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Service management as a discipline grew out of efforts to improve manufacturing quality and efficiency in the mid-twentieth century. These efforts lead to recognition of IT as a collection of services that could be planned, implemented, studied, and adjusted in the manner of a production line in a factory. ITIL is a set of practices for following this pattern. Service strategy is the first phase in the ITIL service management plan, in which enterprise goals and requirements shape a high-level plan for IT services.
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Some practitioners carefully distinguish between continuous and continual improvement ; others use the terms interchangeably. Strictly speaking, continuous improvement is a continuum — that is, continuous improvement implies a smooth upward curve with no gaps or steps. Continual improvement can be continuous, but it may also be a series of step-wise incremental changes, which is often the case with change in IT.
A control chart is a basic tool of statistical quality control that plots a significant metric against time. The mean and standard error of the points in the chart are calculated and indicated on the chart. Various methods are used to spot variations that are outside statistical control on the chart.
Customers and users are not exactly the same thing. A customer is the purchaser of a service. The purchaser may also be the user of a service, but not necessarily. For example, management may purchase an e-mail service for corporate employees. Management (the customer) may be satisfied with the service due to low cost and robust data-retention support, but the employees (the users) may be dissatisfied with delivery latency and limits on e-mail attachment sizes.
There are service catalog applications that go beyond the ITIL service catalog. Consumers can subscribe to services from the service catalog application and the application may automatically set up billing and provision the consumer with access to the service. Often these service catalog applications are linked to the enterprise service desk. Although service catalog applications are natural extensions to ITIL practice, the ITIL service catalog is a listing of services, not a service subscription portal.
Actual costs may not be reduced, but the infrastructure capacity available to the enterprise may be increased, which means services can be expanded with less new resources required. There are many factors that influence the available capacity. For example, if peak usage times for a number of heavy-hitting services coincide, available capacity increases are likely to be eaten by the need for peak usage capacities. However, the financial clarity provided by the cloud implementation is always helpful.
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