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Service Strategy - Service Portfolio

When we talk about IT portfolio management, we imply the task of rational management of large groups of items via enterprise Information Technology (IT) capabilities. Some examples of IT portfolios could include; planned initiatives, projects, and ongoing IT services such as application support.

The Service portfolio is probably one of the most vital phases for driving services strategy and management of the service investment. We've seen a lot of attempts at services portfolio management and we do see Service Catalogues, but people's mindsets of the portfolio and its management, leads to a stale development. Sometimes the initiation of the Catalogue is seen as just another thing to do.

What does it contain

The Service Portfolio contains details of every Service in existence, whether they are being developed, in test or released.

Typical content to include for each service would be:

  • Service name
  • Service description
  • Service Status
  • Service classification
  • Business process supported
  • Owners (business)
  • Users (business)
  • Owners (IT)
  • Applications used
  • Data/schema used
  • Supporting services
  • Supporting resources
  • Dependent services
  • SLA and SLR references
  • OLA and contracts
  • Costs
  • Service charges (if applicable)
  • Service revenue (if applicable)
  • Metrics

The Service Status contains the status of each service which can be any of the following (or others if you extend the framework):

  • Requirements
  • Defined
  • Analysed
  • Approved
  • Chartered
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Built
  • Test
  • Released
  • Operational
  • Retired

There may be times when the same service exists in the Portfolio but with a different status. This supports the incremental or iterative development process.

Service Portfolio
The Service Portfolio needs to be accurate. It's going to be our actual plan, how we're going to measure success and avoid the pitfalls. We don't want to be reinventing the wheel a lot of the time. We know the services we have and we've got them mapped so let's use that. The Service Catalogue (a subset of the Portfolio) consists of services that are in the Service Operation phase and also those which are approved to be readily offered to our current or prospective customers. We can show this catalogue to our customers and get some really great things out of that.

So by taking the process around it we can break it down into manageable levels. From the objectives perspective the portfolio returns the acceptable risk level.

Some key things to consider. The portfolio is changing constantly and will continue to do so as the business churns. As we govern the portfolio it shouldn't go stale and this lies heavily on the portfolio management process.

From top to bottom we:

Define, analyse and approve.

As with most retention strategies we also aim to:

Retain, replace and retire.

Indeed in many circumstances, as the service evolves, many of the entries in the Catalogue become unnecessary, out of date or we simply build up too many entries! At the end of the day its bad practice not to keep the portfolio relevant and up to date. The service needs to operate efficiently so out of date or confusing portfolios can hinder Continual Service Improvement.

During portfolio development, ask yourself questions. Why should the customer buy this services from us? What are the strengths, weaknesses, priorities and risk. What about Resources? It's important to discuss these and determine how should our resources and capabilities be allocated? Reviewing resources is essential to the portfolio management process.

See also:

  • Service Knowledge Management System SKMS
  • Configuration Management System CMS
  • Service Desk System
  • Capacity Management Information System (CMIS)
  • Availability Management Information System (CMIS)
  • Security Management Information System (CMIS)
  • Supplier and Contracts Database (SCD)

service strategy portfolio investment management owner process operation projects charter



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