Thursday, 18 April 2013

Service portfolios and service catalogs

Now a session on the Art and Science of Service Portfolios and Catalogues.

IT organisations are transitioning to service based organisations. The service portfolio is critical to this. Defines what you are trying to optimise and is a critical communication tool, especially with senior executives. Also important for IT staff in terms of what it is the IT organising is optimising.

Need to be very clear about why we are doing this, what is it we're trying to do. Also, don't copy somebody else's! Don't do it bottom up. Don't creat the service catalogue first, or you will create a technical service list. Needs to be top down to create a service portfolio.

Why is service management important? IT is a service organisation. It cannot optimise what it does not manage.

What is a service? An action that delivers a benefit to a recipient. Hardware and applications are not services. It's an action, not a thing. There has to be a recipient - a buyer or a consumer. Also, must be a benefit and you must be able to articulate it. Service typically made up of 3 components, a technology, people and processes. But, doesn't have to have all, eg project management, very high value but doesn't involve a technology.
For example, eMail is not a service. Communication and collaboration is the service. That's what we need to optimise. Email is a technology.

Traditional IT based organisation supply drive, very technology and asset centric, inward looking, insulated and monopolistic, cost obsessed.
IT service based organisation is demand driven, internal customer centric, process based, competitive and engaged, service obsessed.

In a service based organisation, process improvements have to be correlated to required service outcomes and outcomes have to be measured with SLAs. Staff need relationship and business expertise, as well as technical and process expertise. Strategic multi sourcing important. Also need good costing models. Anything that is free or seen to be free is undervalued by the organisation.

Relationship managers are trusted and strategic advisors.
Product management also key, responsible for service end to end and defines the improvement path.

Services should be expressed in terms of the ultimate end customer. Need to collectively agree who the real end customer is. That's who the service portfolio is aimed at. Other parts of the IT organisation are not the end customers.

Have to be careful that you are improving services not processes. Change management , incident management, problem management, etc all important and have to improve them, but can only go so far with them.

Difference between service portfolio and service catalogue? Hierarchically related. SP is a strategic value-based description of the IT depts mission, role and capabilities. Contains roughly 15 things. No mention of technology or vendors. Ignore IT department boundaries and think about the whole service to the customer.

SC is an operational tool, aimed at day to day use, transactionally orientated, should simplify service requests from customers. Can mention technology.

Typical items frequently masquerading as services:
Email, network monitoring, security, videoconferencing, PCs, printing.
All important, but reinforces the message that It manages the technology and the asset. Underselling ourselves, and missing what the organisation actually wants.

A business value orientated service portfolio would include things such as communication services, workplace services, project management.

Value statements are important in setting out the portfolio. Aimed at senior executives, so need to think about how they see value. Some examples, Employee retention, employee productivity, reduced risk.
Must be explicit, meaningful, defensible, measurable, differentiating, crisp and memorable.
Structure could be:
Action .... in order to..... deliver benefit
Anytime anywhere work capabilities in order to improve job satisfaction, reduce travel expenses.
Then think about whether you have meaningful SLAs for them.


Build portfolio from scratch. Don't copy generic examples
Don't ask a customer to provide your value statements
Build a catalogue only after creating a portfolio. If you've created a service catalogue first, set it aside and go back and write the value based portfolio.
Don't publish portfolio until its polished
Refresh it annually
Remember both the portfolio and catalogue are user tools, and are not there for the convenience of IT!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Dominic said...

Made very interesting listening, I even think I understand the differences now. Not sure how long it will take me to stop referring to a service the wrong way.

boothbie said...

really interesting read. email is not a service! i'll have a look at how this way of thinking might inform our catalogue and portfolio

Chris Sexton said...

yes it was a very interesting session, and made me think about how we'd approached our service catalogue.