Service Transition: 6 Keys to Success

Of the five main ITIL Service Lifecycle phases, the Service Transition phase is the most exciting.

It is the first point at which the ideas generated in the Service Strategy and Service Design phases (the two preceding phases) are put into practice—it’s where the outline for a service begins to take technical form.

Here are six key things to keep in mind when pursuing a successful Service Transition:

1. Maintain a sensible approval process to move a project from “Service Design” to “Service Transition”.

You don’t want to begin rolling out a new service only to find that you have to roll it right back to the drawing board.

Make sure that your Service Strategy and Service Design phases include plans for the rollout to acquire all necessary approvals from stakeholders and budgetary gatekeepers.

Check out the service portfolio management process in Service Design. It includes a plan for acquiring these necessary approvals.

2. Review and reference the SAC throughout Service Transition.

SAC stands for service acceptance criteria.

The SAC is particularly relevant to the Service Transition phase because this is the first chance you have to see whether the service you’ve designed is going to perform to the levels required by the SAC.

The SAC should be used as a performance baseline as well as a check against any modifications that would compromise specified performance thresholds.

It may be okay for the service, once implemented, to do more than what’s specified in the SAC, but it’s not okay for the service to do less.

3. Lean on your change management and release and deployment management processes to ensure continuity.

In most cases, a service transition involves the production of a modified or new service using resources currently in use for other services.

Ensuring that the new IT service rollout doesn’t interfere with any existing IT services is a persistent challenge.

For support and guidance, refer to ITIL’s “change management” and “release and deployment management” processes under the Service Transition LifeCycle Phase.

4. Attach a plan and a purpose to all tests.

How are you going to know anything about how well your service is performing if you don’t set up tests to measure its performance?

Tests can be ongoing or they can be one-and-done. All tests, however, should be accompanied by a clearly stated purpose that explains what the test seeks to measure and why.

Be sure to use an insulated testing environment. Unless you want service interruptions or bad data circulating, don’t test in a live environment.

5. Set up custom applications.

Customized application development, though not a formal ITIL process, is often grouped in with Service Transition LifeCycle phases.

Custom applications, of course, don’t always have to originate from scratch.

Many of the applications that you have up and running for other services should be reusable or modifiable to suit different purposes.

Service Transition is the time to ensure that members of your organization have the requisite access to use applications that will support the service.

6. Use change evaluation to thoroughly assess the business value of the new service.

Change evaluation is another process that’s formally attached to ITIL’s Service Transition LifeCycle Phase. It can be accessed multiple times throughout the life of a new service, and is not isolated to just the initial steps.

The purpose of change evaluation is to assess how well the new service corresponds to the business objectives for which it was created.

Whereas testing is used to ensure that the service is meeting its technical requirements, change evaluation is used to ensure that the service is meeting its business objectives.

Service Transition is the culmination of a number of aspects from the phases that come before it, and also has a marked effect on the phases that come after it.
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The Service Transition phase of the ITIL Service LifeCycle is part of a continuum that also includes Service Operation and Service Design.

Hence, an excellent Service Transition will be felt throughout these other ITIL phases. This can be in the form of smooth, reliable operations or improved, experience-based insight that feeds superior future design efforts.

The opposite can be said for a Service Transition that is not successfully executed.

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