By ITIL® from Experience ©
Deciding if the Service Desk is a service is based on your perspective and I.T. strategy.
ITIL® states that the Service Desk is a function1 . As such it is a means to an end; a single-point-of-contact (SPOC) for Users to initiate or get status on an incident or request for service. Moreover, since Users cannot order a “Service Desk” it is easy to argue that it is not a service.
Likewise, in most organizations, the Service Desk is like the reception desk of a hotel. Using the reception or front desk is an integral part of consuming the service of the hotel stay since checking-in is required to consume the service. The fact that some hotels have enabled self-service check-in and check-out supports the fact that it is a function. The service is the room rental. The hotel reception is a means to an end.
However, in some organizations the Service Desk not only act as the point-of-contact for Users to access I.T. but also to access services from other groups. For example, some act as a point-of-contact for Building Maintenance to report burnt lights, defective doors or to request building access. In other cases the Service Desk provides first level support for the Application Development group, so that it does not have to setup its own point-of-contact and support processes. Both examples meets the definition of a service which is: “A means of delivering value to customers2 by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.”3 In these examples, the customers are the Building Maintenance Unit and the Application Development group.ITIL® Service Strategy mentions that value consists of utility and warranty (2007, p. 17). For the Service Desk utility
Utility: (ITIL Service Strategy) The functionality offered by a product or service to meet a particular need. Utility can be summarized as ‘what the service does’, and can be used to determine whether a service is able to meet its required outcomes, or is ‘fit for purpose’. The business value of an IT service is created by the combination of utility and warranty. See also service validation and testing.
Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspxis having the right mix of: business hours (e.g. 9 to 5, 24x7, follow-the-sun), linguistic capabilities, cost structure, types of service (e.g. onsite service, service counter for walkups, self-service), skill level (e.g. technical service desk or call-logging service), etc. The warranty
Warranty: (ITIL Service Strategy) Assurance that a product or service will meet agreed requirements.
Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspxmeans that it has enough infrastructure and staff to meet its SLA.
Moreover, the Service Desk has many attributes of a service like:
- An entry in the service catalogue or Service Portfolio (See Should the Service Desk be included in the Service Catalogue)
- An Owner, manager and service operators
- A Cost Model
- Charge back models for its use
- A Capacity Plan
- Performance measures
- An SLA
In addition, the following are examples of ITIL® processes used to manage the service called “Service Desk.”
|ITIL Process||Example of applicability to the Service Desk|
|- Request Fulfillment||Request for longer operating hours to support a unique Business situation|
|- Change Management||The impact of introducing a new service or modifying an SLA|
|- Configuration||Local or virtual, tiered levels|
|- Availability||Methods to ensure that it is available when the business needs it such as an overflow line or self-service|
|- Demand Management||Charge back, self-service, policies to limit the duration of calls|
|- Capacity Management||Welcome message in the telephone queue to increase wait time in order to reduce call overflow|
|- Financial Management||Budget, accounting, costing and charge back models|
|- Service Level Management||Support Levels like Bronze, Silver, Gold|
|- IT Service Continuity Management||Business Impact Analysis and Business Continuity Plan|
Another advantage of treating the Service Desk as a service is that it can be included in the Service Portfolio. This ensures that it is taken into consideration during strategy discussions and decisions which may affect its fit-for-purpose4 .
Therefore, depending on the strategy, the Service Desk can be a combination of:
- Service offered to the business (i.e. Business Service)
- Internal service offered to I.T. groups
With this in mind, the same conversation can be held regarding the Network Operations Control (NOC) or as ITIL® v3 calls it the IT operations control5 function.
- Should the Service Desk be included in the Service Catalogue
- What are good groupings for a Service Catalogue
- What are 16 challenges when gathering information for a customer-facing Service Catalogue
- Can we have a copy of your Service Catalogue and we will be done
- How to get the service desk to provide the right answers – The Structure
Function: A team or group of people and the tools or other resources they use to carry out one or more processes or activities - for example, the service desk. The term also has two other meanings: - An intended purpose of a configuration item, person, team, process or IT service. For example, one function of an email service may be to store and forward outgoing mails, while the function of a business process may be to dispatch goods to customers.- To perform the intended purpose correctly, as in ‘The computer is functioning.’
Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 http://www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx
Fit for purpose: (ITIL Service Strategy) The ability to meet an agreed level of utility. Fit for purpose is also
used informally to describe a process, configuration item, IT service etc. that is capable of meeting its objectives or service levels. Being fit for purpose requires suitable design, implementation, control and maintenance. Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 http://www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx
IT operations control: (ITIL Service Operation) The function responsible for monitoring and control of the
IT services and IT infrastructure. Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, English 2011 http://www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx
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