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IT service categorization

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Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 6:23 pm    Post subject: IT service categorization Reply with quote

Section 4.4.1, "Produce a service catalogue" of the service delivery guide states:

To avoid confusion, it may be a good idea to define a hierarchy of services within the Service Catalogue, by qualifying exactly what type of service is meant e.g. business service (that which is seen by the Customer), Infrastructure services, network service, application service (all invisible to the Customer but essential to the delivery of Customer services).

According to this, I would like to define each of these types of service and identify which services belong to each type. Would you help me with this?

- Do you consider the mentioned categorization enough?

Imagine the following scenario:

There is a company where there are client/server, host, server-based and web applications (ERP, CRM, terminal emulation, sharepoint portal server, custom lotus notes databses, exchange, web servers, file servers, oracle and db2 databases, etc.)

How would you categorize the following in business services, Infrastructure services, Network services and Application services?
- Business applications (SAP, CRM, etc.)
- Office
- New application deployment
- Altiris HP blades management environment
- VMWare ESX administration environment
- Terminal Server remote access
- Backup and restore management
- Antivirus protection (email gateway, per seat agents, servers, etc.)
- Database management
- User management

I am interested in considering all of these as IT Services because I want to manage them all as internal/external IT services based on processes and following the ITIL infrastructure management/service delivery/service support best practices.

Is this a correct approach?
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Senior Itiler

Joined: Oct 06, 2004
Posts: 77
Location: Bloomington, IL

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Here is my take (by no means the only way to view this)

All of them are IT Services (with minor exceptions-see below). The categorization is really only for internal use to determine support organizations, types of agreements, etc. The customer just sees "Services".

Here is how I would categorize them:

Business applications (SAP, CRM, etc.)==> I would view these as business services, but be careful not to confuse "applications as services" and "activities as services". Your services are really "the ability to support SAP, CRM, etc. It takes people process and technology to provide a service.
Office==> I take it this is MS Office? Again a business service (same caveat as above)
- New application deployment==> I view this as an activity in providing service, not a service unto itself, unless this is the way your org generates revenue
- Altiris HP blades management environment==> operational or infrastructure service (not customer facing)
- VMWare ESX administration environment==> operational/infrastructure
- Terminal Server remote access==>operational/infrastructure
- Backup and restore management==> perhaps operational, but could be considered management activity, not a service
- Antivirus protection (email gateway, per seat agents, servers, etc.)==> operational
- Database management==> operational
- User management==> business service

Some definitions:

Business Services==> direct customer facing, revenue generating, cross functional, supported by an SLA
Operational Services==> internal, non direct revenue generating, single function, supported by an OLA
Underpinning Service==> provided by external function, non revenue generating, supported by an Underpinning Contract

I was taught that services have two characteristics:
--They generate revenue
--Your grandmother would recognize or understand them (not stated in techy language or terms)

Also a service to me is an activity or ability, not a thing. It is intangible. The underlying support (CIs, agreements, people, etc) are tangible. The service is just a label for everything it takes to perform a business activity or process. E.g. The ability to process an insurance claim; the ability to manufacture a product, etc.

Others might have different views on this. Hope it helps.

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Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Michael,
thank you very much for your answer. It has been very helpful for me.
I would like to share with you some work about this, in order to hear your opinion. Contact me if you don't mind, please: (email or messenger)
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Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my first post, I used the following types of service based on ITIL:
- business service
- Infrastructure services
- network service
- application service

However, Michael, in his post, uses:
- business service
- Infrastructure services
- Underpinning service
- operational service

Is there any standard IT service categorization? Let me explain why I ask this:

Before starting to work in the service catalogue, we usually create a service map: a mental map with all the IT services found and their related IT systems. This helps us to understand the whole list of IT services in a company and to define the project plan to model them into a service catalogue.

However, I have several doubts:
- I can consider the email as a business service, however it is also an infrastructure service, or not?
- An application deployed via terminal server provides also a business service. However, "terminal server" is also consider as a "remote access service" (infrastructure).

Why I am considering these services twice? Because I need to manage their infrastructure/service delivery/service support from both points of view: from the internal perspective (infrastructure IT Service) and from the external perspective (business IT Service). Am I wrong?

As far as I know, there is no much information about this in the ITIL books.
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Senior Itiler

Joined: Oct 06, 2004
Posts: 77
Location: Bloomington, IL

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I do not think you are wrong in your understanding. A service can be viewed from many perspectives. The categorization terminology is just a way to standardize the perspectives.

We use three basic categories (business, operational, underpinning) because our Service Management tool uses three, so it aligns well between process and tool. Also it aligns well to the ITIL types of agreements: Service Level (SLA), Operational Level (OLA), Underpinning Contract (UC).

My own view is that a service is really the juncture of business, operational and underpinning views. The visual I use is a cube. The analogy I use is a Rubic's Cube (the puzzle game where the sides rotate to match colors). The perspective can change but the elements of the service do not.

Hope this clarieifes some. Others might have different opinions.

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Joined: Oct 05, 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:50 pm    Post subject: Service Categorisation Reply with quote

I am running with exactly the same challenges and I was wondering if you or anyone else could share further experiences on how they adressed this .
thanks a lot
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Senior Itiler

Joined: Mar 12, 2005
Posts: 255
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest that re-jigging common technology/system/application terminology is not actually classifying the Services, but organising the conventional names for service inputs into roughly coherrent groupings.

A classification schema will be an integral aspect of a thought through service definition model which would enable:

    *The aggregation of all production inputs into a 'Service' as a delivered functional capability. That is, it would fit into an end-to-end information model, where the Service CI in the CMDB would be at the top of a hierarchy of production inputs - Systems, Applications, Documetation or procedures, Active data, componetents, etc - to the scope considered appropriate to the available resources and control objectives.
    *It would enable the use of accurate costing models - specifically helping to identify the accurate breakdowns of absorbed overheads.
    *It would clarify the KPIs for service level achievements - different kinds of services will require different kind of metrics and quality control.

Including the Serivces in the CMDB as aggregates products of the infrastructure is one step.

Along side this applying a service categorisation schema that is based on a) the material inputs or the service and b) its mode of delivery will assist in defining services in an end-to-end model.

A reccomended schema for this is quite simple and easily applied. Service may be one of two general Types:

    * Technical (Ifnrastructure is deployed to provide them)
    * Professional (Time and skills are deployed)

Note: The work undertaken within ICT in its normal operation does not count as a professional service - eg carrying out a service request procedure.

Within these types Serivces may be sub-typed (categorised if you like - teminology is not important here) according to the mode of access and delivery:

    * Core Services: These are services that a delivered as a matter of course to their customers, with no opt-out.
    * Subscribed Services: These are continuing services that customers-clients request as a given point in time and may at another point in time cease to use.
    * Discretionary services: These are delivered for a fixed period of time as requested, and once delivered no further consumption of ICT capital is involved.

For this to make sense it is also helpful to not define every major system as a service. For example, just about every ICT irganisation will run one or more Email systems. But who 'consumes' the Email servers? What the customers get are accounts, calandering, mailing lists, and etc.

In this case an employee email account - automatically delivered when an employee starts are core technical service. Listserve accounts on the other hand may be subscribed technical services.

And so on....

Note the schema I have discussed here is based on a Pink Elephant white paper. If any one is interested in the download URL let me know.[/list]
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