To ensure a holistic approach to service management, ITIL® 4 outlines four dimensions of service management, from which each component of an organization’s service value system should be considered. The four dimensions are:
- organizations and people
- information and technology
- partners and suppliers
- value streams and processes.
Let’s have a look at how the four dimensions apply to a company – we’ve chosen the fictional Axle Car Hire for this purpose.
Organizations and people
The organizations and people dimension focuses on the way an organization is structured and managed, and the roles, responsibilities, and systems of authority and communication within that organization.
At Axle Car Hire, this dimension represents the different teams and roles across the organization that contribute to the effective provision of services to customers, including the IT team, procurement, HR, and facilities. All of these teams must work together to deliver value to the users of Axle Car Hire’s services, and it is important that the roles and responsibilities of each team, and the members of those teams, are well defined so that the company can operate effectively.
Information and technology
The information and technology dimension includes the information and knowledge required for the management of services, as well as the technologies needed. At Axle Car Hire, this dimension represents the information created and managed by different teams, such as records of bookings, information on the fleet of rental cars, or the account details of customers. All of this information is essential to ensuring that Axle Car Hire’s services run smoothly, and customers can easily hire cars and make use of them without issues. The knowledge component of this dimension is also important; Axle’s staff need to understand how the organization’s services are run and how to use the knowledge created by different teams to keep Axle Car Hire’s services operating effectively.
This dimension also represents the technologies that support and enable these services. This includes any applications and databases that Axle Car Hire uses, such as their booking app and financial system. These elements are just as important as the company’s fleet of cars as they ensure customers have a good experience.
Partners and suppliers
The partners and suppliers dimension encompasses an organization’s relationships with other organizations that are involved in the design, development, deployment, delivery, support, and/or continual improvement of services.
For Axle Car Hire, this dimension includes many other companies and stakeholders that they rely on to provide their services. The cars are a key element of the service offering, and Axle relies on certain partners, such as fuel providers, cleaners, and car dealers, to provide and maintain vehicles for customers to use.
There are also elements of Axle Car Hire’s services which are less visible to customers, but no less important, and which should not be disregarded. For instance, Axle Car Hire relies on IT providers to support their website and booking system, and external developers to create new functionality for the booking app. All of these play a role in helping Axle Car Hire’s services to operate smoothly and effectively.
Value streams and processes
The value streams and processes dimension is concerned with how the various parts of the organization work in an integrated and coordinated way to enable value creation through products and services.
For Axle Car Hire this dimension represents the series of activities that are performed within the organization to provide services to customers. To do this effectively, many different teams at Axle Car Hire need to coordinate and perform a variety of activities, such as customer services interacting with customers, the IT team ensuring that Axle’s booking system is functional, and car maintenance teams keeping Axle’s cars in good working order. Value streams help to identify wasteful activities and remove obstacles that hinder the organization’s productivity.
Balancing the four dimensions
The four dimensions of service management represent a holistic approach to service management, and it is important for Axle to ensure that its focus is balanced between each dimension. Using the best combination of Axle’s people, teams, value streams, and ways of working in this way will help to make Axle’s services as effective as possible.
More information on the four dimensions
of service management can be found in ITIL® Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition