ITIL Service Explained

In my previous post, I explained service is general as something that creates value for the customer. I explained it with the help of a lawn mowing service where the customer benefits out of the service that you are offering.

Focusing the same concept towards ITIL, where we specifically deal with IT services, the principle behind an IT service is the same – value creation.

Official ITIL Definition of IT Service

A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the ownership of specific costs and risks.

If you read the entire definition in one stretch, you might find it daunting. So, I will break it down for you. If you understand IT service, the rest of the ITIL academics gets a lot easier.

The first part of the definition reads means of delivering value to customers which we have come to understand as something that the customer appreciates and something that the customer likes to avail.

For example, let’s consider internet as an IT service that delivers value to the customer. How does it deliver value? Read the next part of the definition – facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve.

The customer has certain outcomes that he wants to achieve such as browsing websites, reading emails, watching youtube videos and surfing Facebook. By providing the internet service, you – as an IT service provider is creating value for the customer by supporting him achieving whatever he wanted to do with the internet. Whether he does it or not is not your concern!

On the flipside, if you are providing an IT service provider to a customer who does not need it, you are not creating value. Running with the same example, if you are providing internet to a person who does not have a laptop, desktop, tablet or a smartphone at home, there is no way he can leverage on the internet service that you are providing. So, even if you are providing state of the art – fastest and best internet service to a customer who cannot use it, you are not creating value.

In other words, service creating value to customers is subjective. While it creates value to some, it may not to others.

In the IT service definition, the second part reads without the ownership of specific costs and risks. Any guesses what it means?

Let’s backtrack a little. You are availing internet service, and you would be paying some monthly or package costs. The price you are paying for the IT service to the IT service provider is the entire cumulative sum that you would be paying for whatever the internet service provider has offered you. Nothing more, nothing less.

itil-it-service-supportThe internet service provider is tasked with ensuring that you are getting internet as per the promises that has been made. For that to happen, he needs to have suitable infrastructure in place, have skilled people design and support it round the clock and pay all the government dues to keep the service legal. All these are categorized as specific costs that goes towards mobilizing internet service. ITIL shields the customer by not making him pay for the specific costs. The customer pays as a package and he need not know what has been done in the backend to mobilize the service. The IT service provider is responsible for pricing his IT services based on his capital expenditure, operational expenses and profits, and not pass on specific costs to the customer whenever he incurs it.

The second part of the definition readsĀ without the ownership of specific risks. There are a number of risks in any business. These risks are owned and managed by the IT service provider. They are not passed onto the customer. For example, fiber cuts are one of the most common risks in internet business. The risk is mitigated by casing the fibers with strong sleeves, having redundant lines running in parallel or opting for wireless transmission instead. Whatever the risk mitigation and risk management techniques are, they are done so by the internet service provider and not the customer. The customer will not be held responsible for the risks that the service provide incurs.

The customer need not worry if the fibers are well protected or not, the customer only pays and enjoys the service and nothing else. In exchange, the IT service provider takes care of the risks, and all associated service related management activities to ensure that the customer gets what has been promised.

To summarize, an IT service:

– delivers value to the customer

– provides opportunity for the customer to achieve desired outcomes

– customer must not pay for specific costs such as infrastructure and manpower

– customer will not be assessing and managing risks

If you have further questions on IT service as per ITIL, do post in your comments.

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