Tuesday, February 27, 2007
IT Service Catalog Examples
Someone recently reminded me that it is always easier to edit than to create from scratch.
So in keeping with the release of our New Book on the importance of the IT Service Catalog I thought the readers of this blog might appreciate some links to examples available on the web.
However, before you go on to navigate the links in search of example service definitions I want to qualify that these links do not necessarily represent the best practices we discuss in our book. That being said they do provide you with a glimpse at some real organizations that are kind enough to put their cookies on the table for all to sample.
I trust that you find these sites useful
Important Note: Pink has just released an exciting new Online Education Offering Service Catalog Implementation Overview. Receive practical guidance, an online version of our Service Catalog Book and useful templates.
I am rarely happier than when spending entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that it would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand. ~Douglas Adams
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The Thee Natures & Customers of the IT Service Catalog
Recently I co-wrote a book with Rodrigo Flores and Bill Fine of NewScale called “Defining IT Success Through the Service Catalog”
One of the key elements of this book is the explanation that the Service Catalog has three distinct natures and three different customer roles.
Until you realize this, you will probably have a limited view of the purpose and importance of this critical success factor for developing an IT Service Architecture.
Three Natures of the Service Catalog:
- Constitutive: First and foremost the service catalog is constitutive, in that it defines what IT does and does not do, and on what terms. As the constitution of a country lays down the guiding principles of how the society will operate the Service Catalog clearly articulates for both IT and its customers the guiding principles as well as the details of what, how and to who services are delivered.
By its constitutive nature the Service Catalog is used as a starting point in support of open discussion and dialog on how IT can support the needs of its business customers.
- Actionable: In order for the Service Catalog to be of use on an ongoing basis to the customer community it must do more than provide a platform for publishing information about IT Services. Research shows that unless the IT Service Catalog enables and automates the IT request and order fulfillment processes the chances of its ongoing adoption as a useful and meaningful tool is less then 4%. In short the service catalog is best understood as an online tool for browsing and ordering IT Services.
- Governing: As suggested by ITIL best practices, the Service Catalog documents the details of how and when IT services are delivered based on business requirements established by Service Level Management. By the nature of these documented service attributes the Service Catalog provides a governing function that ensures IT services are designed, delivered and audited against the key terms, conditions and controls that are agreed upon. e.g. entitlement, support, authorization, control, costing and charging
Just as there are three natures of the service catalog it is also important to understand that it is a tool used by three separate roles, each with a separate objective and perhaps view of the data presented in the catalog.
Three Customers of The Service Catalog
- Business Customer: For the business customer the Service Catalog represents a tool to assist with annual planning and budgeting activities. Information is presented to this role at a level that supports the estimation of how IT services are used as it relates to a business customer’s subscription to a collection of service offerings. This bundling of service offerings into a portfolio view provides a clear understanding of the planned IT spend.
- End User: Based on agreements made at the Business Customer level of the catalog, the user is presented with a set of day to day transactional IT services that support ongoing business operations. The information that is presented out of the catalog for the user is filtered based on established agreements and role based entitlements. For the user the service catalog is a shopping cart and a key entry point to the organizations Request Management Processes.
- Service Level Manager: From an IT perspective The Service Catalog is also a tool to clearly document the detailed technical attributes of service delivery such as Availability, Security, IT Service Continuity, etc.. It is this detailed information that is used for governing the delivery of IT services and is a primary source of information of how services are delivered. The Service Level Manager working with a customer contact and an IT service owner agree upon the levels of services documented in the catalog and how they are referenced in the customer facing service level agreements as well as the IT facing operational level agreements and underpinning contracts.
- Costing models are targeted at understanding the cost of individual or like collections of assets or resources, such as an individual server or collection of servers. Costs for these technical components or people resources are bundled and allocated back to the business customer based on a shared allocation model not representative of actual use. Forecasts and actual expenses are based on a technical model. If services are defined, they are done so from a financial perspective that is not representative of the actual services delivered to the business by the IT organization. At this point of maturity, there are no real dependencies as the Financial Management process mitigates the lack of other processes by defining costs models and chargeback systems at a best effort level.
- As indicated above, the services defined in the IT Service Catalog should form the basis for the IT budgets and the GL accounts defined in the costing, reporting and forecasting models. This level of maturity requires Service Level Management to be implemented at least to the point that services are defined and are used for planning and forecasting. In order to establish which costs are direct and indirect, Configuration Management is required to establish the relationships between components as they relate to IT systems and services.
In summary to fully comprehend the importance and scope of a Service Catalog it is important to understand its three natures and three key customer groups. Additional blog posts on the Service Catalog: Are you being served ITIL Implementation Roadmap – (Service Level Management) Service Owner – The Missing ITSM Role Troy’s thoughts what are yours? “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~Douglas Adams
Saturday, February 17, 2007
ITIL Implementation Roadmap (Financial Management for IT) – Part 12
Remember Nothing In Life Is Free!
Many of us can hear our parent’s voice drilling into our minds this simple truth!
Somewhere, somehow someone is always paying the bill for things that do not seem to have an obvious price tag!
Dawn Mular in her blog shares this perspective: Everything Costs SOMETHING, even if we can’t see the sticker!
An interesting comment that one often hears when speaking to IT organizations about the discipline of costing is that they are a “cost center” and as such, they are not in the business of charging for their services. This is often used as a convenient excuse to not look at the disciplines of IT costing in any significant detail. However the logical response to these organizations is that even though they may not provide a formal bill to an internal business client they still have to account for and report on the cost of provisioning IT Services to the business in order to receive next years budget allocation.
So call it what you want, but in both cases money is being transferred to the IT organization for services rendered. You see contrary to what ITIL suggests charging is never really optional. What is optional is the formality in which you conduct this transaction. Whether it is a formal bill or a transfer of money to an internal cost center, money is still changing hands.
Recently this has become even more important with the current focus of the market being on cost reduction, outsourcing and financial governance. IT organizations are no longer being afforded the grace they once were, and the business is demanding an accurate accounting and tracking of IT costs related to use and consumption.
While IT struggles in many areas to become more proactive in the management and delivery of its services to the client. This is nowhere more apparent then in the way that technology costing is typically done.
Regrettably what usually occurs during the year is that all IT costs and expenses are collected into a large cost centre or proverbial bucket which at the end of the fiscal period gets upended on the table and then is divided up equally across the business clients regardless of use.
Financial Management for IT Services
Objective: Financial Management is the sound stewardship of the monetary resources of the organization. It supports the organization in planning and executing its business objectives and requires consistent application throughout the organization to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum conflict
The primary activities of Financial Management include costing, accounting and recovery. Most organizations have a rudimentary costing and budgeting process based on a technical domains instead of service architecture. This is largely due to the missing input of other processes such as Service Level and Configuration Management. In principle, the services defined in the Service Catalog are the same services that are modeled within the CMDB. These same service definitions should represent the general ledger accounts and chargeable elements that appear on a client bill. Without this integration, the Financial Management process is typically implemented along the following levels of maturity.
Troy’s thoughts what are yours?
“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. ~Douglas Adams