A Service Portfolio describes a provider’s services in terms of business value. It includes the complete set of services managed by a Service Provider, providing a means for comparing service value across multiple providers. The portfolio is used to articulate business needs and the Service Provider’s response to those needs. It is possible for a Service Provider to have multiple Service Portfolios depending on the customer groups that they support. The information contained within the portfolio is used to manage the entire lifecycle of all services, for one or more customers.
Services are grouped into three distinct categories in the Service Portfolio:
- Service Pipeline (services that have been proposed or are in development)
- Service Catalog (live services or those available for deployment)
- Retired Services (decommissioned services).
The information making up the Service Portfolio(s) will come from many sources, so possible implementations may make use of existing databases and other data repositories, document management systems, financial systems, project management documentation, the Service Catalog and other relevant input areas. Where necessary, the various sources of information may be collated and communicated by means of an internet/intranet-based interface, so that duplication does not occur and that appropriate levels of detail and accessibility can be controlled.
Figure 4.F – A Service Portfolio
By delivering the objectives above, the Service Portfolio either answers or helps to answer the following strategic questions:
- Why should a customer buy these services?
- Why should they buy these services from us?
- What are the pricing or chargeback models?
- What are our strengths and weaknesses, priorities and risks?
- How are resources and capabilities to be allocated?
Understanding their options helps senior executives to make informed investment decisions in service initiatives, taking into account appropriate levels of risks and rewards. These initiatives may cross business functions and may span short, medium and longer time frames.
Investment categories & Budget Allocations
Service Investments are split among 3 strategic categories:
|Figure 4.G – Balancing a Service Portfolio||Transform the Business (TTB):
TTB investments are focused on initiatives that enter new market spaces with new capabilities being developed.
Grow the business (GTB):
GTB investments are intended to grow the organization’s scope of services, or gain more customers within an existing market space.
Run the business (RTB):
RTB investments are centered on maintaining service operations.
An often over- looked investment, this is potentially one of the largest hidden costs in a service provider’s organization, particularly in a large organization with a long history. Few providers have a clear plan for retiring increasingly redundant services. This is often due to a number of reasons, including a lack of visibility of what services are actually offered, and the fear that retiring a service may impact other services being offered.
Refreshing the Portfolio
The methods used by the Service Portfolio Manager and other involved stakeholders seek to continually refresh the Service Portfolio, creating service investments that provide an optimum balance of risk and reward.
Changes occur to the conditions within every market space, invalidating previous Return on Investment (ROI) calculations. Some of these changes may be a result of:
- New competitors or alternative options entering a market
- The introduction of new compliance regulations
- Mergers and acquisitions
- New or changed public legislation
- Changes in the economic climate affecting various markets.
The role of the Chief Information Officer (or other similar roles) in this context is to monitor, measure, reassess and rebalance investments as the markets and associated businesses change. They will need to identify what balance is appropriate for their organization (e.g. low risk and low reward, high risk and potential high reward) and authorize service investments that match these needs.