Service Operation Review

Authors: David Cannon and David Wheeldon

Service OperationService Operation is about delivering on the promises made during the Strategy and Design phases of the Service Lifecycle. It achieves this by making sure that the people, processes and technology that deliver IT Services are all working to the same set of objectives.

Service Operation is not just about managing the service or just about managing the infrastructure. It is about achieving a balance between several dynamic drivers: Technology and Business, Cost and Quality, Proactive and Reactive activities. This balance results in a stable environment, which is able to anticipate and respond to changes where necessary.

The ability to monitor and decipher the continuous flow of information about the status of service components is key. Formal Event Management detects fluctuations in component and service performance, which can be tuned dynamically to suit each condition.

Exceptions are resolved quickly and effectively through Incident and Problem Management, while established customer requirements are met through Request Fulfillment and Access Management.

This publication does not lose sight of the fact that it is written in the context of IT, and there is a section dedicated to the technology-specific activities that need to be performed in this context, e.g. Network Management, Storage and Archiving, etc. Service Operation also recognises that processes alone do not guarantee a quality service. It clarifies a number of issues related to the people who manage Service Operation. It recognises the role of the Service Desk as a key link between the business and IT at an operational level, especially in restoring disrupted services and in providing an entry point for accessing new or changed services.

In addition, it specifies three new functions critical for executing process activities and managing service components. These are:

  • Technical Management, which is the custodian of expertise related to all service components. Technical Management typically manages the infrastructure from Design through to Operation.
  • Applications Management, which plays a similar role for software applications. Of particular importance is how this function interfaces with Application Development teams throughout the Software Management Lifecycle.
  • IT Operations Management, which may be performed by the previous two functions, but is often centralized into a dedicated unit. This function executes routine activities, and monitors and controls the health of the infrastructure.

Service Operation identifies how to link operational activities to the value of the organisation and how to couple infrastructure and service management for optimum service quality and value.