Let’s take an easy example – email. For many organizations, the email
service is provided by the Exchange servers. But most users see email
through the Outlook client software. So is it the Exchange or Outlook
service? But wait, the Outlook client has to run on a PC, so the service
requires the Exchange server, the Outlook client, and a PC (or laptop). But
if the PC isn’t connected to either the corporate network, or through some
remote service, it can’t access the Exchange service.
The typical Exchange and Outlook combination is also used for group
calendaring and perhaps shared/public folders.
That being the case, then, what’s the actual service? Going back to the
points above, users generally view Outlook as a solution to their need
for electronic communication that supports the business processes of
interactions with other employees, external partners, and customers. They
also see it as a solution for: scheduling meetings, conference rooms, and
other resources; as well as supporting the business processes of facilitating
oﬃce and customer logistics.
As you can see, the service is more than simply Exchange or Outlook – it’s
an electronic messaging, communication, and collaboration service.
And this brings us to a key point. Services should be named to describe
the business functions they fulﬁll – not the technologies pieces that
Identifying Your Services
Recognizing that users are the key to services, here are some ideas to help
identify your services:
Look through your service desk incident data. It’s really hard to ﬁx
a problem that isn’t associated with something a user is trying to
accomplish with a piece of technology. Whatever that is, it’s likely
“I need access to…” – things that customers ask to access are nearly
always a service, or part of a service.
Everything that’s included in setup for new employees – if you have an
onboarding checklist, it can be a good source of ‘service’ candidates.
Common language – every organization has it’s own language or lexicon
for IT services, things like:
accounts payable system
local names like “the BEAMR system”
Thinking About a Service Catalog, But Your Organization Isn’t Ready for It?