The Five “P”s of IT service design

IT Service Design Mar 21, 2020

The IT service design stage is part of a lifecycle, such as the five-phase lifecycle of service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement.

At the design stage, needs and requirements (gathered during the previous strategy phase) are translated into corresponding IT services. But is there a mechanism to ensure that those services will then in turn satisfy the users for which they are destined? Designing in an additional “P” feature could help.

The idea for the additional “P” feature comes from the world of supply chain. When enterprises make and ship goods and services to end-customers, they may use the “perfect order rate” as a measure of success.

The perfect order rate measures how many orders are shipped without damage, inaccuracy, or lateness. The Supply Chain Council describes perfect order fulfillment as being an order “delivered to the right place, with the right product, at the right time, in the right condition, in the right package, in the right quantity, with the right documentation, to the right customer, with the correct invoice”.

Clearly, that’s a lot of things to get right. Failure in just one immediately spoils the perfect rate, and off-target rates (say 95% instead of 100%) leads to a yet poorer overall rating (0.95 x 0.95 x 0.95… etc.).

It’s better, where possible, to design the perfect order or perfect delivery into the service from the start, rather than finding out later in the service operation or the continual service improvement phases.

Even if the “process” factor includes a notion of meeting customer expectations and agreed service levels, an extra, fifth “P” factor in the form of “perfect delivery” at the service design stage can be a useful addition.