ITIL Service Strategy Should Be Your First Thought

As Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has grown in popularity in government and private industry since the 1990’s here in the US, one would think that Service Strategy would be the phase of the service lifecycle that gained equal attention or more than the other service lifecycle phases. However, many organizations cover this phase quickly without a formal documented methodology that would maximize the value of services delivered to customers. Likewise, the Service Design phase often lacks the attention necessary to ensure that customers are receiving the value that services were originally intended to provide. With no more or less importance, many organizations spend the majority of their resources and time on the Service Transition and the Service Operations phases.

While focusing specifically on the Transition and Operation phases certainly comes with its perception of greatest immediate value, especially when thinking about the details involved in how to deliver services and measure their results, it is vital that organizations understand that to get the most innovation and benefit out of the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) framework, it is crucial that they give each phase a proportionate amount of attention. Without applying enough attention to ITIL’s core component (Service Strategy), the IT organization will lack a true and thorough understanding of why services are administered when it comes to meeting the organization’s true business needs and objectives. Ultimately, by executing a formal Service Strategy methodology, end users or customers of IT services will have an increased likelihood of experiencing the best possible value from delivered services including their support activities.

To ensure that an effective and formal process for Service Strategy is created within an organization, it is important that proper training is delivered to the right levels of management and support staff that will be associated with the strategic planning, execution and control of the strategy processes. ITIL Service Strategy training will ensure that personnel understand the concepts, processes, functions and responsibilities involved with developing a formal roadmap for increased customer value through strategic service development.

As I mentioned in a previous article, “ITSM Determines the Fate of Your Organization,” an ITSM process or program will only be as good as the obtainable standardized guidelines it follows.” If an organization chooses to skip phases of the lifecycle, or focus on one more than another, it is likely that there will be service issues realized by the customer, disorganization and chaos within service delivery, or in general a lack of understanding of how to correct operational challenges that could potentially be avoided by implementing better ITSM.

What is the purpose of the Service Strategy Phase?

The purpose of the ITIL Service Strategy phase is to do just that, foster strategic thought, and enable management to understand how and why services are needed to enhance the value of services delivered to customers. Furthermore, taking the time to develop a strategy (plan), to help an IT organization meet business goals is highly important. Inevitably, by allotting more time to this phase, an IT organization will have a firm understanding of business goals, needs, and objectives (and also that of the customer’s). Additionally, the IT organization, including its support staff, will gain a firm understanding of how they contribute to meeting those goals, needs, and objectives.

What are some objectives of the Strategy Phase?

In addition to encouraging an IT organization to think strategically, other objectives of the Service Strategy phase include helping your organization to:

  • Understand how they affect your organization’s future and longevity.
  • Comprehend how they provide beneficial services to your customers or the organization.
  • Know which service requests are the most important for customers or for the organization.
  • Provide services that are seen as invaluable by customers or the organization.

With increased emphasis on the Service Strategy phase, or even not skipping it completely, IT management and staff will be thinking critically, and strategically, and will have an understanding of why Service Strategy deserves equal attention relative to other service lifecycle phases.

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