Business service management (BSM) is about bringing value to a business through matching overall business objectives with IT.
Arguably, the concept has been with us for some time; but like the latest version of ITIL addresses the issue of business and services, it has taken a while for companies to catch on and understand the connection between BSM and business value.
The previous gap between IT and the rest of an organization is increasingly unimportant, in the same way the ITIL Service Catalogue has become a business service catalogue with departments collaborating to benefit the whole organization and its users.
But how do you create a vision centred on cross-business services?
First, it needs interaction: business leaders – evangelists and ambassadors – need to encourage all departments to work together. It might involve creating a committee, using a common language that goes beyond IT and embraces all views and ideas. This helps to create a business service catalogue covering the internal services for sales, HR, finance, maintenance and also external services. Once these are identified, you need to document the processes.
The challenges of BSM
A business service inevitably comes with a process; however, the process is often not documented or shared.
When organizations begin to gather the information needed to capture such processes, people in the business might feel challenged by divulging and sharing this information, which requires a lot of internal negotiation to make it happen. This is all about change management, which needs the involvement of internal influencers to smooth the change process.
ITIL supports implementing BSM in a tangible way: thinking about some of the key themes, such as the service catalogue, it gives you the ability to describe your organization’s services fully while Continual Service Improvement (CSI) does what it says and enables you to measure the value delivered to the business.
Even C-suite level people – the leadership – can benefit from ITIL processes within a BSM implementation, understanding the potential synergy hiding behind their current organization’s service delivery. Ultimately, the key measure of success is when people in the organization understand basic ITIL principles but take from it what works for them in their scenario.
Templates and tools
When implementing BSM, you need to work with the people responsible for particular services to help them understand the processes those services need to be successful. Having templates and workflow models will help and support them in this.
And having the right tools for managing and following up service requests can be contagious! Once a tool is up and running other departments become interested, which leads to a business service structure within the organization.
Effective tools can convert a service catalogue captured on paper into a web portal which supports processes and activities. System integration is a concrete way to add new processes and align business and IT objectives. In practice, having both CRM and ITSM tools enables different teams or departments to talk to each other and collaborate.
The value of BSM and the future
With BSM you can achieve a greater clarity across your organization about what delivers value and equips individuals and team to move together in the same direction.
It means having clear and efficient service level agreements across the business that you can measure and improve. For IT, BSM helps demonstrate that it’s part of the solution to bringing value across the business and not just a cost centre.
Overall, BSM reminds companies and their people why they’re there and what their objective is: to deliver services that satisfy their customers.
Read Stephane's previous blog post for AXELOS, How to develop applications with ITIL®, DevOps and agile methods.