Services discipline makes the tested and validated development outcomes accessible to users via a service release. Services discipline ensures the operational readiness with the service delivery ecosystem and validates that user support and services are in place with required skills and capacity.
Figure 6.0.1 Services discipline
From the business perspective the services discipline has three major objectives:
- Business continuity to minimise the number of major incidents and downtime cost of business technology. Major incident means that a business-critical product, solution or service is not working properly and disturbs the business continuity often with costly effects
- Improved user experience by collecting and analysing user feedback, making continual small improvements and having continual dialog with the development teams related to bigger improvements
- Cost efficiency by squeezing the run phase costs via consolidation and negotiating the commercial terms. Most of the business technology costs relate to the run phase and as the cost of underlying technology evolve constantly, cost efficiency requires a continual effort.
Global megatrends impact the services
Global megatrends such as cloudification, globalisation and individualisation have an impact on the services requiring them to become centrally managed. In the early stage this was done by consolidating the services with sourcing deals and later by using global cloud service providers. Digitalisation in its current scale-up phase also increases the diversity. Many innovative products and solutions are created by smaller companies able to provide agile and unique service. This sets a challenge to the services discipline as the service consumers expect simple, intuitive and unified support processes.
Figure 6.0.2 Global megatrends impact the services
What is a business technology service?
Business technology service consumers are served with impression and touchpoints to have access to processes, applications and data which encompasses the underlying platforms, integrations and infrastructure. If any of these components fails, the whole service is failing. Therefore, the management of the service is essential even if the service consumers usually perceive only the concrete results of the services.
To be productive within the organisation and successful in digital business, it is crucial to assure an integrated and harmonised service experience regardless of what are the underpinning elements or who are the actual service providers. At the same time, there is need for agile and responsive solution and service development.
Figure 6.0.3 Business Technology service
Core elements of the services discipline
The core elements of service management consist of activities focusing on management, release and delivery of the services.
Management of the services:
- Service portfolio steering is a set of activities and strategic decisions ensuring that the business is provided with the right set of services now and in the future and that the service performance is on an appropriate level
- Service catalogue illustrates the available services in a visual and appealing way. Complete service catalogue is formed of an overview of business technology services, service brochures and service and order request catalogue implemented in service management and operations platform
- Service Integration focuses on optimising, harmonising and integrating service operations performed by several (internal and external) service providers. It unifies service processes and quality assurance for a greater service experience and decreases the operational costs.
Delivery of the services:
- Service release ensures that the business processes remain intact when a new or modified solution is introduced into operation. This will provide the capability and capacity to respond rapidly with a greater certainty of success
- Operational readiness verifies that the services meet the predefined operational readiness criteria
- Service operations ensures an efficient delivery of services without interruptions. Service providers (external or internal) are responsible for professional service delivery
- Service and support to service consumers is responsible for day-to-day guidance, and the resolution of service requests and issues. Service desk (physical or digital) acts as a single point of contact for the service consumers. Questions that cannot be resolved by the service desk are assigned to respective service providers (external or internal)
- Service management and operations platform has central role in enabling integrity, efficiency and automation. It binds together all the elements of service management, development and delivery
- Service automation increases the productivity and lowers the operational costs.
Embedding industry development practices
Business Technology Standard provides a pragmatic and business focused reference model that enables the adoption of development practices. The standard is flexible to evolve with the organisations of all maturity levels and can integrate practices such as ITIL, SIAM and DevOps. Some examples of service management practices are the following:
- ITIL providing a comprehensive reference set for managing services and processes
- SIAM (Service Integration and Management) providing organisations with a management methodology to control the ecosystems and a structure to add and remove service providers quickly and efficiently, with practices and culture that drive collaborative behaviour
- DevOps (Develop and Operate) can be implemented on a smaller scale as it contains less built-in steering and governance procedures. DevOps is a good practice for dedicated incremental development.