Transforming IT Blog
Join us in the Transforming IT HP Blog where we will discuss reinventing IT to overcome obstacles and take advantage of Instant on Enterprise opportunities.

How you can transform your service catalog to focus on business value

I ran a workshop recently to help the IT organization in a bank redefine their services. They had contacted their HP account team to say that they needed help defining “business services”, because all their IT services were currently quite technical and they knew that it would be better to have a more business-focused service catalog. This blog describes how I helped this particular organization, but you may find that some of the ideas will work well for your situation too.

 

The IT department had already done a lot of work on a “business service definition” project but was not sure how best to proceed. We agreed that I would spend a few days with them, reviewing the project and making suggestions for the next steps.

 

The service catalog they had created defined one IT service for each application. Some applications were only used by a single business unit, but others contributed to many business processes across the whole bank. The IT department had defined a standard SLA format and created SLAs for many of these applications. This was taking a long time, as there were more than a thousand applications. The SLAs for these services had quite technical targets, and this led to a potentially enormous amount of reporting, which would be of limited value to the customers.

 

Although the IT department knew that they wanted to define “business services”, they weren’t sure what this would involve, since the only services that they were aware of were based on supporting the applications, for which they were already defining SLAs.

 

We looked at a simple model that I sometimes use to help IT organizations think about the difference between an application and an IT service, but this still didn’t help them to see how they could improve their service definitions, since they felt that most of the additional components were generic across all their services.

 

 IT Services are more than technology.png

 

 

The IT organization had a number of business relationship managers who seemed to really understand their customers. These BRMs clearly understood what the customers did and what was important to them. This was the vital information that we needed to resolve the situation. The bank had a number of business units, and each of these business units ran many business processes. Each business process relied on one or more of the applications. The BRMs had identified the major business processes and started mapping these to the applications that supported them.

 

We selected one business unit where the BRM had done a good job of this analysis; this was the mortgage unit, which just had 8 significant business processes. We started to draw up a table showing which applications supported each of these business processes.

 

 

Online Mortgages

Second-Party Mortgages

Another Process

Etc.

App1

X

 

X

 

App2

 

X

 

 

App3

X

X

 

 

Etc.

 

 

 

 

 

It was at this point that we realized the simple solution to their service catalog problem. We simply needed to define a service for each significant business process. For example, there would be an “online mortgage support service” and a “second-party mortgage support service”. This simple idea has the great advantage that it means something to the business, and if we measure and report these services then we will create reports that have a real business focus. We can then review the targets in the existing SLAs to ensure that they underpin these new business services. Over time the application SLAs could be modified to become OLAs (operation level agreements – used to document an internal agreement between the IT service provider and another part of the same organization) with internal metrics that can be used to help ensure the business service SLAs are met.

 

We wanted to avoid creating a huge overhead with the new SLAs, so agreed to restrict each one to a small number of KEY performance indicators. The BRMs will talk to the customers and ask them to identify the three most important things that they want measured and reported for each business service. These will then be documented in short SLAs, and the IT department will work out how they can be measured. (See my blog titled Should an SLA define what the customer wants or what you can measure? for more thoughts about this). The IT organization will then review targets in the application SLAs to ensure that these targets are suitable to deliver the required customer outcomes.

 

On the final day of the workshop I was listening to a discussion between some of the BRMs, and one of them said,

 “I think the customer may well ask us to report the length of time from when a new mortgage advisor joins the organization to when they have been provisioned with a PC, a phone, user accounts and everything else they need to do their job. I hadn’t thought of this kind of target before, but if that is what they want then we could invest in helping to improve this”.

It was at this point that I knew they had internalized the difference between an application service and a customer-facing business service.

 

Learn more about HP technology experts and how we can help you solve your most pressing challenges today – and be ready for what’s next.

Stuart Rance
 

If you want more ideas to help you think strategically about IT services, then read some of my other blogs (most recent blog is at the end):

 

 

Follow StuartRance on Twitter.jpg  Tweet about this article.jpg  Share this article on LinkedIn.jpg

Comments
Aprill Allen(anon) | ‎02-09-2013 09:43 PM

Great post, Stuart. I think this is the clearest example of service catalog I've read.

Stuart_Rance | ‎02-09-2013 09:59 PM

Aprill,

 

Thank you for the feedback, coming from the Knowledge Bird I am humbled by the compliment.

 

Thomas Reiter(anon) | ‎02-11-2013 07:54 AM

This is a very good example how to create meaningful SLA's. 

James Finister(anon) | ‎02-11-2013 09:13 AM

Stuart and I discussed this last week as part of our on-going conversations around Service Integration. In a similar situation a couple of years ago my team used OBASHI  to achieve a comparable mapping. The added complication we faced though was the complex interdependencies between business processes, products and channels themselves.

 

In a previous existence as a service level manager the related issue we came across was recognising that non IT issues can impact this sort of metric. For instance calls to set up loan applications might miss the agreed target time because the IT system is slow, but also because a lot of new staff are taking the calls. The positive outcome of this is that it led to properly integrated business and IT reports

Stuart_Rance | ‎02-11-2013 09:38 AM

James,

 

Thanks for your response. I do understand that it can be quite complex to set good targets.  Properly integrated reports of the outcomes our customers care about are useful measures, but may not be completely determined by the actions of IT.

 

My personal preference is to keep things as simple as possible, so that ordinary mortals can understand them, and to accept that our metrics and reporting may not be perfect.

Jason Druebert(anon) | ‎02-11-2013 07:16 PM

Good post as usual. More often than not when I talk to people about a Service Catalog the topic of employee onboarding comes up, as it did here. How is it that a common process that everyone has to do is so often an issue?

chuck_darst | ‎02-12-2013 07:29 PM

Stuart, a couple of questions/checks. Seems like one part of the approach was to narrow in on one specific area (the mortgage business in this case) where you could make decent progress and identify some best practices for the group to use going forward. I just wanted to check this (as opposed to doing too much at once) as it seems like an approach that has worked well in other cases I've followed. I have also heard of interative approaches working - even in this more narrowly defined context. You may not have had enough time only being on-site 2 days, but was wondering if you had further comments on iteration within establishing a service catalog.

 

Then an open-ended question. What about Service Portfolio Management? Was it embedded in the catalog work? Curious on your views here.

 

Chuck

Stuart_Rance | ‎02-12-2013 08:17 PM

Chuck,

 

These are both interesting questions.

 

Taking the easiest one first. I often break this sort of work up into a number of separate streams as this tends to help the IT organization make useful progress, and so that they can learn from the early attempts and thus improve how they work. Sometimes this is by business unit, sometimes by geography, or by types of service - it is usually obvious what would make sense for the particluar client.

 

As to the distinction between service portfolio management and service catalogue definition. This is more of a philosophical distinction than a practical one. In this case I described it as service catalogue because there was no intention to make significant investment in new or changed services, simply to change how we defined, managed and reported the existing services. I tend to think of service portfolio work as resulting in plans to create/retire/reengineer services, rather than just to improve SLAs and reporting.

 

Ashok Chand(anon) | ‎02-14-2013 01:00 AM

Good article Stuart

For readers benefit, I did a awareness presentation to a larger concrete manufacture here in Australia, and their business service catalogue has a service entry as "Risk".

Risk management was a significant business issue and they undertook due dilligence.

IT priovided many "things" to enable business to do "risk"

Stuart_Rance | ‎02-14-2013 07:15 AM

Ashok,

 

Thank you for your post. I guess this just goes to demonstrate that the concepts of value and service have to be based on how the customer sees the world. It would not have occurred to me to have a "risk" service, but if that is what the customer perceives and values then that is what should be in the service catalog.

 

Leave a Comment

We encourage you to share your comments on this post. Comments are moderated and will be reviewed
and posted as promptly as possible during regular business hours

To ensure your comment is published, be sure to follow the community guidelines.

Be sure to enter a unique name. You can't reuse a name that's already in use.
Be sure to enter a unique email address. You can't reuse an email address that's already in use.
Type the characters you see in the picture above.Type the words you hear.
Search
About the Author
I help clients use service management to create business value for themselves and their customers. I am a senior ITIL examiner and I have wr...
About the Author(s)
  • I’m a Global Strategist, a certified (PMI) Project Manager, specializing in business to IT alignment, agility consulting, Infrastructure Transformation and Strategic Architecture for Big Data, Mobility, Private Cloud, Unified Communications and Collaboration. I drive the strategy, vision and content of strategic consulting services in the Big Data IT Infrastructure services area at HP. As part of this, I meet with senior level customers to understand their challenges, conduct workshops to determine future vision and roadmaps as well as presenting at industry and analyst events.
  • Craig Partridge is the WW strategy lead for HP Technology Services Networking group. His role now covers strategy for consulting, professional and support services. The major areas of focus are Mobility, UC, Cloud Networking and IPv6. All aligned to core HP networking solutions - simplified, secure, optimized and available.
  • Don has held roles with the business and marketing of consulting for HP. Currently he supports HP's Client and Microsoft Solutions and the emerging Mobility Consulting services. He holds a MBA from UCLA's Anderson School.
  • Over 12 years of consulting, new technology services development and marketing experience covering data center, IT infrastructure, cloud technology domains. Hande holds a M.B.A degree from Bentley College, MA.
  • Having joined HP in 2003 Ian Jagger is the world-wide marketing and program manager for HP Technology Consulting's Strategic Consulting Services, Critical Facilities Services and Energy and Sustainability Management Services, as well as emerging IT services Prior to his current role, he served as the HP Services Marketing Manager for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, having joined HP in a similar role in the Middle East. Prior to HP Jagger had a 15 year international sales career, culminating in being Sales and Marketing Director for Steelcase Inc addressing Northern Europe before focusing more specifically on marketing. His initial focus was consultancy and interim marketing management, primarily for small to mid-sized customers based or looking to expand in the Middle Eastern region. Immediately prior to joining HP he was a strategic marketing consultant addressing investment targets for a technology fund. Born in Rochdale, United Kingdom, Jagger holds an honors bachelor of science degree in economics and a degree in social psychology from Loughborough University, England. He also holds a Masters Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Chartered Marketer. He has one daughter and lives in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Jeff Enters works in the HP Technology Services Networking organization and consults with customers on their IT strategies. He has over 20 years of consulting, design and integration experience in multi-vendor Voice and Data environments.
  • Editor and writer with 12+ years experience in the corporate software and technology sectors.
  • Jordan Lee has over twenty years of consulting and industry experience, helping some of the world’s largest firms craft and implement their business and IT strategies. His priority is to advise Hewlett-Packard clients how to best prepare for and take full advantage of the dramatic shifts in the IT economy taking place today. Over his career, Mr. Lee has held executive positions both in industry and consulting organizations, where he has provided consulting to some of the largest firms in the US. Over the years, he has helped his clients redesign business processes and organizations, and implement strategic IT programs around ERP, System Integration, Business Intelligence, and IT Infrastructure.
  • Jordan owns the worldwide mobility portfolio for TS Network Consulting and is a OneHP Mobility ambassador. His expertise centers on mobility strategy, client and applications virtualization and enterprise mobility management technologies.
  • Eduardo Zepeda, WW TS Social Media Program Manager & Internal Communications for WW Technology Services Blogging on behalf of HP Technology Services (TS_Guest)
  • Ken Larson has over 30 years of experience in Information Technology aligning business to technology. As an Enterprise Architect, he has delivered many successful architecture related services across business and government sectors in manufacturing, insurance, banking, oil, utilities, US state and federal governments. He is certified in TOGAF and IT Service Management.
  • Laura Cunningham is a CPA and business consultant with HP Technology Services Consulting. She helps CIOs and their teams bridge the gap between what the CIO wants and what the CFO requires by building a comprehensive business case that can withstand financial scrutiny.
  • I am on the WW Cloud and Big Data Solutions Team. I help our customers adopt HP advanced solutions that are made up of products and services from across HP. I have over 30 years experience in the technology business including 17 years of business ownership.
  • Broad mix of experiences developed in more than 20 years of technology-driven innovation. Fascinated by changes triggered by mix of behavior, needs and technology. Bachelor in Theoretical Physics.
  • Working for EMEA TS Consulting, I am a Specialist in end to end management of customer data, from creation through consumption, to protection and preservation and ultimately (controlled) destruction. This includes, host, connectivity, storage, data protection and backup and archive, from a technical and more importantly, operational perspective. I have worked in the storage and data management industry for over 15 years, on both sides of the desk, as a customer and now as a consultant.
  • Patrick Lownds is a Senior Technology Consultant and is involved in designing and delivering both Client Virtualization and Cloud Computing solutions in the datacenter. Patrick co-authored “Mastering Hyper-V Deployment
  • I’m a Global Chief Engineer certified Exchange Architect and Master (MCA and MCM), specializing in Messaging, Mobility, Private Cloud, Unified Communications and Collaboration. This relates to all work to coordinate sales, pursuit and delivery readiness in all services that relate to HP's portfolio around Microsoft Exchange. Includes internal readiness as well as external events, analyst briefings. With 25+ year’s experience in the industry. Thomas has been involved with Microsoft products since 1993. Specialties: - Architecting complex public and private Cloud solutions for Exchange, SharePoint and Lync in standard, dedicated or hybrid scenarios. - Lead the HP specialists team unit to win and acheive our business targets and budget - Drive HP's Exchange Services for Private Cloud - Working with partners, vendors and internal teams to align, expand and grow HP's strategy.
  • Tim Swiader has twenty plus years in the Information Technology industry. He has worked primarily with the fortune 100 and legacy carriers transforming their applications, networks and data center facilities.
  • Tom Clement has over 30 years experience in the areas of adult learning, secondary education, and leadership development. During this time Tom has been a consistent champion of “non-traditional” training delivery methods, including blended learning, virtual delivery (self paced and instructor led), the use of training games and simulations, and experiential learning. Tom has spent the past 25 years of his career at Hewlett Packard, focused most recently on HP’s global Virtualization, Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure customer training programs. Tom manages the strategic direction and overall performance of these training programs, ensuring these worldwide programs help HP’s customers capitalize on the business opportunities made available by IT advancements in each of these subject areas. Tom and his global teammates utilize best in class instructors, course content and supporting equipment infrastructure to deliver these training programs to HP’s customers. The team prides itself on providing the Virtualization, Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure content customers need when and where they need it, anywhere in the world. Tom is based in the Washington, DC suburbs and can be reached at tom.clement@hp.com.
  • Tari is a Distinguished Technologist with 30 years of IT and cyber security experience. He is dual board certified in information security/business continuity and is responsible for a wide range of management and technology consulting services encompassing information security, disaster recovery, privacy, and risk management. His problem-solving skills, knowledge of various technology platforms, compliance statutes, industries, as well as his experience in deploying defense-in-depth and InfoSec Program solution architectures is commonly applied when advising CIOs/CISOs as well as leveraged in numerous HP client engagements throughout the world. Tari has designed, built, and managed some of the world’s largest InfoSec programs allowing them to defend against even the most aggressive attackers.
  • I provide technical consulting services at all phases including analysis, planning, design and implementation. I have a wide range of experience in WAN and LAN technologies, as well as providing security solutions and deploying operating system infrastructure. Besides working directly with clients to deploy technology in their data centers, I also find myself architecting or discussing solutions with a business’s chief information officer, helping to lay out a roadmap for the coming years.
  • Bill is the Principal Data Center Energy Technologist for HP Technology Services. Kosik is a licensed professional engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, a Certified Energy Manager, and a Building Energy Modeling Professional. He is responsible for research and implementation of sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible design strategies for data centers. He is currently a subject matter expert for the USGBC on the new LEED Data Centers, the EPA/DOE on unification of energy metrics, and the Green Grid on responding to the EPA’s Energy Star for Data Centers program. He has an engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Follow Us