Leveraging BSM to Maximize Return on ITSM Investments

Business service management (BSM) is about managing business services such that IT performance can be measured not in IT terms but in terms of business value delivered. Business services enable the core business process and, in most cases, are really what business customers can relate to. It will be critical to any organization embarking on ITSM journey to get a good understanding of this idea and design and execute the respective programs accordingly.

At a high level, implementing end-to-end BSM involves the following key activities:

  • Identifying and defining the business service in the service catalog
  • Defining the service level requirements for the business service
  • Defining and agreeing on service level agreement necessary to ensure that needs identified in service level requirements are met
  • All technical services that support the business services are identified and defined in the service catalog
  • All necessary operational level agreements are identified, defined, and agreed upon for these technical services
  • End-to-end request fulfillment processes are defined and implemented for all appropriate requests that can be place on these services
  • Configuration management database (CMDB) is optimized to represent the relationships between all the configuration items that ensure successful delivery of the business service
  • All other ITIL® v3 processes are implemented to ensure that this business service is managed end-to-end

Achieving Business Service Management will require IT organizations to bring alignment across different IT teams (infrastructure, application development, operations, and so on) and components in an effort to achieve the highly envisioned business-IT integration. The separation between application and infrastructure results in a disconnect between business needs and end-to-end management of those needs from the fulfillment perspectives. Applications teams architect, design and develop applications to satisfy functional needs (termed as “utility” in ITIL v3) and, in most cases, when these applications get deployed, there are mismatches in network and server capacity resulting in unforeseen outages (due to lack of, what ITIL v3 terms as “warranty”). These outages cause disruptions not only for business customers but also for IT teams. Such events result in increasing costs of delivering IT services, reducing productivity and greater customer dissatisfaction. Business service management aims to implement end-to-end management for IT services provided by the IT organization with the goal to address the challenges mentioned above.

Therefore, if managed appropriately, business service management can bring pragmatism to the overall approach that you may want to take in order to implement service management. The approach will help realize returns that can be directly related to business value thereby ensuring continual sponsorship and support for such initiatives.

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

Ahmad K. Shuja

*ITIL® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office

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