Feeds

Service Strategy

Is this the missing manual for SOA?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

"Service Strategy" is part of ITIL (the IT Infrastructure Library), which is one of the, perhaps surprising, success stories of UK government computing.

Originally, ITIL was a set of Operations-oriented “good practices” for IT Service Management: a non-prescriptive guide to the best way of doing things, backed up with ISO 20000, for people who wanted to certify what they were doing against ITIL. It was, and is, widely adopted outside of the UK.

Now, building on this success, ITIL has been “refreshed” as a complete service management lifecycle framework. It is important to modern developers as it is, in essence, a “spec” for integrating IT with the business in a service-oriented environment.

This book is the first manual in the five-core volumes that make up the ITIL v3 Refresh library – reviews of the other volumes will follow. As a service-based lifecycle approach is key to what the Refresh is all about, this book deals up-front with service strategy in terms your business paymasters can understand. It deals with services as (quoting the Afterword) “the predominant form in which value is created and transferred between organisations” and recognises that “service management is in time maturing as a discipline”.

The book’s authors, from Accenture and Carnegie Mellon University, demonstrate both practical and theoretical knowledge of their subject. They have also benefited from a wide-ranging review and feedback process – to a significant extent, ITIL v3 is a true community effort.

Chapters range from the definition of Services and the Service Management lifecycle, through strategy, the economics of service delivery, organisational issues, tactics and even the relationship of technology to strategy. The identification of the Tool Trap (even adoption of good tools requires training and lowers productivity in the short term, which may tip a resource-constrained organisation over into failure) might justify the purchase of this book by itself for some organisations. There is an interesting (if quite short) final chapter on “challenges, critical success factors and risks”, together with a glossary and a guide to further reading.

There are plentiful diagrams throughout the book, which lighten the text and aid understanding, although some are a bit glib and it can be difficult to work out what some of them really mean. Even so, overall, this book is both thought-provoking and a fairly easy read.

In the modern “service-oriented” world, this book helps you think about what you mean by a “service”. It should help address a significant issue with, SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture): technologists think about service-oriented applications in technology terms, rather than asking what business services the company needs in order to do business in a service-oriented world and then automating the delivery of these services. In order to be “not optional” (as William Green CEO of Accenture, puts it) developers have to start delivering holistic business services and this book should help them do this (or, if they already are, help them to convince business managers of this).

It is intended to be a “living resource” – It will change and grow, supplemented by complementary online resources, although it is too early to assess how successful this will be. However, ITIL does seem to be an evolving community now, rather than just a set of arid standards.

My only real concern with this book is the cost. Although cheaper, online, versions are available, this is the sort of book you want to read on the train and make marginal notes in. As accessible knowledge, it’s actually quite good value but, since it could help promote the effectiveness of UK, plc on the world stage, it’s a pity that the government doesn’t subsidise it so as to enable wider usage. All concerned deserve their proper reward, so it does need a subsidy to cover the authoring and publication, but the wider the distribution of the ITIL manuals, the more opportunities for well-paid training, mentoring and consultancy open up to the ITIL community.

Service Strategy

Verdict: This book might be the “missing manual” for any SOA initiative. As a book, it is expensive; but as packaged consultancy in developing automated services, it is invaluable. It is really all about making IT “not optional” and is, therefore, worth the attention of anyone wanting a career in IT.

Authors: Majid Iqbal and Michael Nieves

Publisher: TSO

ISBN: 978-0-11-331045-6

Media: Book

List Price: £85.00

Current Reg price: £76.50 inc. VAT (discount 10%) Buy this book at Register Books at Reg Developer's special discounted price (subject to change)!

A discounted collection of all 5 ITIL V3 manuals is available here, for £269.10 (subject to change)

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?