Characteristics of services in IT

Characteristics of services in ITWhat are the most important characteristics of services?

During all phases of Service Design, several aspects of services have to be considered. Some of them direct the way of the design. Other characteristics should be changed to optimize the service or resolve the problem.

--> Principles and Structure of Service Design in IT

Types of service

There are several types of service:

  • Autonomous service  Autonomous
  • Continuous serviceContinuous
  • Regular service Regular
Characteristics of different types of services
Characteristic Autonomous Continuous Regular
Process Single project finite in time Continuous activities infinite in long-term perspective Repeatable sets of actions, every finite in time
Value Deliverables have a value themselves Value is in a continuity of service Both single set of actions and their sequence have a value
Dependency Weak dependency from other services Strong dependency on other services Medium or strong dependency from other services
Resources Only small part of resources potentially can be shared with other services Resources are shared with other services Resources are shared with other services

Examples of various kinds of services:

  • Autonomous
    – consulting project
    – particular problem resolution
    – data migration
    – new software product implementation
  • Continuous
    – change management
    – a process of user support
    – data storage
    – enterprise application
  • Regular
    – quarterly reports for management
    – monthly health checks
    – data backup
    – software product update

Sometimes a type of service has to be changed. For example:

Consideration of types of
services has to be Holistic.

  • Regular service of data backup can be changed to Continuous one, based on Continuous Data Protection technology (CDP, 2014). That will significantly improve protection from data corruption and decrease Recovery Time Objective characteristics.
  • Autonomous single hardware health check can be transformed to Regular residency service with systematic comparative health checks every quarter

Resource delivery

Services as any other kind of activities need resources. They can be people, equipment, facilities, money, or anything else required getting service job done. The lack of a resource render impossible or decrease the efficiency of service.

There are 3 types of ways to deliver resources:

  • Push service Push
  • Pull service Pull
  • Push-pull service  Push-Pull

Push service  Push delivery system schedules a service resource preparation and production based on forecasts end resource utilization. Service resources are pushed to the next level whether needed or not. Another name of this system is Just in Case.
Pull service Pull system is based on demands. Preparation and production of resources needed for the service based on consumption and begins when initiated by the request from the consumer. A customer always “picks up” resources, nothing is “sent” anywhere. So Pull is designed to avoid the waste of overproduction. Another name of this system is Just in Time.

These systems offer two completely different approaches to service delivery planning. Each has advantages over the other, but neither seems to be sufficient on its own.

Pros and cons of Push / Pull/
Push Pull
Can lead to economies of scale in purchasing of resource and service delivery Limited scale economies
Less stressful than Pull Every job is stressful enough
Easy planning by schedule Harder to plan and manage
Problems with precise forecasting No need for precise forecast
Can lead to large inventories Limited and known Inventory
Can generate large amount of waste before problems are discovered Minimum of waste in case of problem
Workers only consume their time & materials on what is planned Workers only consume their time & materials on what is actually needed
Better fit for larger, less-frequent orders of resources Better fit for smaller, frequent orders of resources

Sometimes the reason for the Push system is a long cycle of the order-delivery process either natural or marketing limitations on a minimal chunk of resources provided by a supplier. For example, a delivery cycle of high-end disk array takes 3-6 months; minimal amount of storage resources is limited by a set of several disks.

Push-pull service Push-Pull system combines both of the approaches. Forecasting demand determines resources for low-level components of service, but final “assembly” and delivery is made in response to a specific request. The main reason is to combine the lower cost of the high volume of resources distinctive for Push with flexibility and waste-less of Pull. Push-Pool allows decreasing a waste and improving time/quality metrics.

3 types of resource delivery
There are 3 types of resource delivery

Resource delivery
should be Holistic

These are examples of different systems application and transformation between them:

  • External expert engaged for particular problem resolution is the Pull resource. He is available only when he is needed. If an expert is involved for residence service and spends one day a week either customer has a job for him or not, he is a Push resource.
  • Tape library and tapes purchased for specific department data backup are Push resources. They are available for service all time either used or not. Backup service can be optimized using cloud storage. Thus Push transforms to Pull.
  • Disk array purchased to provide storage resources for the whole enterprise, but specific data volumes are configured only after a particular order from one of the departments. That is a typical Push-Pull resource delivery.
  • Dell Company incorporates the Push-Pull system, where raw materials and goods are pre-ordered and stored, but the actual computer is not assembled until the customer makes an order. (HXT, 2012)
  • Migration from siloed infrastructure to a public cloud is a Push to Poll movement. Migration to a private cloud is a Push to Push-Pool transformation.

Communication

Synchronous communication  Synchronous communication and information transfer occur when two parties communicate in real-time. These are telephone calls, a face-to-face discussion, and synchronous network protocols.
Asynchronous communication  In contrast, Asynchronous is non-real-time communication. It includes email, data exchange using USB flash or cloud storage services like Syncplicity.

Synchronous and Asynchronous communication
Communications can be Sync and Async

Communication is
User-centric and
Holistic.

Sometimes, to increase the quality of the service or decrease its cost, communication way should be changed. For example, to increase a customer satisfaction Synchronous online IT support service can be established in addition to an Asynchronous help desk.
In contrast, Synchronous interviewing during consulting service can be partially replaced by an Asynchronous filling of standard questionnaires. That will considerably decrease the cost of the project without influence on its quality.

Interaction touchpoints

There are three main types of interaction touchpoints:

  • Human-Human – people communicate with people
  • Human-Machine – people communicate with computer program
  • Machine-Machine – computer program communicates with another program
Interaction touchpoints
There are 3 types of interaction touchpoints

Interaction with a Machine makes service less expensive and more predictable. That can increase a quality of services. Interaction with Human makes service more flexible. Also, that makes service more alive and gives better service experience.

Interaction touchpoints are
User-centric, Sequencing
and Evidencing.

Machine-Machine interaction will be more developed near future with Internet of things. “The Internet of Things means a huge challenge for service design and architecture planning. The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ heralds a broad vision of the future Internet where connecting physical things – from bank notes to bicycles – through a network will let them take an active part in the Internet, exchanging information about themselves and their surroundings. This will give immediate access to information about the physical world and the objects in it – leading to innovative services and increases in efficiency and productivity”. (Kaivo-oja, 2012)

Outcome-driven services -->

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