For those who are unfamiliar with it, ITIL refers to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library which is basically a set of recommended guidelines that assists businesses in aligning technological use with their business goals. Following down the ITIL certification path means knowing ITIL conceptually and technically, in and out.
This becomes more essential in times like now where technology dominates corporations, markets, and people. There are five broad categories when it comes to the ITIL cycle and they are: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.
In this article, we will be covering the very first stage of the cycle which is Service Strategy. The very first stage is the most important step because it lays the foundation for all proposed solutions. There are four components to focus on when going through the process of service strategy: Perspective, Position, Plan, and Pattern.
When it comes to perspective, any business proposal requires you to be clear about your vision and ideas, so you need to be able to describe it sufficiently. When it comes to business, you are never the only one in the industry, there are competitors which is why you have to learn how to optimally position yourself against rivals to stakeholders.
When explaining your plan, be sure to give concrete and actionable points. Lastly, is to focus on the pattern which is to ensure continuity and consistency of the actions your organisation will implement to ensure processes, policies, budgets and more are covered.
Keeping those in mind, we are ready to embark on the five steps of service strategy. Do note that these are recommendations and are, by no means, doctrines to be followed strictly. Feel free to innovate and alter according to your organisation style and needs.
Strategy Management for IT services
For the companies offering their IT services to businesses, the most important thing is to determine how your service can fit into a business’ needs which requires plenty of personalisation for each company. So at this stage, you will need to learn how to assess, define, and execute your proposed strategies.
In assessing your strategies, you should attempt to evaluate the ones that are currently in place. This is where opportunities and limits are found as you identify what works and what does not, and where your unique selling point is.
Once the assessment is done, it is important to combine this knowledge to define the goal that your service is planning to achieve. This should be tailored to fit the needs of your targeted customer base.
Naturally, the next step is to devise next moves to successfully implement your service and achieve what you set out to do.
IT Financial Management
After knowing the strength and weaknesses of your service, this is where you should put a price on it with the financial ABCs. This step is important to ensure that your clients do not need to worry too much about the costs and that you are able to make a profit from it.
Accounting is indispensable. It is the step required to help you plan out the costs that will be involved in dispatching your service. Not only does this paint a clearer picture for clients, it also provides an opportunity to reduce costs. It is advisable to consult an expert on this.
Budgeting helps with managing the costs that accounting has arrived at. Once you are aware of the estimated costs, you should come up with a budgeting plan to see how funds should be allocated.
Charging your clients can finally happen when the first two steps are completed. The final billing should not deviate so much from your budgeting plans but the charges should be allowed some room for changes.
Service Portfolio Management
In this step, it is basically a consolidation of all the services you have under your belt. It comes in three parts: the service catalogue, service pipeline, and retired services catalogue.
The service catalogue is the array of services that you are currently offering. It is good to have one so that you can provide a summarised document for your potential customers’ perusal. Plus it would be good to have an immediate idea of what you already have to explore potential ideas for growth.
The service pipeline is then a wider berth of services whereby it includes those that are in the midst of planning. Even if they are not ready to be offered to consumers, it should still be added to the service pipeline for you and your team’s reference. This helps in future development of your business.
The retired services catalogue is as its name states, all the services that have been chucked aside. It is important to have this archive so that there will be little overlaps of new services with retired ones.
Demand is one of the most volatile factor when it comes to consumption but there are ways to ensure that the demands do not differ too drastically from your own projections.
Do a deep dive into your current set of customers to analyse what is the current frequency, volume, duration and location of your service. These are components that are important in determining the cost to potential customers.
Analysis should go hand in hand with anticipating what your potential customers are seeking for, that is to liaise with them directly and determine their needs.
Influencing might sound like a red flag but it is important to do this especially when collaborating with fickle businesses. In those cases, you can add on additional charges for the under-or-overuse of your service.
Doing a business is not a one-time affair. It is the painstaking yet fruitful process of maintaining existing relations, and attracting new businesses to stay on for the long haul. So, it is important to cover the end-to-end of business relations. It does not stop at the end of the sales process, there are also after-sales services to take care of.
While it is tedious getting the ITIL framework running at the start, it will prove to be beneficial for companies in the long-term.