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What is a service?
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12/07/2016 at 13:05:26 GMT
What is a service?

We've looked it up and know what the ITIL definition is - but what does that really mean? Today we've had a fairly robust discussion around this subject and wondered what others have decided. Take the service which allows staff to create meetings, send and receive written communications and generally organise their calendar diary. Is that service EMail with an IT Service of Outlook and a supporting service of Infrastructure/servers or is the service Outlook. On the back of this what should the service Catalogue entry look like?

I suspect there will be a myriad amount of answers (3 of us couldn't agree this morning so the ITSMF community are sure to have many) but would be interested to hear your views

Last edited 12 July 2016
04/08/2016 at 15:15:08 GMT
Posts: 1
Hi, V Quick answer, we take the view that an IT Service is a function/application that (normally) we can measure and report upon (PI's and KPI's), has a key stakeholder or owner and includes not only the IT elements but also any IT & Business processes behind it. For each "Service" a Service Design Pack is produced that may or may not have several elements, shared interfaces and supporting infrastructure to it.

There are many other ways of defining a Service which I am sure will come up!

26/08/2016 at 09:27:22 GMT
Posts: 2

For simplicity I've often taken the tangible product or (e.g. application) as being the Service and tried to steer away from using functionality or outcome. For example, Exchange is a service within the business not "messaging" or "email". I took the approach after reading a paper written by a Pink Elephant consultant:

As above (M. Darby comment) I felt it need to be something measurable to which KPI's could be associated. As discussed in the paper it also helped define categorisation on the Service Desk. As an example we do not have 'email' or 'messaging' as a category on our Service Desk but we do have Exchange, Lync and Outlook. This helps us identify root causes so simplifies not only reporting but also Incident Management, Change Management, Problem Management ... etc.


03/09/2016 at 20:04:11 GMT
Posts: 3
I think a combination of good ole ITIL

“... a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating the outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks” Where the focus is on "value" and "without the ownership of specific costs and risks"...take Gmail value - easily accessible, etc OF course the risk of it not being there is still yours but you don't need to worry about specific costs and risks of maintenance, etc.

and my own which I use for simplicity because it links to so many of the ITSM processes and helps me relate the value of ITSM i.e. everything after 'plus any...' below

A product (software, hardware, chinese takeaway!!) and its delivery to customers plus any combination of support, maintenance, marketing, administering, measuring, R&D, future-proofing, cost management, disaster mitigation and security you or your customer are willing to pay for.

Last edited 03 September 2016
09/09/2016 at 12:23:11 GMT
Thank you all for your responses. I'm sorry It's been a bit delayed but there was a hiccup with our membership. It seems that the definition of a service varies from organisation to organisation but that at it's core it is an enabler for the business to carry out a function.

I shall read the Pink Elephant discussion paper and hopefully this will shed more light on the discussion.

Gail Lumley

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