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ITIL v3, service lifecycle

So this image shows the service lifecycle.  If you google image search this you’ll find a ton.  I am intrigued by the rigorous approach to this.  In higher ed things, to me, seem to have been pretty casual.

ITIL takes a formal approach to the creation (defining it and identifying requirements), then moving into the live environment (I still remember when we didn’t have test systems, only production), and lastly operation and improvement (something often neglected, make it and let it run and forget it).

Service Strategy

So my little guide says that a service provider has to realize the people, or customers, don’t buy things but instead they buy to satisfy a need.  I like that thinking.  I’ve always been very people-centered, or user-centered, or customer-centered (if I am to evolve my language) so this resonates.  I can see how IT shops can miss the mark when they aim for the most whiz-bang website possible and should instead be aiming for a website that does what its users need.  Of course the motivation here is to provide something people want and pay for.  This means you have to understand who your users, urm customers (still working on that), are.

All this exists within a context of an organization which has its own culture.  And the service provider does serve the mission of the greater organization.  We also have to remember that our customers (there, I did it) have a choice which means we have competition.

In higher ed, so many schools have outsourced student email and many have done the same for faculty and staff.  Why?  The university is no longer the provider of email, much how it stopped being the provider of internet service years ago.  Email used to serve the need of the university to communicate both within and without the institution.  Now commercial providers are better and everyone can have email from the day they can type and navigate a computer.  Email is not a strategic service anymore.  IT is better served to focus its resources, often reduced or at best holding stable, on services that serve the strategic mission of the university.  Outsourcing email is not free, but it helps redirect resources where they can best impact student learning.

So, there may come a point where a service needs to be abandoned and given to the competition.

Conquering ITIL v3

I’m starting to learn about ITIL v3 and I seem to learn best by writing and processing the material.  First I’m starting with a pocket guide to get the essential concepts.  ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and it is a means to manage services.  But what is a service in this context?

“A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.”

So you want to help people achieve something without them bearing some of the burdens, and how you help is through a service.  There is an assumption that the service may have a cost to the people using it.  Since the service is providing something people want there is a value placed on it — do the costs and value align?

“Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.”

Now “specialized organizational capabilities” is pretty vague.  Those are all the things that surround the service relating to its delivery. I’ll probably get to those later.

ITIL provides IT governance, has a measurement and improvement aspect and takes into account the customer perspective.  Oh, and ITIL was developed in the UK which gets my interest — so many of my favorite things have come from that little island.

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