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Figure 1.1 Resources and capabilities are the basis for value creation

An IT service, used in support of business processes, is constructed from a combination of IT assets and externally provided ‘underpinning’ services. Once in place, an IT service must be supported throughout its ‘life’, during which time it may be modified many times, either through technological innovation, changing business environment, changing usage of the service, changing its service quality parameters, or changing its supporting IT assets or capabilities (e.g. a change in an application software component to provide additional functionality). Eventually the IT service is retired, when business processes no longer have a use for it or it is no longer cost-effective to run. Service Transition is involved in the build and deployment of the service and day-to-day support, and delivery of the service is the role of Service Operation, while Continual Service Improvement implements best practice in the optimize and retire stages.

From this perspective, Service Design can be seen as gathering service needs and mapping them to requirements for integrated services, and creating the design specifications for the service assets needed to provide services. A particular feature of this approach is a strong emphasis on re-use during design.

The main aim of Service Design is to design IT services, together with the governing IT practices, processes and policies, to realize the strategy and to facilitate the introduction of these services into the live environment ensuring quality service delivery, customer satisfaction and cost-effective service provision. Service Design should also design the IT services effectively so that they don’t need a great deal of improvement during their lifecycle. However, continual improvement should be embedded in all Service Design activities to ensure that the solutions and designs become even more effective over time and to identify changing trends in the business that may offer improvement opportunities. Service Design activities can be periodic or exception-based when they may be triggered by a specific business need or event.

If services or processes are not designed they will evolve organically. If they evolve without proper controls, the tendency is simply to react to environmental conditions that have occurred rather than to understand clearly the overall vision and overall needs of the business. Designing to match the anticipated environment is much more effective and efficient, but often impossible – hence the need to consider iterative and incremental approaches to Service Design. Iterative and incremental approaches are essential to ensure that services introduced to the live environment adapt and continue to remain in line with evolving business needs. In the absence of formalized Service Design, services will often be unduly expensive to run, prone to failure, resources will be wasted and services will not be fully aligned to business needs. It is unlikely that any improvement programme will ever be able to achieve what proper design would achieve in the first place. Without Service Design, cost-effective service is not possible. The human aspects of Service Design are also of the utmost importance, and these will be explored in detail later in this publication.


This publication forms part of the overall ITIL Service Management practices and covers the design of appropriate and innovative IT services to meet current and future agreed business requirements. It describes the principles of Service Design and looks at identifying, defining and aligning the IT solution with the business requirements. It also introduces the concept of the Service Design Package and looks at selecting the appropriate Service Design model. The publication also discusses the fundamentals of the design processes and the five aspects of the design:

  • Services
  • Design of Service Management systems and tools, especially the Service Portfolio
  • Technology architectures and management systems
  • Processes
  • Measurement methods and metrics.

The publication covers the methods, practices and tools to achieve excellence in Service Design. It enforces the principle that the initial Service Design should be driven by a number of factors, including the functional requirements, the requirements within the Service Level Agreements (SLAs), the business benefits and the overall design constraints.

Chapter 4 explains the end-to-end process of the areas key to successful Service Design. These processes are utilized by all other stages of the Service Lifecycle, and other processes are taken into account by Service Design. However, it is here that Service Catalogue Management, Service Level Management, Capacity Management, Availability Management, IT Service Continuity Management, Information Security Management and Supplier Management are covered in detail.

The appendices to this publication give examples of the Service Design Package, Service Acceptance Criteria, process documentation templates, design and planning documents, environmental architectures and standards, sample SLAs, OLAs and Service Catalogue and the Service Management process maturity framework.


Service Management

Information technology (IT) is a commonly used term that changes meaning with context. From the first perspective, IT systems, applications, and infrastructure are components or sub-assemblies of a larger product. They enable or are embedded in processes and services. From the second perspective, IT is an organization with its own set of capabilities and resources. IT organizations can be of various types, such as business functions, shared services units, and enterprise-level core units.

From the third perspective, IT is a category of services utilized by business. They are typically IT applications and infrastructure that are packaged and offered as services by internal IT organizations or external service providers. IT costs are treated as business expenses. From the fourth perspective, IT is a category of business assets that provide a stream of benefits for their owners, including but not limited to revenue, income and profit. IT costs are treated as investments.

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