Service Operation

by Rahulprasad Hurkadli

ITSM is a framework for managing and delivering IT services. Service Operation is one of the five stages in the ITSM service lifecycle and focuses on the daily management and delivery of IT services. Its goal is to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services, meeting service levels and customer expectations.


It includes incident management, problem management, event management, request fulfillment, and access management. Service Operation also involves maintaining the IT infrastructure, managing third-party suppliers, and collaborating with other stages in the ITIL service lifecycle.

The benefits of optimizing service operation

  • Increased efficiency: Optimization of service operations helps streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and eliminate bottlenecks, leading to a more efficient operation overall. This means faster service delivery, reduced waiting times, and improved customer satisfaction.
  • Cost savings: By optimizing service operations, organizations can identify areas of waste or inefficiency and make necessary improvements. This can result in significant cost savings by reducing unnecessary resources, minimizing downtime, and improving productivity.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Optimizing service operations allows organizations to better meet customer demands and expectations. By improving response times, providing a more seamless and personalized service experience, and resolving issues quickly and effectively, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Better resource allocation: Optimization helps organizations allocate resources more effectively. This includes optimizing staff schedules, ensuring the right people are assigned to the right tasks, and optimizing the use of equipment and technology. By allocating resources efficiently, organizations can improve overall productivity and output.
  • Improved decision-making: Optimization of service operations involves collecting and analyzing data to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach can help organizations make more informed decisions, identify areas of potential growth, and develop strategies to stay competitive.

Understanding ITSM best practices

  • Service Strategy: This phase focuses on defining the organization's strategic goals and objectives, and the services required to achieve those goals. It involves assessing the current IT services and identifying improvements and additions needed to meet business requirements.
  • Service Design: In this phase, the organization designs new IT services or modifies existing ones based on the requirements identified in the service strategy phase. It includes designing service workflows, service level agreements (SLAs), and documenting processes and procedures.
  • Service Transition: The service transition phase ensures the smooth transition of new or modified services into the live environment. It includes activities such as testing, training, and managing changes to minimize service disruptions.
  • Service Operation: This phase focuses on executing and managing IT services on a day-to-day basis. It involves incident management, problem management, and service request fulfillment. Service operation also includes monitoring and reporting on service performance and availability.
  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI): The CSI phase aims to improve IT services and processes over time. It involves analyzing service performance, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing changes to enhance service quality and efficiency.

Implementing ITSM service operation processes

  • Plan: Develop a detailed implementation plan that outlines the goals, objectives, timelines, and resources required for implementing ITSM service operation processes.
  • Identify process owners: Assign process owners for each service operation process, who will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of these processes and ensuring they are followed.
  • Define process workflows: Define the workflows for each service operation process, including the steps, activities, roles, and responsibilities involved in each process.
  • Establish metrics and measurements: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of each service operation process. This will help identify areas for improvement and track the progress of the implementation.
  • Develop supporting documentation: Create documentation such as process maps, standard operating procedures (SOPs), work instructions, and templates to guide staff in executing the service operation processes consistently.

Monitoring and managing service operation performance

  • Define KPIs: Identify the key metrics and indicators that are important to monitor and measure the performance of the service operation. Examples of KPIs could include response time, customer satisfaction, first-call resolution rate, etc.
  • Implement monitoring tools: Set up systems and tools to collect data on the identified KPIs. This could include using software applications, implementing customer feedback surveys, or utilizing monitoring systems to track performance in real-time.
  • Gather and analyze data: Regularly collect data relating to the KPIs and analyze them to identify trends, patterns, and areas that require improvement. This could involve using data analysis techniques, creating performance dashboards, or conducting regular performance reviews.
  • Identify areas for improvement: Based on the analysis of the data, identify areas that are underperforming or not meeting targets. This could include areas such as response time, efficiency, or quality of service. Identify the root causes of the issues and formulate improvement strategies.
  • Develop improvement strategies: Develop strategies and action plans to address the identified areas for improvement. This could involve implementing training programs, process reengineering, investing in technology upgrades, or optimizing resource allocation.

Continual service improvement in ITSM service operation

  • Service-Level Management: CSI ensures that the IT services provided align with the agreed-upon service level targets. It involves monitoring and analyzing service-level performance indicators, identifying areas for improvement, and taking necessary actions to enhance service quality.
  • Incident Management: CSI aims to improve incident management processes by analyzing incident data to identify recurring issues, implementing corrective measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, and enhancing incident resolution and response times.
  • Problem Management: CSI involves an ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of problem management processes. It includes analyzing trends, root cause data, and known errors to identify areas where problem management can be improved to reduce or eliminate recurring incidents.
  • Change Management: CSI focuses on ensuring that the change management process is effective in implementing changes without causing disruptions. It involves analyzing change data to identify any issues or patterns that may indicate the need for process improvements.

 Key considerations for optimizing service operation

  • Alignment with business goals: Ensure that the service operation is in line with the overall goals and objectives of the business. This includes setting clear performance metrics and ensuring that all activities and processes contribute to the overall success of the business.
  • Customer satisfaction: Focus on delivering high-quality customer service and meeting customer expectations. This includes monitoring customer satisfaction levels, collecting feedback, and making necessary improvements to enhance the customer experience.
  • Efficiency and productivity: Streamline processes and eliminate any unnecessary steps or activities to optimize efficiency and productivity. This can be achieved through automation, process improvements, and effective resource allocation.
  • Continuous improvement: Regularly assess service operation processes, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. This can include implementing best practices, leveraging technology, and learning from previous experiences and customer feedback.
  • Service level management: Establish and monitor Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ensure that the service operation is meeting the agreed-upon standards. This includes monitoring performance against SLAs, identifying and addressing any non-compliance issues, and making necessary adjustments to improve service delivery.


To excel in ITSM service operations, organizations need technical skills, communication, and continuous improvement. They should establish clear processes, documentation, training, and monitoring to align with business needs and meet customer expectations.