Since its creation, ITIL has grown to become the most widely accepted approach to IT Service Management in the world. However, along with this success comes the responsibility to ensure that the guidance keeps pace with a changing global business environment. Service Management requirements are inevitably shaped by the development of technology, revised business models and increasing customer expectations. Our latest version of ITIL has been created in response to these developments.
This publication is one of the five central publications describing the IT Service Management practices that make up ITIL. They are the result of a two-year project to review and update the guidance. The number of Service Management professionals around the world who have helped to develop the content of these publications is impressive. Their experience and knowledge have contributed to the content to bring you a consistent set of high-quality guidance. This is supported by the ongoing development of a comprehensive qualifications scheme, along with accredited training and consultancy.
Whether you are part of a global company, a government department or a small business, ITIL gives you access to world-class Service Management expertise. Essentially, it puts IT services where they belong – at the heart of successful business operations.
Acting Chief Executive
Office of Government Commerce
Chief Architect’s foreword
This publication, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Service Transition, sits at the centre of the ITIL lifecycle structure. Transition is not an everyday word – words like ‘design’ and ‘operate’, describing the lifecycle stages on either side of transition, are more familiar. But these more familiar terms that bracket transition can also serve to help define and explain its goals and purpose.
The need to design a service, totally new or changed, is accepted – without a vision of the service’s purpose that purpose will always remain undelivered. And over the last 17 years (since the inception of ITIL) the need has been firmly established for ongoing management of the services. This has been recognized as the ‘core’ of IT Service Management – providing and supporting the ‘business as usual’ delivery of the organization’s requirements from IT.
And so, it is readily apparent that successfully moving from the concept of ‘how’ – developed by design – into ‘what’ – as supported by operations – is going to be the key element of delivering the business support we are charged with. And so there is always a need for a Service Transition.
The importance of actually delivering a design, adapting it as needed, assuring and ensuring its continued relevance, has been less obvious to many. Service Transition concentrates on delivering the service vision in a relevant and cost-effective fashion. As such, Service Transition is effectively defined by the service delivery concepts that supply its inputs and the Service Operations expectations that serve as recipients of its outputs – which are usable services.
The best way of achieving Service Transition will vary between organizations and has to reflect the risks, resources and other parameters pertaining to that organization in general and the service to be transitioned in particular.
A useful analogy is a relay race, where the team of runners must carry a baton round the track – passing it from hand-to-hand between team members. The initial expectation might be that victory in such a race relies on having the fastest athletes. However, important as speed and fitness of the runners are, it is equally important not to drop the baton. Conversely, total concentration on careful and risk-free passing of the baton will also not make a winning team. To win the race requires the right combination of speed and handover of the baton.
In a similar way, Service Transition must deliver relevant services with the appropriate balance of speed, cost and safety.
The priorities, concerns, constraints and conditions that dictate the decisions and focus of Service Transition will vary between service providers. For those in safety-critical industries, such as medical technological support and nuclear power station control, the focus will be on thoroughness and risk reduction – the main priority here is not to drop the baton: ‘take it carefully’ is the correct approach. This is typical where competition is low, such as in the public sector, or where governmental controls insist on caution, or the customer perception of their reliability requirement is high.
Alternatively, in highly competitive industries, such as online product sales or mobile telephone facilities, speed may be more important. In a relay race with 100 teams, concentration on safe handover will bring you in consistently in the first 20%, but you will probably never win. The customer’s business needs may dictate that it makes more sense to drop the baton 80% of the time but come first for the rest.
This may seem tangential, but it is important to set the scene here, and recognize that this publication of best practice, based on successful practices followed in many organizations, will not deliver absolute guidance in all areas. Rather, guidance rests on judging a service provider’s correct transitional parameters and then helping to build and implement the best approach for their circumstances.
By following this logic, the publication addresses itself to the full range of different circumstances and allows for flexible interpretation. It should be read, understood and followed in a flexible and pragmatic way, aware that Service Transition is, in effect, offering an internal service; taking design outputs and delivering them to an operational state, in order to best support business requirements. This requires sufficient understanding of design outputs and operational inputs, and of the true and final business requirement. This knowledge is required in assessment and assurance (or rejection) of requirements and design specification, constraints and parameters.
The success of Service Transition is in the ability of Service Operations to support the business processes via the installed service base. The mechanism for achieving the goal is secondary and adaptive – and this applies whether an organization is transitioning service designs into business support or components and materials into motorcycles (see the Service Strategy publication). The aim of this publication is to support Service Transition managers and practitioners in their application of Service Transition practices.
Chief Architect, ITIL Service Management Practices
‘They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself’ Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. US artist (1928–1987).
Effective Service Transition does not happen until an organization recognizes the need for it and the benefits it will bring them.
And effective Service Transition is needed because business environments are in a constant state of transition. The quest for competitive advantage, best of breed innovation and self-preservation are eternal catalysts for change that must then be delivered.
Service Transition is the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) professional’s guide to delivering those changes through transition lifecycle steps, which help them manage change in a broader context. Large-scale IT change is often driven through project or programme initiatives. These are mistakenly seen to be outside ‘Change Management’, and too often not considered a Service Management concern until it is time to implement. However, experience teaches that this approach rarely yields the best possible benefit to the business.
This publication supplies answers to managing Service Transition from designed specifications, change, configuration, test, release and deployment and every step in between.
Effective Service Transition ensures that meeting business need, cost and efficiency are achieved with minimal risk, maximum optimization and the highest degree of confidence possible.
Service Transition also requires effective management of knowledge, organizational culture and transition in difficult or unusual circumstances. Every ITSM professional knows the major part of any change – that can make or break its success – is related to the human factor, especially cultural aversion to change.
This publication explores industry practices for all sizes and types of organizations and will benefit anyone involved in Service Management. The practices contained in these pages culminate from decades of experience, evolving knowledge and emerging research in the field of IT Service Management.
Full details of the range of material published under the ITIL banner can be found at www.best-management-practice.com/itil
If you would like to inform us of any changes that may be required to this publication please log them at www.best-management-practice.com/changelog
For further information on qualifications and training accreditation, please visit www.itil-officialsite.com. Alternatively, please contact:
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