ITIL - Service Design instead of Chance - Basics and Application

The importance of functions and processes for effective and innovative services in IT service management.


Ralph Bockisch
Ralph Bockisch
EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD Service Design instead of chance

In this blog article, we explore the importance of ITIL for the effective design of IT services. Service design is an essential part of the ITIL framework and enables organisations to design their services efficiently, qualitatively and customer-focused.


Service Design in the ITIL Framework

Service management is still seen as a major discipline and sometimes even the sole discipline for support in IT. Although the ITIL framework, starting with the service strategy and in particular the service design, represents a pioneering and innovative concept for business service.

It is often the case that project management or product management, for example, determines the requirements in a department and implements IT solutions in development departments or with external partners. Service management is not used as a guideline when designing IT services. At a later stage, the formal handover of operations takes place, which involves more intensive contact with IT service management, particularly in the area of change management. Release management is often seen as an integral part of the development department. Only the release for production is obtained from operations.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Service design within the ITIL framework

It is advantageous for operations to be involved at an early stage to ensure that operational capability does not have to be established after the launch date. With regard to the guarantee and non-functional requirements, the responsibility lies with operations, which is responsible for drawing up the SLAs after the pilot phase. However, this is often too late.


The ITIL® framework offers various options for better harmonising the areas of business, development and operations. The creation of a Service Design Package (SDP) plays a special role here. The SDP is a suitable tool for linking the various phases of the service lifecycle and ensuring quality from development through transition to operation. The Service Design Package acts as a guide through the various phases of the service lifecycle.

The service design phase according to ITIL® includes the holistic definition of the service provided in the future. Holistic here means both the actual business solution (utility) and all necessary adjustments to service management processes, operating functions, metrics and measurement systems. All this information is collected in the service design package

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Service Design - Customer Service and Service Management: What is it?

Customer service and service management: what is it?

Customer service and service management are very central concepts in ITIL v3, especially in the context of service design. Think of service design as the design of a building. In this building, customer service is the front desk that welcomes guests and ensures that their needs are met, while service management is the site management that ensures that the building (or service) functions well and provides a pleasant experience for all guests. In the context of ITIL v3, customer service is not only interacting with customers, but also understanding their needs and expectations in order to meet or exceed appropriate services. Service management is the art of coordinating organisational capabilities, resources and technical capacity to deliver a service that meets or exceeds customer requirements. It encompasses the planning, design, delivery, support and continuous improvement of services.

The fundamentals and principles of service design

Service design, or in our metaphor, the architect, is all about planning and designing those efficient and effective services that meet the needs and expectations of the customer while delivering economic value to the provider. Think of the services like a jigsaw puzzle. Every single piece, be it the technology, the processes or the people, must fit to create a complete picture. Only when all the pieces fit together perfectly can we deliver a high quality and quantitative service.

There are five key principles of service design in ITIL v3:

  • Service solutions for new or changed services: This is like an architect designing a new building or renovating an old building. Similarly, service design is used when planning new or changed services.
  • Management of the service design process: This is similar to the work of a construction manager who ensures that all operations run smoothly.
  • Management of technologies that have been delivered as part of the services: This is like monitoring and managing the air conditioning and electricity network in a building.
  • Development process and maintenance of measurement systems to support service management processes: This is like the building inspector checking the building structure and making sure it meets requirements.
  • Skills and competences required for service management staff: This is like making sure your construction team has the necessary skills and knowledge to build and manage the building.

Similar to constructing a building, the goal of service design is to deliver a service that is valuable to both the customer and the provider.

Principle of service design

Based on what we've discussed so far, we can dive deeper into the principles of service design according to ITIL v3. To keep things simple, this is like the stages of constructing your building.


This is like making sure your building is nicely integrated into the surrounding landscape. In ITIL, this is the principle that all aspects of the service must be considered - processes, technology, architecture and even the people who use and deliver the service.

Coordination and Collaboration

This is the equivalent of the good communication and collaboration that is needed between different construction teams to ensure that the building plan is implemented correctly. In service design, this means that all parties involved need to work well together to deliver a seamless and high quality service.

Design for management

This is like setting up an efficient building management system. In ITIL, this means that the service must be designed in such a way that it is easy to manage, monitor and improve.

Service-orientated architecture (SOA)

This is similar to choosing a design that is best suited to the intended purpose. In ITIL, SOA refers to the design of the service to fulfil specific business needs - whether to improve efficiency, reduce costs or increase customer satisfaction.

Quality focus

As in the construction industry, it is important to focus on quality in ITIL. This means that the service must not only work, it must also meet quality standards and fulfil customer expectations.

Using these principles, we can ensure that we design a strong, stable and sustainable "service" - our building - that fulfils the needs and expectations of our customers while meeting our business requirements.

The service design process

The service design process begins with a thorough evaluation of user requirements. Think of it as an interview in which you ask the future occupant of the building about their needs, wishes and expectations - how many rooms they need, whether they want a garden or a garage, whether they have pets that require special facilities, and so on. Once this information has been carefully collected and analysed, we start to design the service packages. This process is similar to drawing up a building plan, which envisages how the different areas of the house (or in our case, the service) should be arranged and built to best respond to the user's identified needs and expectations.

These service packages contain a detailed description of the service to be provided, including the processes, technologies and resources required to deliver and manage the service. Careful attention is paid to ensure that the service package not only fulfils the user's needs, but is also in-line with the provider's profitability and efficiency targets.

Service level management

Once this phase is complete, we move on to creating the Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The SLAs are like the contractual terms between the house builder and the homeowner, setting out exactly what is expected, what will be delivered and how performance will be measured.

Similarly, in ITIL, SLAs are important documents that clearly define what services the customer can expect, including the quality, availability, capacity and performance of the service. This ensures that both sides - the customer and the provider - have a clear idea of what is expected and how success will be measured.

Taking all these phases together, the ITIL v3 service design process ensures that every service 'building' we create is both functional and efficient, and meets the needs and expectations of our customers.

ToDo's with reference to technology

Technology is an essential part of service design, much like the building materials and tools needed to construct a building. When we talk about technology in relation to ITIL v3, we are referring to the IT infrastructure, hardware, software and networks needed to deliver the service. There are some important aspects that need to be considered when implementing the technology:

  • Selecting the appropriate technologies: just as an architect selects the right materials for the construction of a building, based on factors such as purpose, budget and climatic conditions, the service design team must also select the right technology for the service. This should take into account the needs of the service, the requirements of the users and the cost aspects.
  • Integration and consistency: When using different building materials and technologies, care must be taken to ensure that they fit together well. The same applies to the technology in the service design - the different technological components must be able to interact seamlessly with each other to enable a smooth service.
  • Scalability and flexibility: When designing a building, people like to plan ahead and leave room for possible expansions or adaptations. Similarly, the technology in the service design should be chosen so that it can be scaled or adapted as needed to meet changing needs or circumstances.
  • Security and compliance: This is similar to installing alarm systems and fire safety devices in a building. In technology, it means ensuring that the service utilises secure procedures and technologies to protect data and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
  • Measurability: As with monitoring the structural integrity of a building, the design should also include methods for measuring and monitoring technology performance.

These are some of the technical "to-do's" that need to be considered in service design to ensure a qualitative and quantitative service.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Innovation in the service design process

Innovation in the service design process

In the world of service design, we are constantly stumbling across new innovations and approaches that aim to make the entire process more effective and customer-centred. Some of these include design thinking and prototyping. Both design thinking and prototyping play a crucial role in modern service design innovation. They allow us to use a human-centred approach to problem solving and respond quickly to new ideas, resulting in better and more effective services.

Design thinking for innovative services

Design thinking is like the process of an artist or designer sketching out different ideas before deciding on the final design. This approach is applied to service design by dividing the process into several iterative phases - understanding, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. The first phase, understanding, already seems familiar, as if we are interviewing the future occupant of our building. Defining helps us to create a clear list of requirements from this information, similar to putting together a construction kit. Once we have laid these foundations, we can begin to elaborate and finalise our ideas and then move towards prototyping.

Prototype in service design

Prototypes are simple and inexpensive models of our services that allow us to try them out and test them before we actually build them. Think of it like a scale model of the building that we can use to check if the design works before actually building it. Prototyping in service design makes it possible to test services at an early stage and collect customer feedback. This allows companies to optimise their services and better meet customer needs.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Service Design - Customer Centricity and Function of Good Service - Principles

Customer orientation and function of good service - Principles

Customer orientation and the introduction of good service principles are of paramount importance in any service design, as is focussing on the future occupants when planning a building. It is about gaining a deep understanding of the customers, their needs and expectations.

Customer orientation and the introduction of good service principles are of paramount importance in any service design, as is focussing on the future occupants when planning a building. It is about gaining a deep understanding of customers, their needs and expectations.

Customer experience and the customer journey

The customer experience and the customer journey are key features here. You can think of them as the experience of a future homeowner as they walk through their new house and use every room. It's about how the customer perceives the service and what interactions they have both online and offline. Evaluating the customer journey helps to identify and improve any weak points in order to ultimately optimise the customer experience.

Key aspects of service design are deciphered as part of critical processes such as business impact analysis, security management, capacity management and service continuity management.

Business impact analysis

Business impact analysis is a bit like analysing how the construction of our building will affect the surrounding community. In an ITIL context, it is about understanding how the service impacts the organisation, its strategies and objectives. In ITIL v3 terminology, the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is a critical building block in service management. Think of the BIA as a kind of surveyor in the overall building process. You are responsible for thoroughly investigating the environment to gather accurate data for the best possible design.

Business impact analysis looks at how disruptions to business processes could affect an organisation. It helps to understand the relationship between business processes, IT services and the associated risks and to clarify which business processes and services are most critical. In practice, the BIA estimates the potential damage that can be caused by an interruption to business processes and the resources required to restore them. After the BIA, we can better understand which services are vital to the organisation and which are less critical.

This allows the service manager to determine where resources are best deployed to minimise damage and maximise business operations. In short, a BIA helps us make smart investment decisions, develop service continuity management strategies and create a general awareness of the potential risks that could jeopardise the company's business processes.

Security management

Security management can be likened to a building's security system, where the aim is to protect the service and customer data from any threats.  It is the technological equivalent of the fire protection measures, security locks and alarm systems that are installed in a building to ensure the safety of the occupants.

In the context of IT service management, it encompasses a set of practices designed to protect the organisation's data and information, as well as that of its customers. It is about ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems. This could include a range of activities - from implementing firewall and anti-virus software, to continuously monitoring systems for unusual activity, to enforcing strict access controls and training employees in secure practices.

It also plays an important role in identifying and responding to security incidents. It is as if the security service in the building intervenes when a burglar alarm is triggered. Similarly, effective security management has processes in place to respond to security incidents, investigate them and take the necessary action to prevent further incidents.

Overall, security management contributes to a secure, reliable service that builds customer confidence and minimises the risk of reputational or financial damage to the business.

Capacity management

Capacity management is similar to planning sufficient car parking spaces for a large building. It refers to the ability to meet current and future service requirements. It considers all aspects of the structure, including size, room layout, escape routes and utilities, to ensure that the building can fulfil its intended purpose and operate as optimally as possible.

Now let's apply this concept to this management in the IT world. This is about ensuring that an organisation's IT resources and services are able to optimally meet business needs, both in the short and long term. Ultimately, it's about understanding the "what if" scenario - what would happen if demand for a particular service suddenly increased or decreased? It's about ensuring that there are always enough resources to provide the required service without wasting resources. It's like planning a building in a way that allows occupants to move around freely and use the rooms as needed without wasting space. It is an ongoing process that involves not only monitoring current performance but also predicting future performance requirements. It could include increasing the efficiency of existing infrastructure, considering additional resources when demand requires it, or even predicting the potential impact of new technologies on IT capacity.

Overall, capacity management plays an important role in ensuring that services are optimally and effectively delivered to meet business needs.

Service Continuity Management

Service Continuity Management in ITIL v3 is a bit like an emergency plan for a building. Imagine there is a sudden power outage. Do you have a generator to hand? Or what if an important part of your structure was suddenly damaged? Do you have a strategy to keep your building operational anyway?

Unlike capacity management, which deals with the optimal utilisation of resources in everyday situations, this focuses on exceptional, potentially catastrophic events that could disrupt regular operations. It involves plans and measures to deal with major incidents and emergencies that pose a serious threat to IT operations.

This can range from natural disasters and major technical failures to cyber-attacks and other security breaches. The aim is to ensure that services can be restored quickly and the impact on the business is minimised.

It goes hand in hand with risk management by identifying measures to manage risks that cannot be completely eliminated despite all security measures. It is about minimising the impact of these risks and ensuring that the business can still function when the unexpected happens. Like building a storm-proof house, it's about making sure your service can withstand any severe weather conditions.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - The contribution of IT services in service design

The contribution of IT services in service design

Think of how architects are constantly looking for new, better ways to build that are both cost-effective and provide the highest value for occupants. Similarly, IT services are all about finding the most effective way to manage the full lifecycle of a service. An optimised IT service landscape can be thought of as the well-oiled engine of the car: All the parts work together to keep the vehicle running smoothly and smoothly. Similarly, well-designed IT services support a company's entire service portfolio.

For example, better scaling can be achieved. It's like designing your house so that it can grow with your life. You might start with a small cottage, but plan it so that it can be easily expanded later to accommodate a growing family. Another option is to optimise IT services to improve performance. This could mean installing a more powerful heating system in your home or improving insulation to increase energy efficiency. In the IT world, this could mean upgrading your systems to increase processing speed or improving security measures to protect against cyber-attacks.

Whichever way you look at it, IT services play an essential role in service design and optimising these services is a key element in delivering high quality and effective services. Ensuring that these are well aligned with business objectives is a key priority for any IT service manager.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Service Design in Everyday Business

Service design in everyday business

Service design plays as crucial a role in day-to-day business as an architect does in building a house. Without the design, you could not have a stable, functional and attractive house. It's similar in business: without a well-thought-out service design, you can't offer effective and appealing services. Think of service design as the blueprint of your house - it defines how things should be built and organised so that everything works smoothly and the desired results are achieved. In a business context, it ensures that all aspects of your service - from processes to technology to people - are optimally aligned to fulfil business objectives and customer needs.

The service portfolio

Think of the service portfolio as the collection of all the houses (or services) you offer. Each house has its own unique characteristics and benefits - as does each service in your portfolio. Managing these ensures that they are in line with business strategies and objectives and that they are managed effectively.

Service catalogue management

Service catalogue management, on the other hand, is like the estate agent's shop window, where all available homes (or services) are on display. It ensures that customers (both internal and external) have a clear overview of all available services and how they can access them. It also helps customers to select the most suitable services for them.

Taken together, service design, service portfolio and service catalogue management play a critical role in the delivery of effective services and help to meet both business objectives and customer needs.

EcholoN Blog - ITIL SD - Service Design - Success factors for implementation

Success factors for the introduction

The successful implementation of service design can be compared to building a dream house. There are several factors that contribute to the smooth completion of this house - your dream service. Here are five crucial components to look out for:

Understanding the customer's needs

The first and perhaps most important factor is to understand exactly what type of home your client wants to build - or, more specifically, what type of service they need. You can't create a successful design without having a clear idea of what the service will be used for and what the customer's expectations are. Research, conversations and customer feedback are essential to get an accurate picture of this need.

Involvement of all stakeholders and service providers

As with any major project, it is crucial to involve all appropriate team members, or stakeholders, from the outset. Each may have a different perspective - like an electrician who focuses on proper wiring, or a designer who focuses on aesthetics.

Focusing on the entire service life cycle

Just like building a house, you need to think beyond the day the keys are handed over. Thinking about the entire lifecycle of the service helps to consider both short-term and long-term needs.

Effective risk management

Any construction plan must take into account potential problems and obstacles. In service design, effective risk management is essential to identify potential problems and take precautions. It is always better to identify and minimise potential risks in advance than to react to problems that have already occurred.

Constant improvement and adaptation

Even the best home needs maintenance and renovations over the years. Services are no different. Over time, customer needs and expectations change, new technologies are introduced and the business environment changes. Therefore, continuous improvement and customisation should be an integral part of service design.

Summary: holistic service design

Overall, effective service design can make the difference between a service that merely fulfils basic requirements and one that delivers real value to customers and contributes to business success.