Service lifecycle is an approach to IT Service Management which places an emphasis on the how important coordination and control is, across the various functions, processes and systems which are necessary to manage the complete lifecycle of IT services. The approach of service lifecycle takes into consideration the strategy, design, transition, operation and continual improvement of IT services. Service lifecycle modules are of a strategic nature and have concentrate on the implementation of a complete stage of the Service Lifecycle. The5 Service Lifecycle Modules which are each based on a Service Lifecycle Phase are:
ITIL Service Strategy
ITIL Service Design
ITIL Service Transition
ITIL Service Operation
ITIL Continual Service Improvement
ITIL Service Strategy gives an explanation regarding how IT Services will be utilized to enable IT to achieve the required objectives. It also explains how IT services underpin the overall business strategy.
The main purpose of the ITIL Service Lifecycle’s service strategy stage is to define the perspective, position, plan and patterns which are needed by a service provider to meet the business objectives of the organization.
The process areas of service strategy include:
Service portfolio management
Business relationship management
Strategy management for IT services
The objectives of the service strategy stage of the ITIL lifecycle involve providing the service provider with the following:
A thorough understanding regarding what exactly is strategy
An understanding of the organizational capability that is required to deliver the service strategy.
A clear definition of the services it provides and the customers who use them.
A clear articulation about the creation, funding and delivery of services, the target customers for the service and how each service delivers value.
A clear idea regarding which service assets are used for delivering each value and how their performance can be optimized.
Some of the benefits typically obtained by the adoption and implementation of service strategy best practice include:
An increased ability to understand and express the links between the IT service assets of the service provider, its activities and the crucial outcomes achieved by its customers as a result of using their services.
A flexible and timely ability to adapt its IT services to take preventive action and meet the changing business needs to ensure increased competitive advantage over time.
The service provider being seen as contributing to value and cost by its organization and its customers.
A maintained portfolio of qualified services.
Improved IT investment usage where the investment in service development is driven mainly by business priorities and a proper Return on Investment (ROI) analysis.
Services must be designed with the business objective in mind for them to be able to provide true value to the business. Service design is the stage in the lifecycle which converts a service strategy into a plan to deliver the objectives of the business.
ITIL Service Design provides guidance to design and develop the services and service management practices. It also provides design principles and methods to convert strategic objectives into portfolios of services and service assets.
The objectives of ITIL service design are:
To design IT services which are so effective that only minimum improvement will be needed during their entire lifecycle.
To embed CSI in all the activities of service design to make sure that the solutions become more effective over time.
To keep a look out for investment opportunities by identifying changing trends.
If a service design is good, it is possible to deliver services which are of a high quality and very cost-effective. It is also possible to ensure that the business requirements are being met.
The following benefits are provided by an ITIL service design approach which is standard and consistent:
It reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO)
It significantly improves the quality, reliability and performance of service.
It makes the implementation of new services or changing of existing services easy.
It helps to improve the IT governance.
It increases the effectiveness of service management and IT processes.
It improves decision making capabilities.
The role of ITIL Service Transition is to move services and service changes into operational use. ITIL Service Transition also introduces the service knowledge management system (SKMS) which has the ability to support organizational learning and assist in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of all stages of the service lifecycle. This provides benefits to people through the knowledge and experience of others, helps to support decision-making and improve the management of services.
The main purpose of the service transition stage in the service lifecycle is to make sure that the new and modified or retired services meet the expectations of the business as previously agreed upon in the service strategy and service design stage of the ITIL lifecycle.
The primary objectives of ITIL service transition are:
To plan and manage the changes in service efficiently and effectively.
To manage the risks related to newly introduced, modified or discontinued services.
To deploy the service releases into environments which support them adequately.
To set the appropriate expectations on the performance and usage of new or changed services.
To make sure that the service changes create the expected value for the business.
To provide the necessary knowledge and information about services and service assets.
The following benefits are provided by effective ITIL service transition.
It provides us with a better estimation of the costs involved, the timing of the service, the resources required for implementation and the risks involved.
The volume of successful change brought about is higher.
It aims to reduce the delays which occur as a result of unexpected clashes and dependencies.
It results in a reduction of effort which is involved in managing test and pilot environments.
It improves the expectation for all the stakeholders.
It ensures that the services which have been newly introduced or modified are easy to maintain and cost-effective in the long run.
It also offers improved control of the different service assets and configurations.
IT service operation consists of periodic activities, infrastructure, and processes that deliver value to businesses using technology.
The primary objective of IT service operations is to ensure that the required IT services are delivered efficiently and effectively as per the service level agreements to the business users and customers.
Service operations are vital for an organization as meticulously designed and implemented process will be rendered ineffectual if the operations are ineffectively conducted.
Service Operation also helps to improve the service as periodic activities for performance monitoring, assessment metrics and data gathering are systematically conducted.
In the ITIL service lifecycle, each stage adds some value to the business involved. Service Strategy, Service Design, and Service Transition play a major role in providing value to a service, but it is only in the Service Operations stage that the actual value imparted is visible. The values are visible through processes of Service Operation such as Incident management, Event management, Problem management, Access management and Request Fulfillment.
It deals with managing an event through its life cycle. It involves detection of events, filtering them, respond to and logging them to maintain a record.
It is concerned with restoring the disrupted services quickly and bringing them back to normal functioning levels to minimize the impact of the disruption on the business.
Problem management deals with finding out the root cause of the incidents and taking proactive measures to ensure that such incidents don’t occur in the future.
It deals with service requests, which are small and low-risk changes such as the creation of new user IDs, password changes, etc. which are not the core business of a company.
Access management is concerned with granting the access to use a service to only authorized users and preventing unauthorized ones from accessing them.
ITIL Continual Service Improvement is a type of process which utilizes techniques from quality management in order to learn from prior successes and failures and aims to constantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of IT services and processes.
Service improvement must primarily focus on maximizing the effectiveness and increasing the efficiency of the IT serves and the IT Service Management processes. The following are the objectives of Continual Service Improvement.
Increasing the cost-effectiveness and process efficiency of the IT service.
To evaluate, analyze and make recommendations to improve the existing opportunities in each phase of the service lifecycle such as Service strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, and Service operation.
To ascertain and implement activities to increase the quality of the IT service and improve the effectiveness and effectiveness of the IT service management process.
To increase the cost-effectiveness of IT service delivery while maintaining the same level of customer satisfaction.
To ensure that a standard and relevant method is used for quality management.
The objective of this process is to review the infrastructure and business services periodically. Service review also aims to improve the quality of service wherever it is necessary and to identify economic ways of providing a service.
The objective is to evaluate the IT processes on a regular basis. It aims to identify the areas where the process metrics which have been targeted have not reached, to hold regular audits, benchmarks, assessments, and reviews.
The objective of this process is to define the particular initiatives which aim to improve the services and the processes on the basis of results of the service reviews and process evaluations. The initiatives which arise as a result of this are either ones which require customer cooperation or are internal initiatives which are being pursued by the service provider themselves.
The objective of this process is to check the improvement initiatives and verify if they are proceeding as per the plan. If they aren’t, then it aims to implement corrections wherever required.
The Service Lifecycle modules are very relevant to those professionals who are looking to pursue the role of a manager or team leader which required management and working across multiple teams. All the Service Lifecycle modules are suitable for those who intend to focus on the processes, practice elements and the management capabilities which are required to provide quality service management practices.