servicesSteps to Defining an IT Service

IT service definition is an most important step in service management, but it is often left to last. No wonder so many initiatives meet with limited success. No wonder so many initiatives meet with limited success. If you do not get this fundamental step right, the odds are that your entire initiative will go down in flames. However, while all of these books and technology areas use the word service and purport to manage IT services, none of them describes the nuts and bolts of how to define a service.

These are the necessary step for performing IT services:

Step 1: Select an Enterprise Product and Identify Supporting Services
The first step in the process is to select an enterprise product and identify the IT service(s) that support the delivery of this product to end-customers. Your enterprise product is the primary enterprise output, what is sold to customers.

Step 2: List All Related IT Systems
The second step is to create a list of all IT systems relating to the support of the enterprise product. These are NOT hardware or software. Rather, they are often major applications that help sell, provision, service, and support your enterprise product. They often combine people, product, and process resources and their name is usually not technical, but rather, functional. Examples include CRM or ERP, or even “email” or phones.

Step 3: Mark IT Services as CFS or RFS
The next step in the process is to identify the services as either CFS or RFS. Remember that enterprise products are composed of and/or supported by CFSs and customers acquire CFSs from IT. In contrast, RFSs are used only inside of IT to build CFSs. Not all IT systems can be classified as CFS or RFS. Some are resources, and some are functional  such as the Help Desk or Service Desk

Also note that a CFS can be an RFS, and vice versa, depending on how the consumer of the service gets the service from IT. For example, an application hosting service might be a CFS to a customer who just wants hosting and it might be an RFS in a CFS to a web-hosted application provider.

Step 4: Map RFS to CFS
The next step is to map RFSs to CFSs. Remember that more than one RFS is typically used to deliver a CFS. Resources create RFSs, and RFSs create the CFS. Think of RFSs as the glue between the resources and the CFS. Remember that users and customers are generally unaware of an RFS. It is common to have one RFS used by many CFSs. For example, consider the IT systems responsible for database backup or storage. These systems contribute to most other IT services, including other RFSs.

Step 5: Identify the Resources that Make Up the Resource Facing Services
Resources are investments made to produce CFSs and RFSs. Examples of resources include radios, servers, towers, networks, call centers, etc. Resources are individual items such as hardware, software, people, etc. that combine as a system. Many RFSs and by extension CFSs share resources. Do not be surprised to see the same resources and RFS used several times.

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