Fordway Blog

For the record, those IT services won't document themselves!

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 15, 2019 3:24:46 PM / by Caroline Houlden

documentation

Most organisations spend a lot of money buying the right IT tools and services to support their business but how visible is the investment?

  • Can you easily supply a list of all the IT services your organisation supplies to your internal customers?
  • Do you understand how much they cost per user?
  • Do you know what service improvements need to be made and when key products supporting the services will go End of Life?

If the answers to any of these questions is no, then it is time that you created an IT Portfolio. It’s one of those housekeeping jobs that will make your life easier and ITIL, COBIT and ISO 20000 all concur that it’s best practice to fully document your IT services in this way.

You can go into as much detail as you like, but the aim is to create:

  • A single source of all existing IT assets including infrastructure and applications as well as equipment
  • A list of existing IT projects and initiatives
  • The associated value of services/assets to the organisation
  • A schedule for forthcoming service improvements and/or the replacement and retirement of EOL services.

When documented this information will make the IT decision making process easier by providing transparency on the full catalogue of services supplied and their relative value and risk (should they fail) to the organisation. It will help you to highlight the gaps where funding is needed for service improvement. It can also help to ensure consistency, avoid duplication of work unnecessarily by encouraging a process of standardisation in terms of technologies, software, process and skills.

A well-managed portfolio should enable the organisation to prioritise budgets and investment effectively and manage risk by pro-actively replacing or retiring services or applications and equipment that are failing or are end of life.

Building your IT Service Portfolio

This defines the actual services that your IT department provides to external departments.

You can build a list of Service Categories and develop a service catalogue according to all the functions performed for the business

  • Application Services
  • Business Services
  • Communication Services
  • Hardware Services
  • Hosting Services
  • Infrastructure Services
  • Security Services

Your portfolio should contain any contractual commitments, new services being developed, service being retired and third party infrastructure services which are integral to the business.

Service Name

Name of the Service -  e.g  CRM System

Service Description

Information on the lifecycle status of this service
A description of what it does for whom and information on the business processes and activities supported

Features

All the features of the service

·        E.g. server, cloud platform

·        Disaster recovery mechanism

Package

Pricing and any variations used within the organisation.

Service Category

What sort of service is it? E.g. Application

Service Type

Is it customer facing or internal only

Service Owner

The name of the person who provisions the service

Business Owner

Name of the person who owns the relationship within your organisation

Business Units/Customers

e.g. Sales, Marketing, Customer support and Accounts – is it everyone within these departments or just named individuals

Business impact

Description of who will be affected in the event of a failure. May link to more detailed documents

Business Priority

Critical

SLA

Link to SLA documents

Service Hours

Hours and availability

Escalation Contacts

Who to contact in the event of an emergency

Service Reports

Links to all the information related to the service health

You could rate red, amber green as a visual aid

-        Availability

-        Capacity

-        Security

-        Compliance

Service Reviews

How often the service is reviewed e.g. monthly where what days

Security Rating

Low, Medium or High

Request procedures

What elements users can ask to change and how and who to ask for the change

Pricing and chargeback

Explanation of how costs are calculated

Policies

Link to contract

Required Infrastructure

The other services on which this service depends

Services Supported

Can be none if no services depend on this service, otherwise list the service this service supports

Configuration Information

Any major configuration information items which the service requires– can link to further documents

Planned changes

Links to reference any plans, business cases /cost benefits,  priority, schedule and status etc

You may not have all of this information to hand to begin with. The aim is to start the process and record the key details and the maintain and update this as your central record for the systems you run.

Cataloguing this information will help you to:

  • Identify and eliminate any redundant services
  • Quantify the condition of services in terms of stability, quality and maintainability
  • Allocate resources in relation to the services condition and importance in the context of business priorities.

You will most likely want to review the ROI, Value added and total cost of ownership for each of these services. This will help you to manage the risk versus reward when you come to plan your annual IT budget. If a process is struggling then you may choose to cancel or defer a project to allow you to make better use of resources. Having all the information to hand helps to ensure that decisions are made strategically rather than piece meal on a subset of information.

If you are looking to review your IT strategy or are looking at how to implement service improvement Fordway offer Early Stage Options Analysis.

Topics: Insider, legacy, IT Strategy, technology, ITIL