Business Services

Business services is a general term that describes work that supports a business but does not produce a tangible commodity. Information technology (IT) is an important business service that supports many other business services such as procurement, shipping and finance.

A good business service aligns IT assets with the needs of a company's employees and customers and support business goals, facilitating the ability of the company to be profitable. Documenting the value that an IT department provides to the business often involves an audit of IT infrastructure processes, the creation or updating of an IT service catalog and/or the provisioning of an employee self-service portal to improve communication.

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.

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