by carrying out the processes and running the services as intended by the Service Strategy, Service Design and Service Transition stages of the Lifecycle. Service Operation is the visible face of the IT organization and is the ‘nearest’ to the users and customers. Effective and efficient delivery of service is what is expected of Service Operation.
Remember the www.abcbank.com website example in the introduction chapter of Service Operation?
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