Many of my recent consulting interactions with service organizations and their customers has been making one strong statement:Visibility_Page_Header

Service Portfolio needs to be brought into a larger mainstream role over Service catalogue in service provider scenarios. Or in other words, Service Catalogue might have to have a larger scope than just the ‘live and currently offered services’.

First, let us set the context here:

ITIL® has been clear on one aspect:

  • Service Catalogue is the only part of the service portfolio published to customers (ITIL® Service strategy publication).
  • Also the diagram in figure 2.6 in the same publication indicates Service catalogue as the only portion of the Portfolio that is visible to customer

In a typical IT Service management scenarios (especially in external, retail service scenarios), this is more or less logical and accurate.

However, in today’s world of ‘so-called’ Business-IT integration (which ITIL® has been describing from its 2007 edition onward), will this be sufficient?

Let us look at the two scenarios of service providers:

a) An Internal IT Provider:

In this scenario, the business units are the key customers for the Service provider (internal IT department or a shared service unit). In this case, if only the Service Catalogue is visible and used in interactions with the customers, will that suffice for an effective business-IT integration?

It is quite apparent that a visibility into the Service Pipeline is highly essential to achieve effective levels of business and IT integration. In the internal Service scenario, the pipeline will be largely driven by the business strategy and priorities, and hence it is important for the business to have a visibility into the Service Pipeline of IT in order to understand and fine-tune (if and as required) the IT’s strategy and capabilities to ensure alignment to business.

So it is clear that, in an internal service scenario, the Service Portfolio (selective portions of the same, in some cases, where applicable) need to be visible to the ‘customer’ organization to ensure proper alignment and integration.

 b) An External Service provider:

Recently I happened to have interactions with the external customers of an IT solution/service provider. One of the key challenges that were repeatedly voiced by the key stakeholders in customer organization was:

  • Lack of visibility into the future solutions that the solution/service provider was planning to offer and/or the roadmap for the existing solutions/services in terms of enhancements and features.

Why is this important to the customer organization? (more…)


Can’t help it – but to reinitiate the topic.

ITIL V3 documentation could have handled these topics much better.

I introduced this topic in a previous blog here – on the confusion created about positioning the service porfolio – either in Service Strategy phase or Service design phase.

My discussions with one of the authors of ITIL V3 – Service Design – Mr. Colin Rudd has clarified the same to a great extent- and I blogged about that too.

But the ITIL V3 documentation has much more confusing elements such as below:

  • Designing Supporting systems, especially Service portfolio (Sec 3.6.5 – Service Design): After talking about the statuses a service can undergo through out the life cycle (and as should be updated in the Service portfolio) , the section explains that those Services which are between ‘chartered’ and ‘operational’ will be included in the Service catalog. So we have to understand that even the services in the stages of ‘design’, ‘develop’, ‘build’, ‘test’ etc are also to be included in the Service catalog.

  The same section goes ahead and explains – Service pipeline contains ‘those business requirements  that has not become services released to live environment’. Does this indicate that the services in the design/develop stages are part of Service pipeline also? So where is the clear differentiation/boundary between Service pipeline and Service catalog?