Shouldn't there be a common understanding of the term "service"?

These days I've read some entries in the Beteo blog, a blog provided by a swiss software and consulting company which is somewhere in between SOA and BSM - or BTO, the term they tend to use due to some affinity to HP. The interesting thing is that Beteo not only claims but proves that Service Management principles and tools which are commonly used more in the IT Infrastructure Management can be applied to the field of Software Change Management as well. Beteo, a company I'm in contact with since they've been founded (and I have been in contact even with their predecessor), uses this concept with success especially in SAP environments.

That leads to the obvious conclusion: There should be a much more common service understanding. There should be one BSM approach on the upper layer. BSM, as real business service management, should really address the business aspects like

  • Defining services from a business point of view - like "manage a contract" including storage, access rights,...
  • Mapping these business services to IT services
  • Manage these services from a business perspective, e.g. accounting, controlling (do we need these services really?),...
The next layer are IT services, e.g. the more technical services IT provides to deliver a business service. These services can be managed with ITIL principles and - at least to some degree - with today's so called BSM tools.

Whether the mapping of IT services to the IT implementations of business processes is part of the IT service layer or the business service layer is a matter of definition. I tend to place the description of business process at the business service layer and the implementation of business processes in IT - and thus, the relationship of these processes with IT services - at the IT services layer.

Anyhow, there is a layer below for the different types of IT services. Today, BSM focuses mainly on IT infrastructure services and provides mainly an ITISM (IT Infrastructure Service Management) - and not an ITSM (IT Service Management) or a real BSM (Business Service Management).

Besides the IT Infrastructure Services we have IT Application Services. These services tend to be more granular, down to web services and so on.

But regardless of the service you talk about: Each service can be managed with the same principles - and ITIL (and ISO 20000) is a good point to start if you focus on the principles for managing services. You can define, implement, run, optimize any type of service. Whether you look on high level business services or on low level application services, the way you should handle services is, from a conceptual view, the same. The business aspects like service accounting and controlling can be applied as well on every level.

Given that, a unified view on services and their management would bring a lot of benefits to IT - the reuse of management software, improvements in that software when the experiences of infrastructure and software change management are combined and influence the tools, the capability for an overall auditing and accounting of services, a consistent authorization management for services, their management and their use.

But that would mean that the siloes at the vendor side (where software management is in most cases another division than infrastructure management) disappear as well as the siloes in today's IT organizations are opened for more cooperation.



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