ITIL Service Lifecycle vs Service Value System

Written by Richard Thomas

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    You’ve likely heard about the ITIL service lifecycle and the service value system — what you might not be too familiar with is what exactly differs between both. Each framework is used as a means to the same end — to create and provide value once the demand and opportunity for it arises. Lately, however, there’s been a general shift towards a system that prioritises value at each stage, rather than running a compartmentalised process. 

    While making these differentiations it’s easy to get stuck trying to figure out any given framework’s complexities before a new version comes along, sparking the need to understand a system yet again in a seemingly never-ending cycle. As a value-driven organisation, your aim should be to deliver the very best you have to offer to your customers, whether you adopt and use every single aspect of a given framework or not. 

    Still, it can be valuable to learn about the key differences between the service lifecycle and the ITIL service value system even if it doesn’t eliminate the glaring issue of commoditisation, which we get into later. Ultimately, the way to side-step service commoditisation is to deliver value above all else — we at Highlight are pioneers in this field so can provide you with the necessary expertise and platforms to do this.  

    Lifecycle vs. Service Value System

    Going forward, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between the ITIL service lifecycle and the ITIL service value system, as well as its benefits.

    ITIL Service Lifecycle

    The ITIL service lifecycle is best illustrated by a wheel with spokes. Each of these spokes represent each of the stages that work in tandem that allow service providers to create, execute, and support the IT and business processes that the organisation it’s serving needs. Enmeshed into that lifecycle is also the need for continued improvement. 

    To further illustrate, the 5 stages of the service lifecycle are as follows — 

    1. Service Strategy: This is the stage that provides the supporting guidelines and strategies to effectively manage IT services. It’s best when the supporting guidelines and objectives are aligned with that of the organisations you’re serving. 
    2. Service Design: Here’s when you take your objectives, guidelines, and strategies and turn them into actionable services that add value to your customer. 
    3. Service Transition: The third part of the phase is where you get to test the veracity of your service design and put them out to market. But not before thoroughly testing your services and running them through an exhaustive set of possible scenarios to ensure quality, consistency, and efficiency. 
    4. Service Operation: At the fourth stage, you’ve executed and established the services you designed in step two. Here’s where compliance with the demands of the organisations you’re serving is crucial and performance accountability is key for success. 
    5. Continual Service Improvement: KPIs set in place help you make conclusions and determine how your services are holding up and if they need to be improved or reiterated. Continual service improvement is closely linked to Service Strategy as it forms and repeats the service lifecycle. 
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    ITIL Service Value System (and its benefits)

    In essence, the ITIL service value system is the roadmap with all the components that enables you to run acutely effective service management organisations. It aims to provide you with the tools you need to create value-driven solutions when the opportunity presents itself. 

    The ITIL service value system more easily adapts and aligns to our current era of new technologies and an ever shifting service provider landscape. Its flexible practices are applicable on both the individual and the organisational level. Through its holistic approach and improvement in CSI, you’re better equipped to increase customer satisfaction and profitability.

    To illustrate, the five areas of the ITIL service value system are — 

    • Guiding Principles: These guidelines help lead an organisation through any and all circumstances. Even if there are changes in strategy, organisational goals, or even structure. 
    • Governance: What directs, controls, and gives context to the organisation.
    • The Service Value Chain: The chain of activities an organisation uses to create and execute valuable services to its customers. 
    • Practices: A set of guidelines and resources created for the performance of work. 
    • Continual improvement: A recurring activity meant to continually improve performance at all levels to ensure consumer and stakeholder expectations are being met. 

    The biggest difference between the two frameworks is that the ITIL service value system encourages greater flexibility and discourages the siloed nature of the service lifecycle approach.  

    Their differences can also come down to which best fits your organisation’s needs. If one is already working for you, it might not be necessary to adopt the newer process. While ITIL 4 is a newer iteration of the service value system, the service lifecycle is far from obsolete and can still be useful to how your organisation creates value. 

    Having understood the nuances and differences between the service lifecycle and ITIL service value system, it becomes clear that it can be easy to get lost in the complexity of either. In reality, the more ROI driven focus is differentiating yourself as a service provider. This, through a series of expertly crafted analytics systems that is both customer and organisation-facing, is what Highlight aims to solve. 

    The outcomes you actually need to achieve

    Going beyond frameworks, a salient way to retain your customer base is by not being invisible and using a holistic service approach. The less your customers and their stakeholders see the impact and value you’re continuously offering, the more dispensable you’re perceived. The phrase “out of sight out of mind” works well here.

    Your value-led services — as good as they might be — fall flat if they don’t come with high visibility. How customers communicate with you can be remedied by customer-facing data and analytics that are easy to digest. Offer data in the form of non-technical insights that can be accessible through a few clicks of a button. 

    The goal is to demystify how investments lead to tangible outcomes in terms they can understand. Taking this crucial step in communication that then brings about visibility can only ensure you solidify yourself as an integral part of your customers’ IT team, regardless of what framework you adhere to. This is an important step of not only differentiating yourself, but ultimately becoming indispensable. 

    How to deliver differentiated IT services

    There’s no denying the commoditisation of MSPs. Still, upholding differentiation is a way out of that commoditisation — and it starts with the process of surfacing relevant insights through analytics. Though it doesn’t stop there. 

    The customer and service provider relationship can be strengthened through visibility and the integration of features like automated alerts. This allows you as the service provider to showcase your expertise and the value you’re offering their network. From there, any upsells and cross-sells that are part of your overall goal to reinvent MSP sales strategies become easier to realise.  

    Highlight makes for an integral part of the automation and visibility element that differentiated services can provide. Our goal is to breathe visibility into the service provider’s analytics process and help strengthen each of their customer relationships through clear communication.

    But how exactly does this visibility drive value and differentiate you from your competitors? Here are three reasons as to why —

    1. Prove your problem solving: With our unparalleled visibility into your client’s networks, you can proactively identify and resolve problems. What’s more, the platform gives your clients the capacity to see this entire process, so they know exactly how you’re improving their life. 
    2. Demonstrate your value: Building on the above, our platform allows for more timely, detailed and informative insights to be shared between you and your customers. This goes beyond problem solving and actually works to make a case for altering their offering so you can catch problems before they arise. 
    3. Enable partnerships: This visibility works to create customer-provider relationships that centre around value. You can more easily embed yourself in your customer’s IT team when both of you have a total understanding of what is going on behind the scenes. 

    Drive customer value above all else

    While the service lifecycle is more of a siloed approach to value-added service design, the ITIL service value system ensures you’re adding value at every step of the process. It helps when it’s driven by a focus on delivering holistic and differentiated services above all else. With us you can expect — 

    • Boost your margin: Increased capacity to differentiate your services allows you to stand out from your competitors — in service, and price. 
    • Sell more services: Embedding yourself in customer’s IT teams through improved visibility you can support higher quality conversations and empower your sales team with the insights they need to upsell effectively. 
    • Retain more customers: Creating service value like this also creates interpersonal value. Your customers will trust your services more when they’re coupled with differentiation and visibility — helping you to build long standing relationships that last. 

    Highlight has been an integral part of many service providers’ differentiation strategy for years. By combining the power of network monitoring, customer communication, and analytics we’re a powerful tool that enables service providers to effectively differentiate themselves in an increasingly commoditised industry by strengthening their customer relationships. 

    We can easily help transform your approach to ITSM strategy once you speak to one of our experts. 

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