Over the last several years organizations have begun to see the value of defining and reporting against business services. However there has been some confusion around what constitutes business services and what constitutes a technical service. What are the differences and where do we, as IT professionals, draw the line between? More importantly, how do we explain the difference to the business?
Before we define the differences between the two we need to ensure that we have defined and understand what Business Service Management (also called Business Services Management) is. As defined by ITIL v3 Service Design volume 4.1.3, "Business Services Management (BSM) provides a central source of information on the IT services delivered by the service provider organization. This ensures that all areas of the business can view an accurate, consistent picture of the IT services, their details and their status." As noted in the definition, technical services are key to BSM. However, business services are not defined in the definition.
Business services are a set of business activities engaged at the business process layer. The context of a business service is defined by the business and is further defined by business processes (the actual workflow) that make up the service. An example of a business service is "order to cash." An IT business service that would support "order to cash" is, as an example could be "supply chain service." To enable the business service and subsequently the IT business service, "supply chain service" could be serviced by an application such as SAP. The next level down would be an IT infrastructure service. An example of this type of service could be networking, hosting, databases, etc. While these high-level definitions provide some context on the different services it should be understood that defining business and IT services can be a laborious undertaking that requires commitment from both business and IT organizations.
In my next blog, I will discuss in more detail the variables of a business service and visualizing it from a top-down approach.
About the author
Brian Sanders, Client Principal – Evergreen Systems
Brian has almost 15 years of IT experience. Brian started his career as a Unix/VMS engineer and Oracle DBA. After being an engineer for several years Brian moved into the infrastructure design space and process engineering. Currently Brian's focus is IT strategy and IT business value.