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ITIL Foundation: Four Key Stakeholders in Service Management

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If you are working in a service organization, you are aware of the number of stakeholders that you must satisfy on a daily basis. Nowadays, organizations have come up with glorified roles and designations to keep the motivational levels of employees alive and well.

Today, I am not going to go into the various roles that current organizations opt for and not even go into all the different stakeholders who are identified in ITIL. But rather, I will talk on the four major stakeholders, without whom IT service management cannot have a standing.

  1. Service Provider

A service provider, in the lamest sense, is somebody who provides service. The postal department in your country provides the service of distributing snail mails. The electricity company provides the service involving electricity. And so on.

So, an IT service provider provides IT services such as internet, telephony, email, server maintenance, network maintenance among many others.

  1. Customer

Without a customer, there is no business opportunity, right? A customer is a must and an inescapable stakeholder in service management.

Who is a customer, you might ask. A customer is somebody who pays for the service. That’s it, nothing more, nothing less.

You might have heard the term internal and external customer. An internal customer is somebody who is within your own organization and an external customer is outside your organization.

As the customer pays for your service, he puts in his demands and agrees on service levels with the service provider.

  1. End User

The person who uses your service is the end user. He may not be the person paying for the service, but is entitled to use the service, as mandated by the paying customer.

For example, your organization is in the business of providing internet. It is providing internet to an organization that has 100 employees on its payroll. The company is your customer and the employees who leverage on your services are end users. They are not your customers. They cannot set the service levels, but can merely use the service as disbursed to them.

  1. Supplier

A supplier is another organization which is providing services or products to the service provider organization.

In my experience, people understand suppliers better with examples.

Let’s say that you are an organization that provides email services to your customer. To provide email services, you have hardware requirements such as servers and load balancers and software requirements like MS Exchange and MS Outlook. No service provider organization will manufacture their own hardware and software (unless you are IBM of course) to service their customers. They leverage on suppliers who manufacture hardware and develop software to deliver the agreed services. The hardware and software suppliers such as Dell and Microsoft are suppliers in this example.

I hope this blurb helps you understand the four key stakeholders in service management. Do let me know on ITIL and More Facebook page if you have further questions.

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Abhinav Kaiser
Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.

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