‘30 Minute guaranteed delivery, or your pizza is free.’ I’m sure, many of us just wish the delivery guy comes late, alas, that seldom happens. To ensure that such service is delivered consistently, organisations take meticulous care in managing every element that contributes towards delivering the service. When I say every element, I mean: equipment, people, infrastructure, financial capital etc. For example: The organisation ensure that they have sufficient financial capital to procure enough bikes that are readily available for the service to be delivered, they have enough service staff available who can drive and have a driver’s license, the equipment to make pizzas are available and functional at any given point in time. This could sound simple given the example, however, imagine a company whose list of services run longer that the list in our Yellow pages, tedious is all what I say. It becomes extremely important that every element is efficiently managed and that they communicate effectively for the service to be delivered, as, any glitch in managing these elements could result in a breach of agreement.
ITIL defines the concept of Service Management as ‘A Set of specialised organisational capabilities and resources that provide value to the customer in the form of services.’ Capabilities can be broadly defined as the ability of an organisation to carry out an activity while resources can be defined as the support system that helps the capabilities to carry out an activity. Example:The capability of the organisation is that it has excellent drivers who understand the local traffic, while the bike that is used by the driver is a resource. The capabilities of an organisation include: Management, Organisation, Processes, Knowledge and People, while the resources of an organisation include: Financial Capital, Infrastructure, Applications, Information and People. It is interesting to observe that, ‘People’ are included in both the capabilities and the resources, the difference being, ‘People’ under resources are a mere number, i.e. the headcount, wherein, ‘People’ under capabilities are a combination of the skill set and experiences of the entire headcount within the organisation. Having said that, isn’t it true that ‘Resources are relatively easy to procure that capabilities?’
Another important aspect of Service Management is the relationship between the assets (resources and capabilities) of the service provider and that of the customer. Once can ask, why are the assets of the customers are important. Let me try and explain this with the help of an example: I host a party for a group of 10 and order for spicy pizzas. Assuming that the service provider has the capabilities and resources to deliver spicy pizzas on time, it important that the resources I have, meaning the 10 people who will enjoy the pizza are capable and equipped to enjoy Spicy pizzas. Effective communication between the resources and capabilities of the service provider and that of the customer will only enable the customer to greatly benefit from the services being offered.
IT Service Management, is no different to service management, however, IT Service Management specifically talks about managing ‘IT Services.’