Friday, September 28, 2012

5 Aspects of a Holistic Service Design in IT Service Management

This is probably not the first time you have heard the word 'holistic'.  Have you pondered over the thought of what is the actual meaning of the word holistic and why it is used so much in the IT world these days? Well, this blog post will help shed some light on this topic. Miriam's Webster Dictionary defines holistic as : relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.

Holistic Service Design Plant in hand image - Bluefrog Technologies LLC

Holistic medicine concerns with approaching treatment to the whole body rather than just treating the symptoms of an existing condition. Similarly, when approaching service design, we must take a complete, big picture perspective of the overall service that is being designed. It should not be done in isolation, the impact on the entire service, its management, tools, systems and architectures, other supporting processes and metrics should also be considered. 

A holistic approach to Service Design takes into consideration the 5 key aspects within all its process activities. It ensures that consistency and integration within all IT activities and processes are achieved both in function and quality.

The 5 key aspects to a holistic approach in service design are:

1) Gathering Service requirements for new and/or changed services: Requirements for new or changed services can be elicited through requirements analysis or extracted from an organization's service portfolio. Each requirement needs to be carefully evaluated, documented and agreed upon, so that the design document can be constructed.  This design document can then be compared to the strategy and constraints of the IT's service strategy to ensure that it is conforming to existing policies. Also, it must ensure that the new or changed service is easily integrated with the existing services and other underpinning services that support it.

2) Leveraging Information management tools like service portfolio and service catalog: The existing management tools must be closely evaluated to ensure that they are capable of supporting the new or changed service. Some of the key management systems in a service oriented organization are its service portfolio and catalog. These reside within the Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) and contain details on the design of the service, technology architectures and measurement methods & metrics.

3)Integration with Enterprise technology architectures and management architectures: Any new or changed service needs to be aligned with the organization's existing technology and management architecture to remain consistent and to ensure that the service is operable within the constraints of the existing architecture. If not, then either the architectures would need to be updated or the service's design would require modification to be successful.

4)Discovery of the processes required: As with any new or changed service, there is impact to roles, responsibilities and skills of individuals involved. Existing processes need to be reviewed to ensure that the new or changed process is not creating a major impact on how they function. If it is, steps need to be taken to educate personnel in their changing roles and processes need to be updated to accomodate for the new or updated service. This includes all service management processes, not just the one process in question.

5) Measurement metrics and methods: This is an often overlooked aspect when new or changed services are introduced. Existing measurements methods and metrics need to be reviewed and updated so that the new or changed service can be accurately measured and tracked. This might not be required if the change to an existing service is minor or does not impact the measurement metrics.

Considering the above 5 key aspects during the service design phase ensures that the new or changed service is integrated into the existing environment consistently and with minimal impact to the user.  ITIL's foundational principle is about IT as a service organization focusing on the business processes it supports and the value that the business receives or realizes as a result of its service. Hence, as a result of this model, the impact of technology on the business and how a business change may impact IT can both be predicted and measured. Adoption of a holistic approach to service design ensures that all aspects of the organization are considered and included within all new or changed services. 

Do you currently practice a holistic approach to service design in your organization or have an example of an approach that has worked for you in your organization? I would love to hear it! Please share your experiences in the comments section below.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Career Management: 5 Helpful Tips to Successfully Negotiate in a Tough Job Market

Back in December 2011, I was invited by to contribute as a guest blogger to their Career Connection Series, Ask the Expert. I developed an article that offered tips on how to successfully negotiate in a tough job market. This was almost a year ago. The current employment market as we know it is changing. There are new models being created and born almost every day. Below is a link to the original article as it appreared on Did you find the article helpful? Please leave your comments below.

Career Connection Series: 5 Helpful Tips to Successfully Negotiate in a Tough Job Market
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Tool Resource: Continual Service Improvement ITIL (CSI) Tracker

One of more frequent questions I get asked from my clients who are an ITIL shop is if there are recommendations for a good CSI Register tool. After having done some research on the internet and checking in with a few offerings, and I have concluded that though there are some flavors of home grown CSI Tracker tools in some organizations, there is not a tool in the market yet that supports this process. Some of my clients use a basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to track their CSIs, some others use their intranet, and some maintain a paper based form.

Hence, I decided to develop a very simple, crisp, straightforward Continual Service Improvement ITIL CSI Tracker tool that any individual or organization can utilize easily right out of the box. I am pleased to announce CSI Tracker Tool from Bluefrog Technologies LLC. It is one of the first official commercial product offerings and is currently in beta 1.0.

If you are a CSI Manager, or an organization that currently following the ITIL guidelines for Service Management, I invite you to give CSI Tracker tool a test drive. I would love to hear your feedback and see how the product can be further improved. Please leave your comments below.

To access CSI Tracker Tool, please follow the link below.

CSI Tracker Tool Logo
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