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The Eight Essential Elements of an IT Service Lifecycle


Jul 30, 2007
By

Eric Feldman





Business processes must first be discovered and appropriate integration touch-points documented. This helps organizations identify those limitations in technology and process that will typically require a phased approach for successful implementation of an automated solution.

5. Measurement - Organizations often include measurement as part of their ITSL requirement. This enables them to meter service consumption for billing, monitor automated service levels and deliver detailed service usage reports.

Even with sophisticated instrumentation methods, it is often difficult to allocate costs to an individual client or to correlate usage data with a single business unit. For example, wireless networks complicate the issue of cost allocation for network bandwidth usage, and shared services models mean that multiple clients can consume a specific resource simultaneously.

6. Cost Recovery Process - Cost recovery or chargeback takes many forms. If an organization employs a usage-based methodology, appropriate instrumentation is vital to achieve an accurate calculation. Another approach is to utilize standardized accounting methodologies such as high-level allocation or low-level allocation to distribute direct and indirect service costs.

Regardless of the cost recovery process, integration with an external financial system or ERP solution is often required. These systems generate journal entries for recovery costs to facilitate the billing process.

7. Assessment - Assessment is a vital element in the ITSL. As business requirements dynamically change any number of these elements may have to be modified to realign IT goals accordingly.

8. Ongoing Process Improvement - Business processes and service definitions are both abstract and dynamic. In the ITSL, each service is an opportunity for continuous process improvement, not a static deliverable.

Valued-Added, Strategic Business Partner

Using an iterative approach of assessment and improvement will yield the ultimate goal of managing the ITSL from a business perspective. This is the Holy Grail of efficiency and effectiveness that enables IT to run like a business.

A business-centric approach toward IT can yield substantial cost savings and significantly improve the alignment of IT spending with business need. By achieving accountability with these eight elements, you can help transform your IT organization from a reactive, cost-focused department to a responsive, value-added, strategic business partner.

Eric Feldman is a senior architect in the Global Business Services Optimization Practice at CA, specializing in IT Service Management. He is responsible for developing ITSM methodologies, best practices, and service offerings that create strong customer partnerships and ensure satisfaction.




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