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Identification and documentation of business processes

The purpose of decomposing a business service is to identify and document business processes, identify the IT (technical) services that support them, and identify IT components and assets that provide the technical services. Business processes are determined at a high level and can include other processes, such as Marketing and Sales. This document focuses on how business services are impacted and supported by IT.

For example, the online banking division of Calbro Services might identify a business service as the ability of customers to transfer funds, a common service for an online banking company. A technical service that supports this service is the maintenance of the network on which the servers that facilitate the fund transfer communicate. The supporting IT assets are the servers, databases, and related hardware and software systems that facilitate the fund-transfer service.

The following figure depicts a scenario in which the application server resides on a virtual machine (VM), which, in turn is running on a server capable of hosting several VMs. The system is set up so that, if one VM fails, another VM resumes the process without interruption. The fund-transfer business service depends on everything in the gray box, which IT provides and supports.

 Example of a business service and the supporting IT assets

The fund-transfer service is only one business service provided by Calbro Services. The service model created by Calbro Services is a collection of service components, each of which represents a business service. Each component can contain several functional applications, each of which can have multiple IT components. A service model shows how the components are interconnected and shows how component failures can impact other services. See Example of a service model.

Best practices

When decomposing a business service, consider the following best practices:

  • To find IT services and the components that support them, look at service level agreements and operational level agreements.
  • Determine the entry point to each service model, the highest object in the model. The entry point depends on who is consuming the model. Working from here down to the bottom of a service model makes sure that you operate from the perspective of the business.

Identifying business services

To identify business services, start by gathering information from such sources as business unit managers, business process managers, and staff personnel knowledgeable about the business services. Company organization charts might be helpful in identifying the relevant people. 
The process involves interviewing the managers and identifying the following information:

  • Business processes — Identify key business processes such as Market Research, Product Planning, Response Management, or Case Management. There can be multiple levels of business processes, starting with higher level core competencies and business functions, to specific sub-business processes.
  • Functional applications — Identify the business applications that support the business processes. Map the business processes to the functional applications. 

    Map functional applications to service components to create the business service models. See the following figure for an example of functional applications mapped to a business service.

Identifying technical services

To identify technical services, consult IT managers and staff. Disaster recovery plans, help desk documents, and purchase orders might be useful in identifying IT components and the business processes that they support.

The process involves identifying the list of IT assets (components). Interview the IT management and staff, or use an asset database or CMDB as resources:

  • Create a list of technical services and discover what technical services are offered to business units through use of IT assets. Examples of technical services include customer support and customer call monitoring.


    The Service Catalog component of the BMC CMDB depicts IT services as Technical Services.

  • For each technical service, identify the IT components that support the service.
  • Identify the interdependencies among IT components and formulate a topology map. Consider the relationships and dependencies between IT components.

As you build your model, use whatever tools you have to depict the dependencies between business services and technical services. Use graphical and spreadsheet software if you do not have a solution such as BMC Impact Solutions. The following table shows a portion of a spreadsheet depicting a few business services and their relationships.

 Portion of a sample business service model spreadsheet 

Business service Business functions Business processes Technical services IT component
24/7 online banking Transfer funds Operational efficiency Administrative software and hardware Software applications, application servers, virtual machines, databases
Pay bills
Discount equity services Execute trades
Manage customer relations Front office sales Response management Incident tracking software Application server
Customer support Support service requests FTP Server: FTP

Sprint Server: Walrus
Sales Logix Database: SALLOG Applications: Sales Logix User group: Tech Support dept Servers: Antelope

Related topics

Planning a service model

Service model design considerations

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