The term process is frequently misused in service management contexts. Defined as "a series of activities that are meaningful for the customer, with a specific goal", a process should be limited to activities. However, without exception, all current frameworks, standards, and reference models describe combinations of people, process and technology. They therefore describe practices, and practices are not processes: practices are derived from processes.
Integral and integrated
If you want to prevent activities from occurring more than once in a process model - to prevent redundancy and the accompanying inefficiency - you will have to develop a process model in such a way that the processes together comprise all occurring activities, and together cover all patterns for interaction with the customer in an integrated system and in the most efficient way. This means that, under those conditions, the defined processes must not overlap, and yet they must be complete, covering everything, so they must be "end-to-end".
Fortunately, such an integrated process model for service organizations can easily be made, based on a carefully constructed and consistent set of definitions. The USM process model is an extremely simple, comprehensive, integrated, non-redundant "end-to-end" process model for a service organization. All processes are singular and have a customer relevant output, all recorded activities occur once and only once, and they are especially meaningful if they are viewed from a workflow perspective that records a use case of a customer interaction.
The 10 USM design criteria for a process
- A process describes what has to happen successively, not the who or how.
- A process can be interpreted with a verb.
- A process can be counted.
- Processes are not depending upon practical conditions (◊).
- Processes have a customer-relevant and unique purpose.
- A process can be divided into sub-processes, but that does not change the process.
- A process model organizes the processes.
- An integral process model includes all service management activities.
- In an integrated process model, each activity occurs only once.
- All activities are steered using process control.
In a process model that meets all these requirements, performance is achieved with workflows: composite flows of activities, which consist of non-overlapping fragments of individual processes from the integrated process model. For example, a recovery action can be performed by having a change made or by resetting some infrastructure, but in both cases the execution is realized in one and only one process: Operations Management. This creates unambiguous control over the actual service delivery and prevents conflicts.
This unique integrated process modeling for service providers can be easily learned, applied, and supported with tools, using no more than 8 standardized USM workflow templates for all your service management activities. Just imagine the reduction in complexity and cost you'll achieve with such a management system.
The USM process model can easily be depicted on all practices that are used in common frameworks: think of ITIL, ASL, BiSL, COBIT, etc. With that application, all redundancies of those frameworks can then be fundamentally prevented, resulting in much more efficient management systems for exactly the same activities.