Basic Service Management

Rob England

Published by

Two Hills Ltd

ISBN

9780958296939

RRP

£12.78

Reviewed by

Peter Wheatcroft CEng FIET FBCS CITP FCMI

Score

9 out of 10

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This is a slim volume indeed - just 50 pages long - which does not purport to be the definitive guide to service management, but to offer an introduction to those of us who have to provide services.  It’s a companion volume to an earlier book called Owning ITIL by the same author and I like them both.

The author says that service management is not a discipline that is specific to IT and that his book is equally applicable to any type of service delivery. Whilst that is absolutely true, the general premise is quickly overturned with all the examples and references he provides being to ITSM processes, publications and practices and so, if you run a garage, don’t expect this book to help much - it’s aimed at the IT community and will benefit us the most.

The author goes on to explain that basic is not the same as simple and in this respect he knows his business, as good service delivery is never simple even through both the supplier and customer should regard it as being basic to their relationship.

And this is an area where the book triumphs over meatier publications since it explains the supplier-customer interface and what is necessary to establish and then maintain it far better than do the official ITIL publications and even many of the accompanying guides written to complement them.

ITILv3 describes 26 process definitions, of which less than half are ever evidenced even in high performing organisations because of their complexity. This is why even seasoned professionals can get back to basics by understanding why a process should exist in the first place and all the terms the author uses are explained and justified.

The people aspects of service delivery are positioned well - but remember the whole book is only 50 pages long, so don’t expect this to contain all IT best practice!

Two examples stand out for me in terms of areas where ITIL can often misguide a practitioner - those relating to service improvement and service catalogues. I won’t steal the author’s thunder by saying how he has defined these, but they are little nuggets that should be pinned on your ITIL wall planner.

Unusually, the book also encourages readers to go to the author’s linked website and you can upload your own cases studies there if you wish. My advice to readers is to look at this first and then any formal ITIL publications second as they will then make sense. If you have already read the official ITIL materials, then buy this anyway to see what they actually mean so you can get more value from them.

My only petty criticism is that there are several referencing errors, but that shouldn’t stop you buying it.

Further information: Two Hills Ltd

March 2012