One of the really great parts of my job is the way casual conversations with colleagues result in finding something interesting. In this case it was about the challenges of ‘services’ not meaning as in ‘services’ in SOA, but as business services, delivering the way that business people recognize something as a joined up cohesive capability to complete a process across an enterprise. Part of the challenge is that as we move forward through dedicated applications and supporting structures towards virtual and then genuine clouds the clarity of understanding what failed and what are the consequences increases by orders of magnitude. Cue a conversation with David Faltot on the work he and his team have been doing on this area and the following abstract from his ‘formal’ reply to my request to get his view on this topic, together with some links to materials they have published.
Today’s IT organizations are moving from traditional, technology centric orientations to service oriented providers to the business. Workforce globalization with best-of-breed providers which leverage distributed workforces have become a trend as business searches for new methods of cutting cost and improving service. The additional need for flexibility to better meet changing business demands has resulted in the demand for a plug-and-play IT supplier model. These demands have fundamentally changed the way IT services are defined and the requirements for the delivery model have increasingly moved toward one that is service centric.

The transformation of IT to a Service Oriented model requires strong business alignment and a cohesive Service Management layer. The flexibility required by today’s business is driving the Service Management layer to become the conduit by which service providers provide service to the business. In turn, the establishment of mature Processes, Procedures and Work Instructions, within the Service Management layer, are required to manage the supplier base, provide transparency into IT performance, and provide the information necessary to enable the client to make the right decisions at the right times to meet changing market requirements.
The adoption of formal process standards such as ITIL v3 and Cobit 4.1 have become a key indicator of an organizations progress toward a Service Oriented framework. Many organizations believe that the adoption of ITIL assures compliance to formal ITIL standards, however, it is not the only the adoption of formal process standards that are required; it is the utilization, management and maturation of the processes, tools and frameworks that comprise the Service Management layer that assures improved customer service, business alignment and decreased business risk.
It is here that we identify the need for an objective tool to assess current state maturity of both the process model as well as day to day operational governance (the framework within which service management operates). Before we can develop a map to move toward a desired result, we need to first understand our present location. An objective tool should provide this capability along with internal cross checks to ensure validity of findings. As we gain insight into the holistic maturity of the IT enterprise, we can tie improvement recommendations back to business critical success factors to ensure we maintain business alignment.

As you will note David is more comfortable with a formal style to get his point across! But for those challenged by this topic, and there will be many, then you may find the following papers that explore the topic in more depth of value too.
Download the whitepapers:
IT Service Management Healthcheck
Service Management Integration is the Answer