Why a tailor made service design and delivery is more important than ever

Post 1: This is the first post in our six part series on Service Design. Post 2 will be published on Monday.

Since the late 1980s, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) has provided practitioners with a framework for efficient and effective service provision. ITIL provides best practice processes, procedures, checklists and tasks that can be applied in any business that is upgrading its technology. Crucially, it helps IT departments deliver technology in a way that is aligned to business goals.

However, we now live in a cloud centric world where services like Office 365 deliver evergreen updates and remove the maintenance of physical infrastructure from your domain. The role of service managers has changed significantly as a consequence.

Where you once had control over when and how an update would be added to your systems, these now arrive automatically. Where patches used to be a procedure you would carry out yourself, they are now rolled out wholesale from Microsoft HQ. The list goes on.

While Office 365 being evergreen makes it incredibly appealing, it will require a whole different approach to the way you manage the environment to the kind of support that applied in the past. This mean that the arsenal of services you choose to support your deployment will be very different too. Ensuring you have the right services that really match your needs is key, and will give you peace of mind that your environment is safe and secure.

In this series of six posts, we explore this new frontier of service delivery, looking at how only a tailor made service mix can really give you the certainty and confidence you need that your environment will always remain under control. We look at the six step service delivery framework that out experienced consultants have developed that helps service managers tailor-make the right service for them.

Beyond standard practice

Broadly speaking, ITIL provides best practice in a range of IT service provision areas. These include:

  • Service strategy
  • Service design
  • Service transition
  • Service operation
  • Continual service improvement

By following ITIL recommendations, companies guarantee a secure, safe and dependable solution.

ITIL’s service design framework was created to offer a ‘generic’ pattern which could be applied in any business and in any scenario when upgrading to a new technology. It could, for example, be used in a small company moving from Google apps to Office online, a large corporation shifting from Lotus Notes to Exchange or any business choosing to become more mobile centric. Whatever the scenario, ITIL’s service design framework provides the building blocks to move from one IT solution to another.

As a methodology, ITIL has evolved in tandem with changes in technology and working methods. However, it has not yet been updated to account for the specific challenges and considerations of a business moving to a cloud-based Software as a Services (SaaS) environment. A more targeted framework is needed to avoid doubt and uncertainty about a service’s successful deployment.

The right service design approach to Office 365

With Office 365, Microsoft has redefined the way companies use and deploy productivity tools. By offering a cloud-centric and ‘evergreen’ update model, the whole approach to service design is very different to what many IT teams are used to.

The following table shows the main differences between designing services to support a move to Office 365, compared with more traditional non cloud IT systems.


Why Office 365 requires a new approach to service design

Traditional (e.g. SharePoint 2007 -> SharePoint 2010)SaaS
• New platforms and upgrades only arrive every few years
• Patches and improvements are implemented autonomously by the IT team
• Must manage server version upgrades
• IT teams are in charge of feature implementation and maintenance
• Updates arrive regularly
• Patches and improvements are implemented centrally by Microsoft
• Microsoft manages all areas of hardware management
• IT teams must become more proactive and learn to manage updates

Working with Office 365 means that some aspects of service design are redundant; Microsoft takes care of them, leaving you with reduced costs and time saved. However, don’t assume your workload has halved just yet! Although Microsoft has taken responsibility for some parts of the Office 365 platform’s management, the evergreen nature of Office 365 means you will have to take a new approach to delivering the platform to your users.

Perhaps the greatest difference here is that the new approach requires you and your team to become far more proactive in running your IT operations. While in the past you would be reactive, implementing new updates when you became aware of them, you’re now expected to know about upcoming changes that will be ‘offloaded’ into your environment and think about how these will impact your end users. This can lead to a great deal of uncertainty about how exactly you should choose the right mix of services for your specific scenario.

Which service is right for you?

At Content and Code, we understand that every organisation is different and its particular mix of services will reflect this. We help our clients define the exact service they need. So, for example when it comes to support, you might choose:

  • One of our pre-defined support packages
  • Enhanced services focused on User Engagement and Collaboration
  • Monitoring, Maintenance and Event Management
  • O365 Information and Strategy Management

Proactive replaces reactive

At Content and Code, we have been implementing ITIL best practice with our clients since SharePoint’s inception and have been working with Office 365 since its release in 2011. As a result, we have a deep knowledge and experience of delivering tailor made services for Microsoft’s productivity tools, as well as the specifics of service provision, support and maintenance for Office 365’s cloud-based, evergreen approach.

In tomorrow’s blog post, you’ll learn more about how we create a tailor-made service design framework that will give you peace of mind.

By partnering with Content and Code for service design, you get peace of mind thanks to a fully supported, dependable and secure implementation, with our Office 365 enhanced ITIL framework.

Tim Wallis

Tim Wallis

CEO and Founder

Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.

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