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What is a Service?

Author by Nick Adams

As Digital Transformation becomes more common, understanding what a "Service" is will and should be a fundamental component of an organization's IT ecosystem.


What is a Service?

A Service as ITIL defines it

"A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks."

How can we break this down?  Services should be the following:

  • Predictable
  • Deliverable
  • Consistent
  • Minimal to zero risk to the customer
  • Easily accessible
  • Easy to understand
  • Value adding

Services should always provide the customer a step forward.  With this in mind, break/fix situations such as Incidents are NOT Services since they do not fit these criteria.

Service Catalogs and Service Delivery

A service catalog is a listing of available live Services offered by different IT Teams to provide value to the business.  Think of ordering products from a website.  There are different Tiers of Services and products available for order or in our case “request.”  These Services need to be organized in an intuitive and sensible way through Classifications within the ITSM environment.  When deciding what Services to put on a Service Catalog or Library, it is important to ensure that your deliverable is truly a Service first, as defined above.


Services not in the Service Catalog?

Services do not have to live just in the Service Catalog.  A Service is more than just an entity or a listing.  It is an action of delivering a request to provide value to the business.  This can mean anything so long as the position you are in was a step forward from where you were at.  All teams and parts of the organization have Services.  ITIL can just define them within its framework and the team owns how they are delivered and managed.  A great example is a Service Desk vs. a Call Center.  A Service Desk has a list of Services that are avaliable to the business that are predicatable and deliverable, take scheduled PC maintenance.  This Service keeps the health of the machine top notch and prevents Incidents from happening, thus providing value to the customer.


Where does this leave us?

Ultimately, the more Services that are available to an organization, the more value add.  The less incidents and break/fix conditions there are, the higher the value of the team and department.  It should be a goal of a team to ensure that Services are highly available according to the organization's cultural context and with the highest level of customer satisfaction when delivering Services.  In the end: value is added.