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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Service Functions and Processes

In the ITIL context a Function is a structural part of an organization (e.g. a division or a business unit) established to do specific things. For example, the Service Desk is a Function that is created to perform defined activities and produce specified outcomes. People within a function have defined roles that they perform to deliver the outcomes required. By their nature, functions are specialized and have their own disciplines, skills, performance measures and knowledge base. Functions perform activities that are elements of Processes. Individual Functions may perform an entire Process or, quite commonly, share Processes with other Functions.

A team or group of people and the tools they use to carry out one or more Processes or activities is called a Function

A process consists of a set of coordinated activities using resources and capabilities to produce an outcome, which, directly or indirectly, creates value for an external customer or stakeholder.

Every process consists of a number of elements. A process takes inputs and transforms them, using the appropriate enablers, to produce the required outputs in a closed-loop system that allows for feedback and improvement. Process control ensures that consistent repeatable processes are established, regulated and managed so that their performance is effective and efficient.

A Process is a structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A Process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. A Process may include any of the Roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs. A Process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions if they are needed.

Characteristics of a Process:

Processes are usually initiated by an event or trigger, transform inputs into outputs through a series of activities carried out by people or systems with specific roles with procedures or work instructions. It makes use of organization resources and capabilities as process enablers. It is has an owner responsible for it. It has documented policy, terms of reference and objectives, and it is controlled to ensure it meets its specified purpose. The process is measured against defined metrics to determine how effectively it is operating and the results are fed back to drive continual improvement

The Main Qualities that you expect from a Process are:
Measurable - We must be able to measure the Process. The performance of the Process is incredibly important. Managers will want to measure the cost and quality. People involved operationally with the Process are concerned with how long it takes and how easy it is to use.
Specific results - A Process exists in order to deliver a specific result, which must be identifiable and countable.
Customers - Each Process delivers its main results to a customer or stakeholder, who may be internal or external, and the results must meet their expectations.
Responds to a specific event - Each Process, whether it is ongoing or iterative, will have a specific trigger.

A Real Life Example:

Let us take a real life example “A Teller Accepting Cash Deposits from a Customer in a Bank”

Measurement – The Bank Management will want to ensure quality. Transactions are correctly recorded, customer is not made to wait for long etc

Results – The cash is collected from the Customer and deposited into his/her bank account

Customer – The person who wants to make a deposit into his/her bank account. Customers usually don’t like to be kept waiting. So, it is important that the teller work quickly to reduce customer wait time. At the same time, the teller must ensure that the money is deposited into the correct bank account

Trigger – The Arrival of the Customer at the Tellers Counter.

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