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What are ITIL Services

April 18, 2008

Best practice frameworks, and ITIL in particular, use a service management model to define what is delivered to end users and to the business. We see this approach when we buy telephone, cable TV, Internet, and voicemail services. What is new here is the delivery of all of IT within a service framework. An important footnote is that IT services cannot be as generic as their telecommunications counterparts, but must be customized.

A key requirement for an IT service is that it is easily identifiable. It doesn’t make sense, for example, for a user to be evaluating a service such as “Microsoft Windows Operating System” when this is not an entity that is tangible for the average user. “Corporate E-mail,” on the other hand, is easily understood. gives examples of typical IT services that might be found in an SME:

Service

Description

Components

Corporate E-mail

Service of end-user accounts using MS Outlook and MS Exchange.

Desktop hardware, MS Outlook client, MS Exchange mail server, storage devices, security software, automated monitoring, network devices, virus protection software, SPAM control, 24/7 help desk facility, onsite service staff.

Wireless PDA Service

Hosting and quality-controlled delivery of BlackBerry wireless network applications.

Client device (e.g. RIM BlackBerry), wireless carrier service, server hardware, application hosting, automated monitoring, network devices, storage, virus protection software, spam control, 24/7 help desk facility, onsite service staff.

ERP Application

Hosting and quality-controlled delivery of Navision ERP application.

Application server, integration server, storage devices, security software, automated monitoring, network devices, virus protection software, spam control, 24/7 help desk facility, onsite service staff.

Each service has many components, and each of them have much in common — they all use the corporate network, a desktop device, a back-office infrastructure, and other IT amenities. There are also patches, plug-ins, and other elements that are unique. However, when it comes to delivering corporate e-mail, the user shouldn’t have to worry about any of this, just as the owner of a car doesn’t have to be concerned with wheel bearings and engine parts. Similarly, the business stakeholder should have easy access to information such as what e-mail is costing per user, or what the cost might be of improving that service. Being able to continuously improve the service, and assess the cost of making the service more reliable, is where best practices come in.

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