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Implementing Service Design

The process, policy and architecture for the design of IT services outlined in this publication will need to be documented and utilized to ensure the appropriate innovative IT services can be designed and implemented to meet current and future agreed business requirements.

The IT Service Management processes outlined in Chapter 4 of this publication and in the other publications in this series will also need to be implemented to ensure service delivery that matches the requirements of the business.

The question often asked is ‘Which process shall I implement first?’ The real answer is all of them, as the true value of implementing all of the Service Management processes is far greater than the sum of the individual processes. All the processes are interrelated, and in some cases are totally dependent on others. What is ultimately required is a single, integrated set of processes, providing management and control of a set of IT services throughout their entire lifecycle.

While recognising that, to get the complete benefit of implementing IT Service Management, all of the processes need to be addressed, it is also recognized that it is unlikely that organizations can do everything at once. It is therefore recommended that the areas of greatest need be addressed first. A detailed assessment needs to be undertaken to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of IT service provision. This should be undertaken by performing customer satisfaction surveys, talking to customers, talking to IT staff and analysing the processes in action. From this assessment, short-, medium- and long-term strategies can be developed.

It may be that ‘quick wins’ need to be implemented in the short term to improve the current situation, but these improved processes may have to be discarded or amended as part of the medium- or long-term strategies. If ‘quick wins’ are implemented, it is important that they are not done at the expense of the long-term objectives, so these must be considered at all times. However, every organization will have to start somewhere, and the starting point will be wherever the organization is now in terms of IT Service Management maturity.

Implementation priorities should be set against the goals of a SIP. For example, if availability of IT services is a critical issue, focus on those processes aimed at maximizing availability (e.g. Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management and Availability Management). Throughout the implementation process, key players must be involved in the decision-making process. These will include receivers as well as providers of the service. There can be a tendency, when analysing the areas of greatest need, to go straight for tools to improve the situation. Workshops or focus groups will be beneficial in understanding the requirements and the most suitable process for implementation that will include people, processes, products and partners.

The first thing to do is to establish a formal process and method of implementation and improvement of Service Design, with the appropriate governance in place. This formal process should be based around the six-stage process illustrated in Figure 8.1. More information can also be found on this process in the Continual Service Improvement publication.

It is important that when implementing or improving processes a structured Project Management method is used. The improvement process can be summarized as, first, understanding the vision by ascertaining the high-level business objectives. The ‘vision-setting’ should set and align business and IT strategies. Second, assessing the current situation to identify strengths that can be built on and weaknesses that need to be addressed. So ‘Where are we now?’ is an analysis of the current position in terms of the business, organization, people and process. Third, ‘Where do we want to be?’ is a development of the principles defined in the vision-setting, agreeing the priorities for improvement, and fourth, detailing the SIP to achieve higher-quality service provision. Next, measurements and metrics need to be put in place to show that the milestones have been achieved and that the business objectives and business priorities have been met. Finally the process should ensure that the momentum for quality improvement is maintained.

The following are key elements for successful alignment of IT with business objectives:

  • Vision and leadership in setting and maintaining strategic direction, clear goals, and measurement of goal realization in terms of strategic direction
  • Acceptance of innovation and new ways of working
  • Thorough understanding of the business, its stakeholders and its environment
  • IT staff understanding the needs of the business
  • The business understanding the potential of IT
  • Information and communication available and accessible to everyone who needs it
  • Separately allocated time to familiarize with the material
  • Continuous tracking of technologies to identify opportunities for the business.

The implementation/improvement cycle is useful in checking the alignment between the business and IT, as shown in Figure 8.1.

Figure 8.1 Implementation/improvement cycle

8.4.1 What is the vision?

The starting point for all of these activities is the culture and environment of the service provider organization. The people and the culture have to be appropriate and acceptable to improvement and change. Therefore, before attempting anything else, the culture within the service provider needs to be reviewed to ensure that it will accept and facilitate the implementation of the required changes and improvements. The following key steps need to be completed to achieve this stage of the cycle:

  • Establish a vision, aligned with the business vision and objectives
  • Establish the scope of the project/programme
  • Establish a set of high-level objectives
  • Establish governance, sponsorship and budget
  • Obtain senior management commitment
  • Establish a culture focused on:
    • Quality
    • Customer and business focus
    • A learning environment
    • Continual improvement
    • Commitment to the ‘improvement cycle’
    • Ownership and accountability.

8.4.2 Where are we now?

Once the vision and high-level objectives have been defined, the service provider then needs to review the current situation, in terms of what processes are in place and the maturity of the organization. The steps and activities that need to be completed here are:

  • A review, assessment or a more formal audit of the current situation, using a preferred technique:
    • An internal review or audit
    • Maturity assessment
    • An external assessment or benchmark
    • An ISO/IEC 20000 audit
    • An audit against COBIT
    • A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis
    • A risk assessment and management methodology
  • The review should include:
    • The culture and maturity of the service provider organization
    • The processes in place and their capability and maturity
    • The skills and competence of the people
    • The services and technology
    • The suppliers, contracts and their capability
    • The quality of service and the current measurements, metrics and KPIs
    • A report summarizing the findings and recommendations.

The review of the culture should include assessing it in terms of the capability and maturity of the culture within the IT service provider organization, as shown in Figure 8.2.

Figure 8.2 Cultural maturity assessment

This assessment should be based on the fact that each growth stage represents a transformation of IT organization and as such will require:

  • Changes in people (skills and competences)
  • Processes and ways of working
  • Technology and tools (to support and enable the people and processes)
  • Steering (the visions, goals and results)
  • Attitude (the values and beliefs)
  • The appropriate level and degree of interaction with the business, stakeholders, customers and users.

The assessment should also include a review of the capability and maturity of the Service Design processes, as shown in Figure 8.3.

Figure 8.3 Process maturity framework

This review and should include all aspects of the processes and their use including the:

  • Vision:steering, objectives and plans
  • Process maturity, functionality, usage, application, effectiveness and efficiency together with ownership, management and documentation
  • People: the roles, responsibilities, skills and knowledge of the people
  • Products, including the tools and technology used to automate the processes
  • Culture: the focus, attitudes and beliefs.

The above framework can be used to provide consistency of process assessment. Assessing these two aspects will determine the current state of the organization and its Service Management capability and maturity. When starting out on the implementation or improvement of Service Design, or any set of processes, it is important to build on the strengths of the existing cultures and processes and rapidly identify and improve the weaknesses. A more detailed explanation of this framework is contained in Appendix H.

8.4.3 Where do we want to be?

Based on the current state assessment, and the vision and high-level objectives, a future desired state can be defined. This should be expressed in terms of planned outcomes, including some or all of:

  • Improved IT service provision alignment with total business requirements
  • Improved quality of Service Design
  • Improvements in service levels and quality
  • Increases in customer satisfaction
  • Improvements in process performance.

8.4.4 How do we get there?

A set of improvements should then be identified to move forward from the current state to the agreed future state. A plan to implement these improvements should then be developed, incorporating Service Transition and Service Operation, and should include:

  • The improvement actions
  • The approach to be taken and the methods to be used
  • Activities and timescales
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Resources and budgets
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Monitoring, measurement and review.

8.4.5 How can we tell when we have got there?

Often organizations instigate improvement initiatives without considering or designing the measurement system from the outset. The success of the initiative cannot, therefore, be ascertained because we have no benchmark before, during or after the implementation. It is imperative that the measurements are designed before the implementation. A defined set of metrics needs to be utilized in order to ensure that the desired future state is achieved. This desired future state needs to be expressed in measurable terms such as:

  • X% reduction in Service Design non-conformances
  • X% increase in customer satisfaction
  • X% increase in the service availability of critical services.

Thus once the improvement actions and plans have been completed, checks and reviews should be completed in order to determine:

  • Did we achieve our desired new state and objectives?
  • Are there any lessons learnt and could we do it better next time?
  • Did we identify any other improvement actions?

8.4.6 How do we keep going?

Having improved, we now need to consolidate and move on. The organization and the culture must recognize that we can always get better, and therefore must establish an environment of continual improvement. So, once we have achieved the new desired state, we must review the vision and objectives, identify more improvement actions and repeat the six-stage process again. So this stage is all about:

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