How Do Business Processes, IT Services, Business Services and Technical Services Relate?

In my previous blog, we briefly discussed the role of business processes when it comes to aligning IT with the business. Let’s now further discuss how these business processes are related to business services.

A good non-IT example is of a restaurant. Think about the Menu. It is mostly put together in a language that customers are able to understand what dishes can be ordered and what to expect from each (a brief description). Now, imagine a restaurant that is serving a hotel; room service menu may be different from restaurant menu. Lets see some IT-related examples. When you ask for high-speed Internet service, you do not normally ask for the number of servers, routers, and other infrastructure components you need. On the other hand, if you are providing infrastructure services and your customers are really Application Service Providers or Application Development organizations, the business services may be more technical in nature.

The point that I am trying to make here is that business services are what your customers are able to relate to. What constitutes a business service depends upon what business you are in and who your customers are. Remember the restaurant example. Their end customers are those people who come to the restaurant to have dinners and lunches. But these restaurants are themselves someone’s customers e.g., those parties that provide ingredients for example. Therefore, business services presented to the customers will vary depending on your particular business and your customer segments. Note that there may be more than one business services required in order to enable a given process and business services may be shared across a range of business processes. Note that both business services and IT services are types of IT services.

Technical services realize business services. Technical services, as the name suggests, are internal facing and are not normally visible to the customer. One or more technical services may be required in order to realize a given business service and technical services may be shared across multiple business services. Continuing on the same high-speed Internet service example. Some of the technical services that realize this High-Speed Internet service may involve Connectivity, Web Server Hosting, FTP, and other technical services and these may be shared by other business services as well.

We have defined the business services and technical services above. So, you will ask me what I think about IT services then. Well, both business services and technical services are types of IT services. Former is higher-level, business-focused, customer-friendly, and comprises of one or more technical services and the later is inward-focused (for the consumption of IT developers and manager), technical in nature, is largely shared and/or re-used to support other business services.

To learn more about ITIL, check out Learning Tree’s course, Putting ITIL® into Practice:  A Roadmap for Transformation.

Ahmad K. Shuja

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