The ITIL Service Lifecycle divides the ITIL service management framework into five distinct stages that aide in determining the most ideal approach to designing, delivering, managing, and improving how IT is used within any organization. The ITIL Service Strategy stage is the first of five stages in the ITIL Service Lifecycle and guides the development of IT service management by understanding the organization’s objectives and customer needs.
The ITIL Service Strategy Stage
The ITIL Service Strategy stage plays an integral role in the overall ITIL Service Lifecycle. This stage is the center of the service lifecycle, and ensures that the approach required to translate the organization’s goals into client services is defined, implemented, and maintained. The Service Strategy stage also focuses on helping organizations prioritize investment in their services.
The ITIL Service Strategy stage supports the IT organization to improve and develop over the long-term through a number of critical processes:
- Strategy Management for IT services
- Financial Management for IT services
- Service Portfolio Management
- Demand Management
- Business Relationship Management
Strategy Management for IT services:
The purpose of the Strategy Management (for IT services) process is to assess the organization’s service offerings, competitors, and market opportunities in order to develop a strategy to serve customers. The Strategy Management process involves three sub-processes used to further define and execute on the strategic approach in providing IT services:
- Strategic Service Assessment – gauges the current state of the service provider within their market space; this also includes an assessment of the present service offerings, customer needs, and competing offers from other service providers.
- Service Strategy Definition – defines the overall goals the service provider should pursue in development of their business, and identifies what services will be offered to which customer segments based on the strategic service assessment.
- Service Strategy Execution – outlines the strategic initiatives the service provider should implement in order to execute on the service strategy definition.
Financial Management for IT services:
The purpose of the Financial Management (for IT services) process is to understand and optimize the organization’s cost of providing IT services. The Financial Management process consists of three sub-processes used to plan, control, and recover cost spent in providing IT services:
- Budgeting – enables the service provider to plan future IT expenditures, and reduce the risk of over spending by ensuring the revenues are available to cover the estimated spend.
- IT Accounting – allows the service provider to perform various financial analyses to gauge the efficiency of the IT services, and determine areas where costs savings can be made.
- Charging – provides the service provider the ability to assign costs of an IT service equivalently to the users of the service.
Service Portfolio Management:
The purpose of the Service Portfolio Management process is to ensure that the organization’s service offerings are clearly defined and meet the needs of clients. The Service Portfolio, in essence, is a catalogued inventory of all the services that are available from a service provider. The Service Portfolio is often comprised of three types of service: the pipeline services, which lists the services that are yet to be offered; the current services, which details the services that are currently operational; and the retired services, which lists the services that are no longer offered. For an organization there are many benefits to implementing and maintaining a service portfolio, including the collection of metrics that represent the demand and utilization of those services. Service Portfolio Management also assists senior leaders to understand the correlations of service related work, assets, and resources to the customers that request them.
The purpose of the Demand Management process is to understand, plan for, and manage the demand for the organization’s services. The Demand Management process utilizes output information from the Service Portfolio Management process with respect to understanding current demand, and forecasting future demand; this knowledge is valuable in informing the organization of service improvements or potential pipeline service opportunities.
Business Relationship Management:
The purpose of the Business Relationship Management process is to understand, define, and support the development of beneficial and long-last relationships between the organization and its customers. This Business Relationship Management process recognizes the needs of existing and potential customers (in the form of customer satisfaction surveys and compliant management), and ensures that appropriate services are developed to meet those needs.
In summary, the ITIL Service Strategy stage is all about enabling an IT organization to become a market leader by developing a sound approach to managing the costs, risks, and demand of their service portfolio.
Learn more about the other stages in the ITIL Service Lifecycle and how this framework supports business transformation:
- The ITIL Service Design stage is the second stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, and focuses on meeting customer needs by turning the organization’s service strategy into an executable plan for delivering business objectives.
- The ITIL Service Transition stage is the third stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, and focuses on building and deploying IT systems by improving the organization’s capabilities for introducing new services into supported environments.
- The ITIL Service Operation is the fourth stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, and focuses on ensuring IT systems run efficiently by effectively managing the organization’s services in the supported environments.
- The ITIL Continual Service Improvement stage is the fifth and final stage in the ITIL Service Lifecycle, and focuses on re-aligning IT services to changing business needs by identifying and implementing incremental service improvements for the organization.
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