Business service management

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Business service management (BSM) is an approach used to manage business IT services. BSM promotes a customer-centric and business-focused approach to Service Management, aligning business objectives with IT or ICT from strategy through to operations.

A BSM approach is most commonly applied in an Information and communications technology (ICT) environment, positioned above IT Service Management (ITSM) (which is often exercised according to guidance such as ITIL). BSM is distinctive in ensuring that business and customer objectives provide an input which is considered when defining the IT Service Management approach and the business services to be offered by the IT Service Provider (whether an internal IT department or an external service provider).

According to the 2011 edition of ITIL, business service management is "the management of business services delivered to business customers. Business service management is performed by business units."

ITIL, according to the ITIL books themselves, is "a set of best-practice publications for IT service management". ITIL does not, therefore, give guidance on Business Service Management or Service Management outside of the IT domain.

A BSM approach can be used to understand the impact of business needs on IT Services and infrastructure, helping in the process of planning to ensure the portfolio of Business Services and IT Services aim to support these changing needs and objectives. This approach also helps to understand how technology, including incidents, changes and new developments, impact the business and customers. BSM can provide a dynamic method for linking key service components and capabilities to the goals of the business. It can help prioritize the activity and response of IT staff and service providers based on business priorities, and identify the impact and cost of service outages.

Advocates of BSM often use it to support a cultural change from one which is very technology-focused to a position which understands and focuses on business objectives and benefits. Rather than supporting an internalized technology view, there is a shift to recognize and support customer needs and the delivery of value to business stakeholders including shareholders. A BSM initiative often underpins a shift in maturity for an IT department or service provider towards a more proactive and predictive operating model rather than the reactive and fire-fighting behavior which has been common in many IT operations. IT departments and Service Providers who reach this level of maturity often report improved relationships with their customers and business colleagues, being recognized as 'Trusted Business Partners' and 'Competent Suppliers' who deliver added business value rather than being considered a commodity or 'Necessary Evil'.

The benefits of adopting a BSM approach will vary for different organisations, but typically include: improved relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues; service quality improvements; cost reductions through improved efficiency; and a reduction in service outages and the impact of outage.

Based on industry best/good practice, standards, guidance and methodologies such as ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000, a BSM approach can[speculation?] ensure ICT departments and Service Providers operate in a more efficient and effective manner to underpin business objectives.

Business Services and IT Services[edit]

Business Services are delivered to customers, supporting their needs, sometimes through the support for a business process or directly supporting a service or product delivered to end customers. A business service may be supported by one or more IT Service(s), and may consist almost entirely of IT Services especially where the IT Service is directly customer-facing. Examples include online banking and online shopping.

An IT Service may not be customer-facing, for example an IT Service which is seen as 'back office' as it supports the execution of an internal business process, such as the support for a billing process which the Finance department would own and manage.

Service Management[edit]

Service Management is a generic activity which didn't originate from the IT industry, and therefore is much bigger and more widely applied than IT Service Management or Business Service Management. BSM and ITSM can be considered as applications of Service Management in a specific context.

IT departments and IT Service Providers may only deliver IT Services, but could also be providers of Business Services.

BSM Technology Tools[edit]

Many software vendors offer products which aim to support ITSM and/or BSM. These tools are often described as BSM tools, but they should not be seen as BSM in themselves. The tools may underpin and support a service management capability which includes people who execute service management, their portfolio of services and the process framework. BSM, ITSM, and Service Management in general, are not a set of software tools or products. They are all activities and approaches to the management of services throughout their lifecycle.

BSM is a set of management software tools, processes and methods to manage IT via a business-centered approach.[1] BSM technology tools are designed to help IT organizations view and manage technology environments to better support and maintain the main services they provide to the business.[2] BSM tools are critical enablers for the increasingly popular process that focuses on IT Service Management (ITSM) approach. BSM consists of both structured process and enabling software. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of IT management frameworks and concepts, has recently identified BSM as a best practice for IT infrastructure management and operations.[citation needed]

BSM allows IT departments to operate by service rather than by individual configuration items or technology silo, enabling prioritization of efforts, ultimately improving the service that is delivered to the business or organization.

Touching on all the lifecycle processes within the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, BSM is a way to bring together many disparate processes and tools, and creating quantifiable improvement in efficiency and the ability to view technology as it is germane to business process.[3]

Compared to traditional network monitoring[edit]

BSM software is an outgrowth of network management systems as the software tracks the performance and availability of the networks components across a data center.[4] Traditional network management systems focus on measuring and monitoring the technical metrics and trends of IT applications and infrastructure. The primary users of these systems are technicians and systems administrators in the operations organization. Although these systems enable the IT operations team to identify problem areas from a technical point-of-view for a given piece of the infrastructure, significant gaps exist in determining the business impact of a specific problem. For example, if a router and a server fail at the same time, these systems offer no way for the network operations center operator to determine which of these is more critical or which business services have been impacted by the failure of these devices.

Additionally, newer technologies such as service-oriented architectures (SOA), virtualization, cloud computing, portal frameworks, grid architectures, and mashups within an organizations make troubleshooting and monitoring of business services very difficult.[5] A single business process or service may be supported by a number of composite applications, all of which could be dependent on a diverse set of distributed computing and communications elements.[6] An isolated issue anywhere in this complex web may impact one or more tasks in the business process. Traditional network management systems and technology-centric monitoring approaches are incapable of determining the business impact of an issue in such a complicated infrastructure environment. This has given rise to Application Performance Management and the Real user monitoring (RUM) technology that now monitors the End User Experience (EUE) in real-time.

Newer BSM systems provide a unified view of the data center, allowing data center administrators to view and manage applications, networks and events, usually from a common dashboard. This means data center managers can see and troubleshoot problems before business customers do.[7]

Business Management Methodology[edit]

Although BSM is sometimes known as a methodology for information technology management by aligning IT services and the IT infrastructure supporting those services with business processes,[8] it is also sometimes considered a methodology for business management by helping businesses, including their IT departments, view their activities as services that are provided to external and internal customers.[9]

BSM provides a critical framework to make sure that the work of customer-facing and internal teams within an organization is defined and transparent to their customers, who can then influence the functionality and quality of the services they receive. BSM complements business process management (BPM) by helping an organization deliver more effective services across business processes. Together, BSM and BPM form the basis for all-encompassing, full-stack process-optimization platforms.[10] BSM adds a service-centered view across business processes and facilitates economies of scale for services that contribute to multiple processes.[11]

BSM also goes beyond IT service management (ITSM). BSM helps organizations better understand the business services that operate on top of the IT infrastructure, combining IT and non-IT management tools into a cohesive system for service delivery.[12]

BSM is team-focused and can be used by any team in an organisation to improve performance, based on ownership, pride, commitment and teamwork.[13] Through BSM, teams can formalise the services they provide as internal service level agreements (SLAs) or operational level agreements (OLAs).[14] BSM can also help teams review their “People, Process and Technology” capabilities and limitations to see how they can improve them and consequently improve the services they provide.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]