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ITIL :: View topic - System vs Service
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System vs Service

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Joined: Jul 08, 2016
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: System vs Service Reply with quote

We are an internal IT department trying to develop a Service Catalogue, something like this:
The services we list in this catalogue will also be used in our CMDB as service CIs.

Within our organisation we have over one hundred business systems that we (the IT department as a whole) provide varying levels of support too. We provide infrastructure support for all, for most we provide 1st and 2nd level technical support, for some we provide user administration, for some we hold the source code and provide enhancements/bug fixes, and a small number our IT department even has an SME who provides business support, data corrections and training for that system.

We have categorised these business systems into groups depending on their purpose e.g. Human Resources Systems; Logistics Systems; Retail Systems etc. Within each group there are many different services e.g. the Human Resources group includes a Rostering System, a Professional Development system and many more.

My question is, at what level should we define the service?

* Is the provision of "Business Systems" as a whole the service?

* OR do my system groups become my service? But I find it hard to conceptualise "Human Resource Systems" as a service, because within that group there are 20 different and disparate systems which each have different levels of criticality, different user groups, different functions and which we provide different levels of support for - some we only provide infrastructure for and limited technical support; for others in that group we have developed internally and provide all levels of support and maintenance plus training, user guides etc.

* Should each individual system be thought of as a service e.g. the "Rostering System" could be one service. I know this seems like we have failed to distinguish between "systems/software" and "services" but as I see it, the provision of the Rostering System "as software" means you've handed over a piece of software on a CD. Providing the Rostering System "as a service" means we are providing not only the software but all the technology in the stack which allows it to run, we are providing the people to support it, we manage its upgrades, we provide the ITSM processes to manage it etc.

* Or have I got it completely wrong. Are training, user administration, infrastructure support etc the "Services" we provide?

I'd really appreciate your help, experience and advice on what the pros/cons of each approach are and what you have done in the past.

Kind Regards and thanks,
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Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 3603
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to look at this from the side

IT has computer systems
HR has Human resource management systems

Same word ==different meaning

The Business service is what the end customer or user is doing with the IT bits and bobs to execute a PROCESS that is solely business related

For example: Payroll.

Every month, payroll is calculated for each person, their corporate advances, loans, pay etc is calculated based on a PROCESS defined without using a computer system

The payroll statements for each month for 1 - 3 employees can be easily determined with a sheet of accounting paper, a hand held calculator. If properly following accounting processes, this would include the YTD amounts taken from each employee for taxes, etc. Then the sum for the month of what has to be paid in taxes to the appropriate governments can be figured out on paper

All the Payroll system is allow this work - which may take an hour per person by hand to be automated. The Business process is the same.

This is the Business (facing) service.

The Business (facing) service may be llinked to other Business (facing) services., Each could be broken into the techno babble for IT related down to the servers, O/S, etc
John Hardesty
ITSM Manager's Certificate (Red Badge)

Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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Joined: Jul 08, 2016
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks for your response, I'm not sure I completely understand though.

If I go back to my original example, I understand your distinction to mean that we (the internal ICT provider) don't provide the Rostering service - it is our HR department that provides a Rostering service using a rostering process and utilising a Rostering System that automates the bits they could otherwise do manually. We, the internal ICT provider, provide the Rostering System as a business-facing IT service. So should we have a service CI in our CMDB called "Rostering System" or "Rostering System Service"? This could be linked to software CI of "ABC Rostering software," some server CIs etc. And should we have an entry in our service catalogue for the "Rostering System" service which provides an overview of its features, costs, how to get access to it etc.

We provide over 100 different systems in this way, so if we take this approach we will end up with maybe around 150 services in our catalogue. It feels like this might be too granular - I've read that I should be aiming for between 50-100 services.

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Senior Itiler

Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 3603
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Well Doh !.. yes you will have lots of business facing services that you deliver from IT.
And they all will be on the Service Catalogue - directly or indirectly.

Note: i am the Release & Config @ my org and I dealing with the same

You need to look at ITIL and the definition break down of service.

Core, enhancing, enabling.

So let us look at two different service you deliver and support.

HR Staff Management which includes Payroll and Holiday management
Laptop - the laptop and its software

You have 20 office locations - in 1 or more states or countries - although every one uses 1 language

Laptop - you work with a 3rd party vendor - Dell - to build and deliver laptops to the 20 locations. core / enabling
The laptops all use windows 10, you have office standard - Outlook, word, excel and powerpoint - for all users. 10 % can have MS Access, 5% can have Visio and Project. core
You install LANDesk on the laptops to manage software distribution and license management - core
You use Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory with 20 local servers linked together to 1 site which is the central site (Data Centre not office).core / enabling
You contract with a telco to get each office to have internet connectivity. You have them manage the external Network aspects - firewalls, VPNs, switches - etc. Core
All offices are allowed to go onto the internet but are restricted / filtered to prevent going to dodgy and inappropriate sites - core / enabling
All laptops have A/V installed and you manage the deployment of the latest signatures to the laptops - core/enabling
In each office, there is two - 3 printers that all staff can use, so you have a User Document Print Service - core/enabling/enhancing

So, in the Service Catalogue, how would this be written up -

I see a bunch of services that are automatically bundled together because they represent the core service every one would have - automatically - when they get a laptop - (new employee or upgraded laptop)
I see a couple of services that are not business facing services but enable some of the business services - the vendor ones - Dell and Telco, AV
I see three services that are enhancing the basic service - MS Access, VIsio and Project

So when I create the SC Items - I would have 4 business facing services on the SC for the Business - Laptop -general, App - MS Access, Visio & Project. I would list everything that is included in the laptop service
EMail Service
AV Protection
Print Service
Office Productivity Service (MS Office)
System Maintenance

Then for the Technical SC, I would break it down by each service and indicate which would depends on what other technical service.

The technical one is not for the users - but for management when making deicsions as to change vendors etc

Digest this and see if you can replicate for the HR in response
John Hardesty
ITSM Manager's Certificate (Red Badge)

Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The laptop example is more of a "bundled" service isn't it? Whereas for HR Staff Management I'm not really sure how to break it down into multiple services, but will give it a go.

Ok so say we are using a single HR Software package that provides both Payroll and Holiday management

We use a HR software package to provide payroll and holiday management - Core / Enabling
We use job scheduling software to schedule the payroll batch jobs - core/ enabling
We use a single sign-on tool to provide user authentication into the HR system - enhancing
We integrate the tool with our email service to provide email notifications - enhancing
We provide technical support, training & business support in use of the software tool - enhancing
The system uses SolarWinds monitoring software for network, log and server monitoring of batch jobs etc - enabling
We use some virtual & physical servers to run the system - core / enabling
The system depends upon network, security, data etc services - enabling

The way I would break this down is:
One business-facing service*:
HR Staff Management system

Which in our Self-Service catalogue would have available offerings such as:
- Request Training (Service Request)
- Request Business Support / Help (Service Request)
- Report an Issue (Incident)

The HR Staff Management system service depends on other business-facing services:
Single Sign-On tool

And the HR Staff Management system service depends on technical services such as
Job Scheduling software
IT Infrastructure Monitoring software
Application Servers
Network services
Security services
Data services

* I have a single HR Staff Management system service rather than separating Payroll and Holiday Management because this is the way the user sees it in our organisation. Payroll, Holiday Management (as well as time recording, sick leave management etc) are simply features of a single service that we provide.

Thanks and I really appreciate your help with this!

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