Where to start with Service Management? (Video)

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In this video Stefan Kempter presents a high-level roadmap that shows the steps required to bring the service management guidance to life in your organization.

The service management body of knowledge is mostly made up of various frameworks such as ITIL®, SIAM™ or VeriSM™ that describe service management principles, best practices and processes. The amount of guidance in these frameworks, however, is quite daunting, and many organizations that wish to improve the management of their services are wondering, what are the key issues we need to address and where should we start.

The roadmap for service management implementations described in this video can serve as a guideline for a wide range of service management initiatives.

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Video transcription

The service management body of knowledge is mostly made up of various frameworks such as ITIL®, SIAM™ or VeriSM™ that describe service management principles, best practices and processes. The amount of guidance in these frameworks is quite daunting, and many organizations that wish to improve the management of their services are wondering, what are the key issues we need to address and where should we start.

So today we're going to look at something like a very high-level roadmap that describes the steps required to bring this guidance to life in your organization.

Before we take a closer look at each step of our roadmap, here's an overview:

Determine who is in charge: Setting up the service management office

So, every service management journey should begin with identifying the individual or team who is in charge of the whole effort, and many organizations have found that establishing a service management office (or SMO) is perfect for overseeing all service management initiatives.

The SMO is typically a smaller group of people who

  • set policies and standards,
  • train service practitioners,
  • set up and manage service management initiatives and projects,
  • and support the provision of high-quality services within the organization.

Your SMO will typically require a platform for managing and sharing information. There are many options for such platforms, so what I show here is only example:

Many organizations use Microsoft® Teams as collaboration platform, where

  • chats help the SMO team to stay connected and keep everyone in sync, no matter where they work from,
  • and a Kanban-style task management tool provides an instant overview of the current workload and helps to keep track of projects and tasks, including responsibilities and deadlines.

Most service management offices will also provide some kind of SMO portal, as in this example. Here everyone in the organization has access to the various documents and other content created by the SMO, such as

  • customer journey maps,
  • the service portfolio,
  • process documentation,
  • the org chart, etc.

We will see examples of these documents later in this video.

Now that your service management office is established, what would be its first task?

Identifying services

Establishing the service portfolio

Since service management is all about providing high-quality services to your customers, you need to understand the needs of your customers, and therefore you should start with compiling a list of services or the "service portfolio".

The service portfolio is the core repository of all information about the services in your organization. Like in this example, the service portfolio provides an overview of all services, and it should contain key information about the services such as

  • service name,
  • description,
  • category,
  • status,
  • service owner,
  • and a link to more detailed information about each service.

If your organization has been providing services for some time, creating the first release of your service portfolio is quite straightforward. Otherwise, customer journey maps are perfect for figuring out which services you should provide.

Using a customer journey map

A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer's experience with a business. These visuals tell a story about how a customer moves through each phase of interaction, spanning each step from the initial engagement to a long-term relationship.

Your own maps may look slightly different, but typically customer journey maps describe

  • the triggers for each phase,
  • as well as client objectives and activities,
  • touchpoints,
  • desired outcomes,
  • and incentives.

At the bottom we can see how services support a positive outcome of each phase and contribute to a great customer experience. Customer journey maps are thus a good starting point when developing your service portfolio.

Once the customer needs and services have been identified, you can take the next step and define the processes required to manage those services.

Setting up the service management processes

The processes, practices and other guidance included in the popular service management frameworks are an essential input for this step, and to get you started quickly we have created the YaSM service management model.

The YaSM process model: a good starting point

The YaSM model is a translation of the key elements of the service management frameworks into a streamlined set of 19 processes.

As you can see, the YaSM process structure is rather straightforward and clear:

  • At the top we have five service lifecycle processes: Service strategy, design, build, operation and continual service improvement.
  • Then, below the service lifecycle, we find a number of supporting processes such as maintain the service portfolio or manage customer relationships.

If you know ITIL® or any other service management framework, you will immediately recognize where this comes from.

Of course, you don't need to implement all of these processes. YaSM is not a standard but a set of recommendations, and you can pick and choose which processes you want to adopt in your organization.

Upgrading the process architecture and defining the service management processes

Now the question is, how do these processes relate to your other, already existing processes? Most likely, your organization will have lots of existing processes, as in this example of a typical process architecture: We have management processes such as strategy and quality management, risk and resilience, etc., and core processes such as marketing, sales, product development and delivery, and so on.

Organizations that want to improve their service management will typically look at the recommended key service management processes, and the processes included in the YaSM model are a good starting point. If their aim is to improve their service development and delivery capabilities, they can pick the relevant processes and integrate them into the existing process landscape.

So introducing service management best practice will often mean adding new processes to the existing ones, but it can also mean enhancing existing processes.

For example, if you have a defined strategy management process already, you can check out what YaSM has to say about service strategy and use that guidance to enhance your current strategic process.

Likewise, the service management frameworks have a lot to say about customer relationship management, and that advice may help you to upgrade your existing customer relationship process.

Of course, you don't have to start from nothing as you define your service management processes. The YaSM model provides detailed templates, like this one that describes the recommended steps when a new service needs to be defined:

  • Describe the desired service outcomes from the customer perspective,
  • Describe the service interface,
  • Define capacity and performance targets,
  • Define availability targets,
  • and so on ...

In this way, the YaSM Process Map explains how service management works, and of course you can also change these diagrams and adapt the processes to the needs of your organization. I hope you will agree that with these templates, it shouldn't be too hard for your organization to get started with service management.

Still, introducing new processes usually means training people and setting up tools to support the processes, so for most organizations it's still a sizeable project.

Now, when the service management processes are in place, we can take the plunge and launch the service lifecycle with service design stage.

Designing the services

Service models

Service design often begins with the creation of a service model - a visual representation of how a service creates value for the customer. Here, for example, we have a high-level overview of an employee recruiting service provided by the human resources department. It describes

  • user actions,
  • touchpoints,
  • onstage and backstage actions by the service provider,
  • and the underlying processes supporting the service.

This kind of service model is the perfect first step to develop a good understanding of how a service is supposed to work. It's an important input for the next step: The creation of a detailed service definition.

Service definitions

Typically, you'll need a service definition, specifying the service properties, for every service. I have created an exemplary service definition for our employee recruiting service, and as you can see, this document defines service properties such as

  • service utility (what does the service do for the customer),
  • and service warranty (what guarantees come with the service).

So this document defines what the customers can expect, and it allows you to check at various points in the service lifecycle if the service is delivered as promised.

Now that your services are defined, you can start providing and managing the services across their lifecycle. To better understand what this means, let's take a look at the service lifecycle again:

The definition of the service properties is part of the service design stage, so that's where we are right now.

Implementing the services

What needs to happen next? We need to figure out what it takes to implement the services, which often means producing a service implementation blueprint. Then we can go about implementing the services and all required infrastructure and capabilities.

Operating the services

Once the services are operational, we need to ensure they are provided efficiently and effectively. This includes handling incidents and service requests and performing routine operational tasks.

We also need to check if the services are delivered as promised and produce service quality reports and statistical evaluations. Here's an example of such a report for our employee recruiting service. Maybe you remember that we promised to fill vacant positions within a couple of weeks, and this chart shows the actual lead times required to fill positions.

It's clear that our stated goal of hiring new people within six weeks has been missed for a large share of positions, and this suggests we should try to shorten the lead times.

Hence, in the section about needs for action, we state that we'll explore various options for improving the service, such as broadening the search to additional social media channels.

Continual service improvement

This report and its findings are a key input to the service improvement process, where we identify and implement service improvements. These improvements should be managed in the service improvement plan (or SIP), which essentially is a list of planned and ongoing improvement activities. The SIP is often a kind of Kanban board like this one that helps to keep track of tasks, responsibilities and deadlines.

And then the lifecycle starts over again with a fresh round of strategic considerations.

Example documents used in the service management roadmap

And that's it for today. I have tried to present a roadmap to better service management in your organization, and I hope I was able to provide some useful information.

In the YaSM Wiki you can check out the example documents I used at various points in this video, and learn more about YaSM and service management.

And if you have any questions, please get in touch!


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