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Wednesday, March 13, 2002

 

Service is the Game. In today's Notes from the Field entry I discussed IT services and the emerging models that have been designed to standardize and/or add structure to service level management. My focus in that entry was service level management as it related to outsourcing and contracts. Here I'm going to concentrate on more general aspects of service level management, and also discuss the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which is the UK standard that encompasses it.

Service Foundations. First I want to add to Mike's earlier entries that provided balanced scorecard material. The document titled Balanced Scorecard for IT contains advice and strategy for measuring services provided by IT. Another document that gives a solid foundation to any service level management initiative is Production Environment Engineering, which is a topic near and dear because I spent most of my professional life in production services.

Chicken or Egg? Do you begin with Service Management Essentials or with SLA Specifications? Neither - it's a trick question. You start with an understanding of the basics, and with a framework, then build out from there.

Building Blocks. A starting place is Introduction to Service Management, and is reinforced by an example using real service management processes that were implemented by Bangalore Labs.

Quality and service management go together. Quality Framework for ITIL does an excellent job of explaining the basics of the ITIL, and also uncovers the essential quality ingredients that need to be present in any service management process, regardless of the model used. The flexibility of the ITIL approach is shown in Hewlett-Packard's Service Management Reference Model, which is based on the ITIL approach. You can learn much about how to apply ITIL processes and practices by reading this document.

As you dig deeper into the ITIL (and you should if you're serious about service management), then you'll find the ITIL glossary to be a handy reference to terminology you'll encounter. If you're involved in business continuity planning, which was raised to a highly visible activity after 11 September, the whitepaper titled Interfacing ITIL Change Management and Contingency Planning shows the close interrelationship between business continuity planning and service level management at a high level, and how specifically the ITIL approach supports BCP.

A mature look at service level management for advanced practitioners is discussed in Policy-Based IT Service Management.

Parting Note. I've only just discovered the IT Comfort Reference Model. It's poorly named, in my opinion, because it has nothing to do with ergonomics (which is implied) and everything to do with service management. I only briefly browsed through the site, but it does look interesting and is certainly slanted towards the ITIL.