ITIL for BAs. Part II

Service Strategy

If one purpose of any strategy is to express a consolidated, comprehensive view of mission and direction, then the BA should expect that an IT organization’s IT Service Strategy is embodied within the IT organization’s structure and the roles defined.

In ITIL V3 that embodiment of IT Strategy is realized through the role of the product manager, whose responsibilities include: 

  • driving service strategy 
  • managing services across their entire life cycle (concept, design, transition, operation, retirement) 
  • ownership and maintenance of the service catalog, an essential document that describes IT’s service capabilities in the customers’ terms
  • understanding IT’s service models and how to drive changes and improvements effectively through those models
  • knowing the costs and risks associated with the lines of Service they represent
  • evaluating new technologies and operating models that can be leveraged for greater efficiency and effectiveness
  • providing financial analysis of existing, planned, and proposed services
  • supporting the business in building business cases for new services or improvements to existing services

The above responsibilities are only half of the story, as they are primarily inward-focused.  On whose behalf is the product manager carrying out those activities?  In ITIL V3 it is the primary relationship the product manager has with the business s through the Business Relationship Manager (BRM), who represents the customers and their IT service requirements.  Together the product manager and the BRM work to 

  • understand the financial elements of IT Service delivery
  • express the demand the customers will have on IT Services (new and existing)
  • build business cases from a life cycle point of view
  • manage the resulting service(s) within the context of their respective IT service and business solution portfolios

In BA terms, the BRM is the business analyst.

It is interesting to note that the definition of the product manager directly addresses (I think) the question of whether a business analyst should be part of the business or part of IT – the answer is both, for the ITIL V3 product manager is, in essence, a “business analyst”, with a specific focus on IT Services.

For more information, ITIL Service Strategy Appendix B section B2 presents a concise summary of the nature and value of those two roles.  ITIL V3 books are available from most major booksellers and also from the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) at the publications section of their Web site at http://www.itsmfusa.org/.