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Service Design and Building the IT Service Portfolio

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from IT as a Service (ITaaS) Framework, The: Transform to an End-to-End Services Organization and Operate IT like a Competitive Business, examine the purpose, goals, and value potential of a Service portfolio. You’ll also explore how to design specific elements of the Service portfolio and review various guidelines, best practices, and lessons learned for the successful design of IT Services across the enterprise.


Within the ITaaS framework, the purpose of the Service portfolio is to apply the Service delivery taxonomy and create a hierarchy for managing the IT Service landscape, with a goal of creating a strategic tool for the planning and execution of strategies at different levels of the IT organization.

IT Transformation teams begin by considering how to structure and also present the information within the portfolio. From there, they begin the design of IT Services and other levels of the taxonomy to facilitate the technical capability requirements of the enterprise. Once an initial proposal for the Service portfolio nears completion, it should be subject to several rounds of reviews and vetting with all applicable stakeholder groups. After this feedback has been incorporated transformation teams finalize the portfolio by conducting an end-to-end quality assurance review and consistency check, as well as getting sign-off from senior IT leaders.

Basic Service design begins with a logical grouping of related technical capability requirements. From there, teams iterate through a series of considerations, such as the complexity of management and resulting customer base in order to refine the initial proposal. Service types also inform Service design. Business Operations Services leverage the ETC map as a key input, while Enterprise End-Customer and Technology Foundation Services more heavily leverage the reference portfolio.

Initial Service design should also include proposals for Service Offerings, which can help shape the scope of a proposed Service and support informative review with stakeholders. Transformation teams need to review the best approach to documenting Service asset references, and should also capture initial references for each proposed Service. Once they are assigned, Service Owners are responsible for finalizing Service Offerings and Service assets.

Design of Strategic Service Groups should focus on creating strategic visibility of the IT Service landscape for IT leaders. Cisco’s reference portfolio includes a set of SSGs that have been successfully leveraged by IT leaders across different industries that can be tailored by transformation teams. Service categories provide a first level of aggregation and should enable capabilities and create value for other segments of the IT organization. Cisco recommends categorizing Enterprise End-Customer and Technology Foundation Services by technology domain, and Business Operations Services by function or stakeholder group. IT Transformation teams should also consider leveraging the Service categories as architecture groups, creating a distinct point of information exchange with an EA practice.

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