I’m hoping you’re here because you read my first post, in which I introduced myself and attempted to answer the all-important question, “Why should I even listen to you?” I’m also hoping you’re here because you want more info on my passions, CA Spectrum and CA Service Operations Insight (SOI).
In these posts, I could tackle any number of topics that would help customers who want to corral their processes for monitoring and measuring business services, and I will. But in this post, let’s talk about an issue that affects everything an organization does to improve those processes. It’s actually sort of a pet peeve of mine—the confusion about what a business service actually is.
I’m not the only consultant who has worked with customers who don’t know the true definition of a business service. Often, my first order of business when I work with customers is to help them understand what a business service is and identify their mission-critical business services, so that we can monitor and measure what really matters to their success.
So in this post, I’ll take you through the process of definition and identification—that way, you’ll be ahead of the game when your organization decides to monitor and measure business services.
Business Service: A Definition
First, let’s put an easy-to-remember, jargonless definition of business services on the table. Try this:
A business service is a service that an organization delivers to external users (customers and partners) or internal users (employees or organizational members). The components of a business service can be any combination of applications, servers, network devices, storage gear, and IT services, just to name a few. At for-profit organizations, business services are income generators that make it easier and quicker for customers to procure goods or services. At organizations that are not necessarily for profit, business services must be mission critical to organizational goals. Overall, any business service worth its salt must be a critical success factor.
To put some meat on the bones of the above definition, here are some examples: The Internet- and phone-based applications that airlines use to sell tickets, banks use to provide financial services, the U.S. Army uses to deliver real-time info to front-line forces, and retail merchants use to sell goods to consumers are all business services.
Customers often misidentify resources that support a business service, such as a network, as business services. The trick of the trade is to identify business services that are critical success factors in processes and/or applications that facilitate a given critical task.
Building Business Services
After identifying a business service, we must conduct a mapping operation that analyzes each resource that helps to deliver the business service and determines the associations and relationships these resources have with other resources.
Equally important is an analysis of how a business service would be impacted if a resource were to go down or become degraded. Lastly, we need to identify a way to quantify business service degradations and/or outages so that we can create a service level agreement, the business service’s “report card” showing how well the service is performing. This is the essence of building business services.
My next blog will discuss building a business service in more detail, so please join me then.