Implementing Service Strategy Tutorial

Welcome to the eighth chapter of the ITIL® Intermediate SS tutorial (part of the ITIL® Intermediate SS Certification Training).

This unit will focus on Implementing Service Strategy. It deals with the details about Implementation considerations of Service Strategy. Let us go ahead and learn more about Implementing Service Strategy.


This learning unit will help us learn about:

  • Implementation through the lifecycle

  • Implementation Activities

  • Designing Service Strategy

  • Transitioning Service Strategy

  • Activities-Operating & Continual Improvement

  • Key Importance of other Lifecycle Phases

Let us get started with the concept of Implementation through the Lifecycle in the next section.

Implementing Service Strategy - Implementation through the lifecycle

Strategic positions and perspectives are converted into strategic plans and patterns with goals and objectives for execution through the Service Lifecycle.

The positions are driven by the need to serve specific customers and market spaces and influenced by strategic perspectives as a service provider as shown in Figure.

Strategic positions and perspectives are converted into strategic plans and patterns with goals and objectives for execution through the Service Lifecycle.

Top-down approach:

For any given market space, service strategy defines the portfolio of services to be offered and the customers to be serviced. This, in turn, determines the customer agreement portfolio that needs to be supported by design, transition and operation capabilities.

Lifecycle capabilities are defined in terms of the systems, processes, knowledge, skills, and experience required at each stage to effectively support the customer agreement portfolios. Interactions between service management capabilities are clearly defined and managed for an integrated and systematic approach to service management.

Service design and operational capabilities determine the type of transition capabilities required. They determine the portfolio of service designs and the operating range of the service provider in terms of models and capacities.

In the next section, we will cover the Service Strategy Implementation activities following a Lifecycle approach.

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Service Strategy Implementation activities following a lifecycle approach

Implementing service strategy is not just a case of designing and deploying a set of static processes and then making sure that the same actions are performed consistently year after year. As services move through the service Lifecycle, so too must the implementation and improvement of the service strategy processes.

The strategy for the implementation should, at a minimum, include the following areas:

Current state assessment: Definition of the current environment

Target state definition: Description of the end-state, in terms of strategic perspective and position.

Gap analysis: Description of the differences (gaps) between the current state and the desired target state.

Project identification: Logical groupings of activities, with specific objectives, that need to be undertaken to close identified gaps.

Project estimation: Analysis of the project’s scope, scale, interdependencies, risks, costs and resource requirements.

Project consolidation: Logical grouping of identified projects into ‘streams’ or initiatives that address key aspects of the implementation, such as ‘governance’, ‘people’, ‘process’, ‘technologies’ and ‘management of change’ (the organizational change management)

Roadmap: Development of the time-bound action plan that will provide the instruction on a sequence of the initiatives and projects required to close the gaps.

Designing service strategy

In this stage of the Lifecycle, the actual processes, tools and organizational structure (if required) will be designed. The design will include the collection of detailed requirements for the areas to be implemented as well as the actual design of the tools and procedures to be used.

The following areas will potentially be included in this design:

Process design for strategy management, service portfolio management, financial management for IT services, demand management and I or business relationship management

Definition of roles for these processes

For strategic management, an agreed assessment method, forecasting and planning tools, document control tools, identified sources for industry information etc.

The service portfolio, customer portfolio, and customer agreement portfolio. A standard for defining service models and assessing the business impact of new services or changes to existing services

Demand management procedures, techniques, and tools: The interfaces between all service strategy process and other processes.

However, due to the intricate interrelationship between business relationship management and other processes, this will deserve even more careful design.

Special note on implementing service portfolio management

Some organizations implement service portfolio management because they need to define better services. However, it is important that implementing service portfolio management and defining services are clearly differentiated.

Attempting to define the services in the absence of service portfolio management could result in a lack of consistency of service definition, poorly defined service models (with the associated inaccurate forecasting of service requirements) and a lack of formal gatekeeping.

This will result in services moving into the lifecycle without the appropriate business cases, authorization and impact assessments.

Let us learn about Designing Service Strategy as well as the areas that will potentially be included in this design, in the next section.

Designing Service Strategy

The following areas will potentially be included in this design:

  • Process design for strategy management, service portfolio management, financial management for IT services, demand management and/or business relationship management

  • Definition of roles for these processes

  • The service portfolio, customer portfolio, and customer agreement portfolio

  • Financial Management tools, policies, charts of accounts, cost model definitions, charging strategies and methods

  • Demand Management procedures, techniques, and tools

A special note on implementing service portfolio management to be considered is that it is important that implementing service portfolio management and defining services are clearly differentiated.

Attempting to define the services in the absence of service portfolio management could result in lack of consistency of service definition, poorly defined service models and a lack of formal gatekeeping.

In the next section, we will understand Transitioning service strategy. We will also know the high-level activities required during the transition stage.

Transitioning Service Strategy

During the transition stage, the designed service strategy processes and tools will be built or purchased (and customized if necessary), tested and deployed.

This stage will include the following high-level activities:

  • Training of the project teams to ensure a consistent and appropriate level of knowledge about the processes being implemented

  • Development or purchase of any tools needed to support the processes, and their configuration

  • Training tool administrators how to manage the tools

  • Training process managers how to manage the process

  • Testing the tools to ensure that they are able to provide the required utility and warranty

  • Testing the processes to ensure that they can be executed as planned

  • A pilot deployment of the tools and/or processes that have been built

  • Training of users of the tools and staff who are expected to execute or comply with the processes

  • Deployment of the tools and/or processes

  • Post-implementation review to ensure that the tools and processes have been deployed correctly, and to provide feedback to the initiative’s strategists and designers regarding the success of the project.

The next section consists of a figure that describes the concept of operating and continual improvement of Service Strategy – Activities.

Operating and Continual Improvement of Service Strategy - Activities

During this stage, the service strategy processes described in Chapter 4 will be executed.

Please note that this does not mean that service strategy becomes the responsibility of IT operations.

It remains the responsibility of the executives of the service provider organization, and they retain accountability even if they delegate the responsibility for certain aspects of execution.

The following generic activities will be included at this stage:

  • Execution of process activities as defined in the process documentation, and according to the defined policies for that process

  • Maintenance of the tools used to support these processes

  • Monitoring the performance of the processes and the quality of the output of those processes

  • Identifying and resolving process exceptions

  • Monitoring the overall success of the strategy, services, and customer relationships.

Next, Continual improvement of service strategy.

Role of Continual improvement of service strategy

The role of continual service improvement will include:

  • Assessment of the metrics of each process and evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of each process

  • Revision of the requirements for metrics and information as the processes mature

  • Identification of opportunities for improvement of processes

  • Evaluation of whether the strategy and services are meeting the objectives set, and plans to address the situation if they are not.

Let us look into another figure in the next section that explains the Impact of Service Strategy on other Stages.

Impact of Service Strategy on other Stages

Although all Lifecycle stages interface with one another, service strategy provides the direction, policies and standards whereby each stage is executed, and in which services move through the Lifecycle.

This section highlights the major impact which service strategy has on the other four stages.

Outcomes and Constraints

It is critical that the design of a service is based on the outcomes that the customer desired, expressed in terms of utility and warranty.

The service design will validate, clarify and expand the exact attributes of the service that are needed to support these outcomes. Determining which attributes of a service are essential, which add value and which are purely ‘nice to have’ is an important part of designing a service, and a part that will have been made clearer by the work done during service strategy.

Service Models

They provide the basic architecture that is used to develop services during service design. These are the starting point for defining and developing a service design package. Service models will not only inform the designers about the market space that the service is being designed for, but also the type of asset that will need to be put in place to deliver and support the service.

Patterns of Business Activity(PBA)

Design activities related to the utilization, performance, capacity, and availability of the service will rely heavily on the identification and validation of patterns of business activity (PBA) through demand management.

Business Impact Analysis(BIA)

The design teams might be aware of the relative importance of services, based on an understanding of the outcomes and their knowledge of the customers. Nevertheless, it is important that the business importance of the service is objectively defined and held as a standard for design prioritization.

This is important from two points of view.

Firstly, the design needs to incorporate appropriate levels of availability, service continuity, security, and performance. Business impact analysis (BIA) is an important input for this activity.

Secondly, the design teams will need to prioritize their own activities. BIA will help the teams to be able to judge where their efforts are best spent, especially where there is a resource

Business Relationship Management

Business relationship management is an important source of information about the customer, their objectives, environment, and requirements. It is especially important to continue to validate and clarify customer requirements throughout the service design stage.

Any changes to requirements or design that impact the overall service model, investment or strategy will need to be validated against the strategy for the service and the service provider. Business relationship management plays an invaluable role in ensuring that this is done.

Let us discuss the Key importance with Other Lifecycle Phases in the next section.

The key importance of Other Lifecycle Phases

Given below are some of the key importance of other lifecycle phases.

Service strategy and Service transition

Service transition is often seen as a purely tactical stage, in which services are moved from design and build into operation. In fact, service transition is critical for the organization to be able to change its strategy. It is through service transition that the necessary cultural, organizational and service changes occur that allow the organization to meet its changing objectives.

Service strategy, therefore, has a key impact on service transition from three points of view.

Firstly, service strategy assists in molding the strategy for how services should be transitioned (together with transition planning and support). For example, how involved should customers be in the transition process; what mechanisms are appropriate for release and deployment of new services; what levels of training are required to prepare for a new or changed service?

Secondly, service strategy is instrumental in defining what needs to change, when and to what extent. If changes were not managed within the context of service strategy, it would be very easy for hundreds of small changes, each controlled in its own right, to result in a major change to the strategy of the organization over time. Through service portfolio management and strategy management, service transition is able to ensure that all changes contribute to the achievement of the service provider’s overall strategy, as well as the strategy of individual services.

Thirdly, service transition will test and validate that the services being introduced and changed are able to achieve the objectives and outcomes that have been defined during service strategy and service design. Thus service strategy provides the basis for which tests are run and services evaluated.

Service strategy and Service operation

Strategies are ultimately realized through service operation. Well-crafted strategies with great potential can never be realized without proper support from operations.

Strategies must be mindful of operational capabilities and constraints. Operations, on the other hand, should clearly understand the outcomes necessary for a given strategy and provide adequate support for effectiveness and efficiency.

For example, some businesses have large-scale operations in several countries or regions with high levels of business activity driven by the needs of their own customers. The end-customers may be a cost-conscious but highly dependable source of revenue for the business. Many government agencies operate in similar business conditions though with different mandates. Such high-volume, low-margin, steady-stream business strategies depend on service providers being able to support them with adequate availability and capacity but at low unit costs.

Service strategy and Continual service improvement

Continual service improvement takes its lead from service strategy in that it uses the defined strategies and desired outcomes as a basis for evaluating whether services are successful.

Service strategy and Service design

Service strategy sets the broad direction for the design of services and the objectives that services need to achieve, but it also defines the specific outcomes that the designed services need to achieve.

Service strategy, therefore, provides the initiation for services that need to be designed, and will ultimately be able to determine whether the service provider was successful. Service strategy defines what will be needed to ensure the competitiveness of the service provider and the satisfaction of its customers. Service design will define, in detail, how the service provider will achieve that.

The next section summarizes the topics covered in this learning unit.

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The topics covered in this chapter include:

  • Implementation of service strategy through the lifecycle

  • Implementation activities

  • Designing service strategy

  • Transitioning service strategy

  • Activities-operating & continual improvement

  • The key importance of other lifecycle phases


With this we have come to the end of Chapter-8, let us move on to the next chapter Challenges, Risks, and Critical Factors.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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