In a recent post on Scott’s ITIL Blog, a question was asked, “How can you develop and advertise a Service Catalog if you can’t guarantee delivery or cost?” This question came from a company considering ITIL adoption. I agree with Scott that one of first steps in implementing a service management improvement project is to get your arms around what services you have in your organization that you need to improve, hence the service catalog.
One idea I frequently recommend to customers that are not currently utilizing some sort of budget charge back to business areas for IT services, is to act like you are. Create and maintain a service catalog with some measure of SLA/OLA and keep visibility limited to IT for the time being. (Yes, SLA formulation should include customers in business areas but at this point it is more of a test). Embark on your service improvement project and start to capture the costs to provide the level of service as identified in the agreements. A common sense approach is to identify what service levels you are providing currently with existing personnel, processes, and systems. This gives you a baseline with which to improve upon and it may take some time to capture the relevant information depending on your environment.
Once existing levels are “baselined”, you can compare reality to the desired SLA/OLA you generated when service catalog was created. The results may be surprising (either good or bad), but will give IT a view of where they stand.
Now that a baseline is established and IT has a grasp on what services levels they can provide, they can begin to work with their customers in the business areas to formulate the desired service levels the customers can expect. This would combine the cost of IT to support it and the benefit to the company to have it up and running.