A Roadmap for Digitising Business Services – Part 3

An article by Dr. Helmut Steigele, Director of Central Europe at Fox IT. ‘A Roadmap for Digitizing Business Services – Part 3’ intended to highlight the key activities needed to design viable and sustainable digital services in your business.

Download Article Digitizing Business Service part 3



If you want to create impressive works of art – you shold do it like William Turner. He used impressive colours, canvases and finely tuned inspiration!

If you need to design viable, sustainable and valued digital services you’ll need the same ingredients – with reactive environment and collective inspiration!

To close the gap between capturing the customer’s requirements at the beginning of a service design cycle to the development of a service definition as part of your service catalogue, there’s one key consideration.

Digitizing Business Service img1

How do we simulate, design and develop, and articulate our digital services, which ultimately guarantee a seamless end-to-end information and process flow (from customer demand to delivery and support)?

Overall value should be through stakeholder acceptance, financial success and operational benefits. The challenge for many of our customers is that the official literature on IT Service Management (ITSM) s itself both rigid and fragmented. Related to our analogy, we have the ingredients within the ITIL framework and building services to meet the customer demands and is continuously challenged by business and operational inhibitors (change management, supplier management, finance management etc.)

Navigating the design process by using a Service Design ‘Canvas’

It was during a recent service architecture workshop that a customer asked me:
“Is there a dedicated service design process within ITIL Literature,that we can use to assure seamless information and process flow for our users?”

My answer was this:
“Academically, the ITIL framework itself offers a collection of process recommendations, which include the aspects of sustainable service offerings and service design.

These recommendations are subsequently translated in a service design project (covered by the design coordination process). This design process itself does not exist in a formalised representation within the ITIL literature! It is a skill that is learnt through experienced practitioners in their roles in developing and improving ITSM environments.”

We have the ingredients, but no prescriptive process within the framework for the service design. However at this point, we should point out that this is an ongoing theme of the ITIL framework. It is a framework on which our improvement activities are based in the design and development process – it is not a set of tools and templates that can be directly implemented or followed.
To ensure that we continue to have happy customers (or focus on making them happier) and to deliver services that meet the anticipated (and promised) benefits we need to utilise a Service Design Canvas.

This idea isn’t new. Other industries that practice regular design processes and business modelling have been using this approach for years and has created a new wave of innovation in design thinking.

The activities in the Service Design Canvas approach.

  • Build the Value Proposition
    • Analyse your customer’s activity and isolate potential customer problems aligned to their requirements – Describe this demand
      and the potential solution you would offer
    • Test the initial model of the solutions. How does the customer view the solution and it’s fit?
    • Isolate specific touch-points between you and your customer along the whole service lifecycle (for example: search – find – request – book – invoice – inform – update renew or finish)
    • Prioritise potential service features (using Kano Model or Benefit Profiling)
    • Define specific service features and service levels
  • Assure Value Generation
    • Think about your target capabilities for the service (managing, processing, skill-setting and saving knowhow and support
      services for the related target service).
    • Plan and specify your service resources (headcount, infrastructure, software, capital)
    • Assure a sustainable relation to service critical suppliers (partners)
  • Build the Case and monetise your Service
    • Isolate your cost drivers and cost streams
    • Identify risks and impact of the solution design?
    • Setup revenue streams


Digitizing Business Service img2


Reviewing this activity chain, which incorporates the elements of the ITIL framework (particularly service strategy), we’ll notice that there is now a tangible workflow for the Service Design process itself – enhanced by logical answers to the “why” and the “how” of the solution to the customer requirements.

This approach is a great starting point in the approach of ‘design thinking’ and provides a practical way to define digital entry points to the design of existing and new service models.

From this stage, further activities are required in describing the offering and the operational or executional model of the new or changed service. From here, we need to define how we move this service from it’s design state into an articulated service definition which can be used by the solution architects?

Using the Canvas for defining the service in your service catalogue
Before starting with service definitions, we need to think about the structure of the service catalogue:

The official definition of the service catalogue is: “A database or structured document with information about all live IT services, including those available for deployment. The service catalogue is part of the service portfolio and contains information about two types of IT service: customer- facing services that are visible to the business; and supporting services required by the service provider to deliver customer facing services.” (Ref: AXELOS, ITIL® Glossary)

The crucial term in this definition is ‘structure’. The structure determines the usability of he service design, it’s fit in the service catalogue and how we can accelerate the development and support the end-to-end service lifecycle:

By using the canvas below, we can create the service definition aligned to the structure of the service catalogue.

Digitizing Business Service img3


We’ve followed this model with a real life example of the booking service for an airline (a facility via a mobile application or company website):

  • What customer issues to be solved?
    • Referred to a specific activity flow of customer (i.e. booking a flight)
    • Showing the utility and warranty aspects of the whole service offered
    • Potential customer benefits
  • Where can the end customer access the service?
    • Through the company’s website / portal
    • Self service terminal at the airport
    • Using a Smart Phone or tablet
  • Ordering, Billing and Support (including application and portal updates)
    • User registration process before granting access to the service
    • Dispatch, Confirmation of Booking, Itinerary
    • Support contact and Facilities procedures
    • Billing Procedures for booked tickets
  • Service Features
    • Airline and flight search function
    • Booking of flights
    • Modifying Flight Credentials / selection
    • Reserving Seats, Extra Meals, Extra Services
    • mart Boarding Support
    • Rent a car etc.
    • Requesting Support
  • Supporting Services
    • Service Governance (for policy and governance settings)
    • Service Management (planning and service changes)
    • Service desk (Supporting Users)
    • Big Data Operations for on-going management and design
    • Application, Self Service terminals and portal maintenance
    • Infrastructure Operations etc.
  • Supporting Resources
    • Budget
    • Support and Operations Resources
    • Development and Maintenance Resources
    • Application management and maintenance
    • Infrastructure support , Buildings, Energy
  • Supporting Suppliers and Contracts
    • Contracts between internal customers of the provider (OLA)
    • All underpinning contracts to be aligned together
  • Financial Transactions
    • Accounting and billing procedures for the service itself
    • Charging and accounting procedures for supporting services and suppliers

This approach all the elements in the design, transition and operation phases of the service with an industrialised approach. i.e IT operating at the business level.

Every activity above is defined as a dataset (a component list of specified output objects)

What customer issue is solved? Preparing the “Pitch”
• Referred to a specific activity flow of customer (for ex. Booking a flight) On what issue
• Showing there utility and warranty aspects of the whole service offered What gain and what pain relieve for the user
• Stating a desired customer outcome (like a jingle or pitch) What is delivered
Where the user accesses the service? Establishing “Touch-points” and Touch-point related resources
• Booking portal User Interface Design
• Self service station at airport Self service station – capacity and location plan
• Android, Apple and Microsoft-based Tablets and Smart Phones User Relationship Management
Ordering, Billing, Support and Application Updates Planning the “Pre- and Post-Service-Procedures and Resources”
• Registration Flow before granting service access Access-Management-Flow
• Information Flow to User Event-Management-Flow to Customer
• Update Procedures Standard-Change and Standard-Release-Flow
• Support Hotlines and Facilities Support-Procedures
• Billing Procedures for booked tickets Billing- and Reporting Procedures
Service Features Planning Resources and Procedures for the Service itself
• Searching Flights Digitised Request
• Booking Flights Digitised Request
• Modifying Flight Credentials Digitised Request
• Reserving Seats, Extra Meals, Extra Services Digitised Request
• Smart Boarding Support Digitised Request
• Rent a car etc. Digitised Request
• Requesting Support Digitised Request
Supporting Services Planning Resources and Procedures for the Service itself
• Service Governance (for Policy and Governance-Setting) Supporting Service
• Service Management (Planning and Adapting Service) Supporting Service
• Servicedesk (Supporting Users) Supporting Service
• Big Data Operations Supporting Service
• App-Maintainance on App, Self Service Stations and Web-Interface Supporting Service
• Platform Operations etc. Supporting Service
Supporting Resources Planning Resources and Procedures for the Service Management
• Budget Planning operations budget, setting up accounting structures
• Support and Operations Resources Planning support related availability, capacity and headcount
• Development and Maintenance Resources Planning technology related availability, capacity and headcount
• Applications Planning configurations and architecture building blocks
• Infrastructure, Facilities Planning configurations and architecture building blocks
• Skills Planning Skills for Service Execution
Supporting Suppliers and Contracts Planning Resources and Procedures for the Supplier relations
• All underpinning contracts to be aligned together Aligning supplier categories and contracts
Compensation Assuring Financials for the service itself
• Charging and Accounting Procedures for supporting services and suppliers Procedures and Reporting- Flows
• Accounting and Billing Sequence and Billing Procedures for the service itself Procedures and Reporting- Flows


Final recommendations

Through the Service Design process, rather like William Turner, we have used the ingredients at hand (ITIL framework) towards meeting best practice. We have tackled the steps along the ‘what’, described through this canvas approach the “how” and by virtue of the structure aspects of the ‘why’.

However there is one major advantage to this method. By using the canvas we clearly make a departure from the legacy IT-Service management model and towards the field of ‘Service management’ more applicable in an era of digitisation (see our paper titled Enabling IT Service Transformation in a Digital Age). A world where all services converge and IT is no longer disparate function but an integrated, (end) customer focused part of the business and associated business processes.


  • Use a canvas approach, when you discuss and plan with the “business”
  • Think about all best practices we already have described within the ITIL-books
  • Setup your service, as far it is possible with solution building blocks

Last word:
How to control services with the solution building block approach will be described in the next article. Read now

Want to speak to a Fox IT consultant today? Contact us now →