Raiders of the Lost Service Description
A while back I had my key note speech at the ITSM Työkalupäivät (=tooling day) event in Helsinki. The red thread of the speech was to share my experiences from the past as an ITSM software reseller and “out-of-the-box” software consultant. I started my presentation by sharing my non-scientific thoughts about the evolution of software sales. My example focused on Finland, but based on my experience I know that the same applies on many other European country as well.
Not to recap the session itself, but to use intentional bridge, now jumping to the point of this blog.
A question that service factory people are nowadays often, or at least should be, asking is “What is a service?”. Not an easy one as “the service” might be: business service, service, supporting service, core service, service package, service offering, technical service, or something else (you name it).
Tough question, as most of the people within service factories could not care less of the terms and the frameworks.
As an answer to this tough question of “What is a service?”, I have seen tool & consultancy vendors responding with their interpretation of
- complete SIAM, SMO approaches,
- the value chain approach of IT4IT
- and some even with the hype term of ESM.
Maybe the exact question is not as I provocatively placed it, but in everyday life I meet situations where service factory people try to fix and organize their service delivery engine with good frameworks although they have not even clarified what is the service they provide. And that is where trouble starts. To improve manageability and efficiency, service organizations tend to focus on finding ways to organize themselves in a better way. I do not think that alone is the right way to achieve results. Most of the people in service factories could not care less of the terms and the frameworks – they just do their daily work and then go back home. That’s it and it will always be. The frameworks mentioned above all target to organizing particular work in the most efficient way.
How the heck can you organize if you do not know what services your customers need and why they consume those?
A service factory will not ever reach the holy grail of manageable, efficient and good services if it only focuses on organizing its work. How the heck can you organize if you do not understand what services your customers need and why they consume those? To do it right, every factory should first understand THEIR place in the service ecosystem, write THEIR definition of THEIR services for THEIR customers.
In its simplest form writing a service description is about mapping current needs of current customer(s) to current capability of current factory. To write a description of a service it is required to
- Understand who is customer
- Locate the place of the factory in the picture
- Document the factory’s value proposition and the existing agreement with the customer.
It is that simple! Once the services have their description, it is time to go back and start looking into manageability and efficiency of the factory. And with this task, SIAM, SMO, ESM and IT4IT provide great amount of wisdom and help.