An IT service is an information technology service that a company that maintains an IT infrastructure or an internal specialized unit provides to an enterprise to support its business processes. The English word service can be translated both as “service” and as “service” in the broadest sense of the word. As a rule, the consumer of enterprise IT services does not care what tools it is provided with. The area of responsibility of the specialists providing IT services is to ensure the proper level of their quality.
Enterprise IT service management
IT service for outsourcing organizations includes implementation and support of systems, system and network integration, custom software development, consulting services, outstaffing. Internal IT services of an enterprise, provided by its own service, can be quite individual and depend on the industry, direction of business, company size, etc. They can be divided into 3 main groups: business software support, user support and IT infrastructure support in general.
Enterprise IT services and outsourcing
In recent years, the range of services in the field of information technology has expanded significantly. Now it includes not only the development of software applications and technical support, but also audit of information systems, consulting on optimization of infrastructure and operating business processes. The services for the development of the strategy of companies in the field of IT related to management consulting are also in great demand in the market. Also today there is great interest in information security services. IT service outsourcing helps customers plan and balance costs by paying a monthly fee for an external service.
Enterprise IT services include those types of work that consumers can outsource to IT outsourcing, and outsourcers can accept for execution. In a way, IT services can be called formalized work packages, transferred by clients to external outsourcing companies.
IT service as a commodity
The question may arise: why did the listed activities need to be attributed to the concept of IT service? First of all, in order to be able to formalize the process of providing a service, to be able to measure its result and quality using objective criteria. Second, to use the best international practices for standard types of IT services within formalized models. As a rule, outsourcing firms specializing in the provision of IT services are engaged in the study of world experience.
IT service as a commodity
The formalization of a service, as a rule, occurs at the level of drafting a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This name was adopted in the concept of the library of best practices on IT infrastructure – ITIL. The SLA service model is similar to other software and technical service models. It helps to effectively manage IT services, in particular, it sets the exact time for the provision of services, determines its users, their location, response time to a request, a user – to a service, etc. and the rules of interaction between the customer and the contractor. SLA is one of the main documents defining the relationship of the parties, concretizing and fixing the parameters for the provision of IT services. Their supplier must achieve the established indicators in-house.
For example, during the commissioning of applications, an SLA or regulation is also drawn up, according to which it is possible to establish under what conditions and to what extent business users can use software, which is becoming an important part of the business process.
A service level agreement is important for an outsourcing firm because it contains requirements for the level of quality of work performed and describes the parameters for their measurement. However, first of all, it is needed by the customer who gets a convenient opportunity to effectively manage IT services and control the services provided to him on the basis of the Agreement included in the outsourcing agreement. Now the majority of large companies have a service model in the field of IT, although not always formalized. At the same time, the unspoken evaluation criteria are valid even if there is no official SLA for IT services and products. The presence of formalization testifies to the maturity of the service model, as well as its variability and controllability.
IT service management based on ITIL using ITSM models
ITSM (IT Service Management) is an approach to the management and organization of IT services, aimed initially at meeting the needs of the business. In the framework of ITSM, service management is implemented by outsourcers through the use of the optimal combination of specialists, processes and technologies. A series of ITIL documents are used to implement this approach.
In contrast to the more familiar technological approach, this one implies focusing on the business client and his needs, the services provided to users through the use of information technology, and not on themselves. The process organization of the delivery of IT services and the performance parameters (KPIs) described in the SLA help to provide the required services by measuring and improving their quality.
The main principle of ITSM can be called consistency: when describing the constituent elements of ITSM (including management of incidents, configurations, security, etc.), their relationship and interaction with other elements, processes, services are necessarily determined and valuable practical recommendations are given.
ITIL is not a specific algorithm or guide to action, however, it describes best practices (so-called best practices) and offers recommendations for the formation of a process approach and quality management of IT services. Despite some abstractness, the ITIL library is aimed at practical use. Each section describes the main success factors for the introduction of certain processes, with practical advice prevailing over theory.
Solving business problems
The effective solution of business problems, achievement of strategic goals and ensuring the continuity of business processes are due to the reliable operation of corporate IT infrastructure. The modernization and complication of IT resources and their active use lead to the complication of information system management and automatically the cost of its support. In this case, it is necessary to strive to improve the quality of IT infrastructure service while reducing the costs of its maintenance.
Basic requirements for an outsourcing firm or internal service providing IT services:
reducing the cost of ownership and maintenance of IT resources;
guarantee of return on investment in IT;
the ability to quickly adapt the infrastructure to changes in business processes;
effective planning and strict control over the implementation of new solutions.
Satisfaction of the listed needs is impossible to achieve without an integrated management system for IT resources and services. In enterprises that are especially active in using modern technologies for business automation, IT services become a kind of internal service providers. This means a shift from supporting and servicing users and individual infrastructure components to providing a suite of IT services.
However, for most organizations, maintaining an internal IT department turns out to be too costly, and they have to turn to outsourcing companies that offer solutions to improve the efficiency of the information structure and high manageability and stability of critical IT processes. On the basis of ITIL / ITSM recommendations, IT specialists create projects, implement and automate IT service management processes.