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What is a service?

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ITIL®4 Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management
What is a service?

The course is part of this learning path

What is a service?



So, a service, from the consumer perspective is the delivery of an outcome without me having the associated costs and risks. So, when we finish filming today, I'm intending to travel to Manchester. Now, I could go and get my car, and I could drive to Manchester, but then I'd have to think about concentrating whilst I'm driving. I'd have to think about the route. I'd have to think about fuel, the maintenance of my car, and looking after of my car, and the parking of my car. But it would deliver me to Manchester, hopefully safely. So, it would deliver my outcome, however, I would have to put a lot of effort into achieving that outcome. The alternate option is that actually, I could go to a railway station and buy a ticket and get a train to Manchester. 'Cause if I got a train to Manchester, I wouldn't have to worry about all of those things, I could simply relax. I could simply go to sleep. I don't need to concentrate. The only outcome I want is safe delivery to Manchester, quickly, safely, and efficiently.


- That's Paul's perspective as the service consumer. If I'm being the train service provider in Paul's analogy, well then, I do have to think about the specific cost and risks and all the elements that go together to make up that successful train service between here and Manchester. For example, I've gotta think about have I got the right trains in the right place, and they're maintained to the correct levels? I've gotta think about have I got the correct train drivers with the correct competencies and route knowledge to successfully take the train from here in London up to Manchester? Is the ticketing system up and running, that Paul's gonna buy his ticket through? And all the various elements that might go into the hood of that ticketing system. Are they successfully enabled so Paul can successfully transact and buy his ticket? And think about all those elements, I'm also, you also think about am I gonna get value as the service provider, because I've got to think about am I recovering the cost successfully, and therefore am I making profits? And not just Paul therefore getting his transportation service, but across all the passengers of my train organization. This therefore is the service providers' view around what value means to them as part of the overall service being delivered.

About the Author
Martin Waters
Head of Service Management Product Development
Learning Paths

Martin is a professionally qualified and experienced IT Professional with over 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He has held a number of senior roles and has experience of large-scale IT Service Management implementation programs both in public and private sectors. He has over 15 years of experience working for QA as both a Senior principal lecturer/consultant and as Head of Service Management Product Development. Martin has delivered training to a wide variety of audiences, both UK and internationally, to consistently high levels of customer satisfaction.

His main role at QA is acting as a Head of Service Management Product Development to enable QA to deliver high quality, interactive training in the following areas:

  • Delivering a wide range of public ITIL, SIAM, and BRM courses
  • Delivering onsite ITIL and SIAM courses
  • Developing high-quality QA authored Service Management courses and courseware across all delivery mechanisms including classroom, e-learning, and virtual
  • Working with Industry partners to develop new curricula and courses – Recent examples include ITIL Practitioner and the BCS EXIN SIAM Foundation qualifications