ITIL Service Operation – Overview, Principles & Objectives

Service Operation is the fourth phase in ITIL lifecycle that focuses on daily activities and processes that makes the business run as usual. In short, it is accountable for business-as-usual (BAU) activities that are responsible for delivering value to the customers. 


Why Service Operation is important in an organization?

It is really important to understand the need for developing a service operation:

  • Service Operation is the only phase where the strategy, design and transition of IT services are executed and measured. The actual outcome or result of the IT service is seen in this phase.
  • It conducts, controls and manages the day-to-day activities efficiently and effectively so that the delivered services meet the required benefits. 

Service Operation – Overview:

Service Operation is one of the stages in the lifecycle where the value for the customers or users is realized. 

What does a customer want at the end of the day? A service that is reliable, cost effective and delivered on time. They really don’t care of the technology that delivers the service. Hence an organization’s capability, processes and infrastructure should be well in place to provide continuous service to the business without any disruption. Service Operation team is capable enough to prevent any problem and if it is occurring, it takes significant measures to resolve it. 

Key Principles of Service Operation:

In this ever changing business environment, an organization needs to consistently deliver agreed levels of services:

The main principle of service operation is to achieve balance between:

  • Internal IT view and External business view – The business focuses on the end result of the service, but the internal IT service focuses on the processes, function and infrastructure that will deliver the service. 
  • Stability and Responsiveness – In the event of need of change, ensure stability and handle the change appropriately giving due consideration to the risks.
  • Service quality and Service cost – Reduction in cost results in low quality. It needs to create a balance between the cost saving and maintain the quality standard.
  • Reactive and Proactive – Reactive organizations focuses on corrective actions and not on preventative activities.

Service operational staff involvement in other stages of lifecycle

Assessing the operational health of the IT infrastructure.

Creating user manuals which document the steps that need to be followed during situations that occur frequently. 

Objectives of Service Operation:

The primary objective is to carry out the day-to-day activities to deliver the IT services. It involves the majority of the IT staff. Few other objectives are:

  • Deliver the services as per the service level agreement (SLA) for customer satisfaction.
  • Minimize incidents and disruptions that can lead to discontinuity of the service. 
  • Adopt robust end to end operational practices for the execution of processes and services.
  • Achieve service excellence by adhering to the standard quality process.

The output of all the previous stages – service strategy, service design and service transition, becomes visible in service operation stage.  Service operation provides value to the customers by carrying out the processes and running the services as planned by its previous stages. 


Author : Deepti Masand

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Deepti Masand