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ITIL – The 4 P’s of Service Design

The implementation of Service Management as a practice is about preparing and planning the effective and efficient use of the four Ps: People, Processes, Products (technology, tools, and services), Partners (manufacturers, suppliers).

There are five aspects of Service Design:

Service solutions

The design of the services themselves, to deliver the utility and warranty required by the business. A formal and structured approach is necessary to ensure that the three components of good design – functionality, cost, timeframe – are addressed. Design activities start when a set of new or changed business requirements are chartered; design activities end when a Service Design Package is produced.

Service Management systems and tools, particularly the Service Portfolio

We have already discussed the Service Portfolio.

Technology and management architectures

Architecture provides an overall strategic blueprint that permits an organization to design and implement services in a rapid and consistent manner. It describes the components and their relationships to each other and to their environment, and includes standards and guidelines that guide the design and evolution of the service.

There are many architectures relating to different components of a system and existing at different levels within the wider enterprise architecture of an organization. Examples include: service architecture, application architecture, information / data architecture, IT infrastructure architecture, and environmental architecture. Infrastructure architecture may require us to standardise on servers from a specific manufacturer.

The purpose of architecture is to provide a set of standard building blocks that can be used to provide a service.


Each organization should adopt a formalized approach to the design and implementation of Service Management processes. The objective should not be to design ‘perfect processes’, but to design practical and appropriate processes with ‘inbuilt’ improvement mechanisms, so that the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes are improved in the most suitable manner for the organization.

Documentation standards, processes and templates should be used to ensure that the processes are easily adopted throughout the organization.

Measurement systems

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”

The subject of measurement will be covered in more detail in the Continual Service Improvement module. For the moment it is enough to say that the design of new services and processes must include the requirement to measure them, and ensure that the measurements are:

o Aligned with business objectives

o Comprehensive across all areas

o Consistent in terms of method, presentation and calculation across all areas

The Service Management Foundation Course is a three day event leading to the examination for the ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management.

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© Crown copyright material is reproduced here under license from and with permission of OGC, under delegated authority from the Controller of HMSO.

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