Four Dimensions of Service Management – Organization and People

The four dimensions of service management conjures up visions of some fantastic journey to another reality.

What we are really speaking about is the varying perspectives that are critical to effective and efficient facilitation of value for customers and other stakeholders.

If we were to visualize this, it might look like the four legs of a table. While it might be able to stand with only three legs it won’t be very stable in the long run.

The four dimensions include:

  • Organization and People
  • Information and Technology
  • Partners and Suppliers
  • Value Stream and Processes

In this post we will talk about Organization and People

As the intent is to create, improve and deliver service this dimension focuses on Roles and responsibilities, Organizational structure and culture and required Staffing and skills. This can be one of the more complex dimensions to get right because we are dealing with people.

To get a sense of all the areas that need to be considered for the organizations and people dimension we will need to have

  • Healthy Organizational culture
  • Common Organizational objectives
  • Current Organizational skills and competencies
  • Defined organizational structure

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is about the inner workings of the group from a social perspective. The key with culture is that everything you look at will need to line up to how the culture operates if you are going to be successful. No matter how much effort is placed into any activity, it’s the culture that really carries things forward or flattens it at the onset.

Organizational Objectives

Having common organizational objectives means that people should be clear about the business objectives that they want to accomplish and that everyone understands it the same way. In many cases this is where interpretations of what we want to achieve may impact us actually getting there. Based on the messaging people may interpret the objective differently. Sometimes we may need to tailor the content for the audience so we are all working towards the common objective. Just because we say something in English doesn’t mean it will translate well into Mandarin. So too is the case if we are speaking to human resources teams and engineers.

Organizational Skills

Up-to-date organizational skills and competencies specify that people being a crucial aspect of organization should be updated on skills and competencies to have better results. Essentially the organization is a sum of its parts. To ensure that we have all the parts we need to be effective we need to leverage all the skills of the people we have as well as maximizing skills we utilize from service providers as well. This also includes skills such as leadership that might not be front of mind when we typically think of skills.

Defined Organizational Structure

A well-defined organizational structure ensures that people have a clear understanding on whom to report and who should initiate the appropriate action when something goes wrong. In some cases this may not always be the same person or people which is why making this clear is so important. When everyone knows what to do and when, people will get a greater sense of what’s expected of them as well as those around them. In order to be able to accomplish this we need to look at a couple of aspects such as:

  • Reporting lines
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Systems of authority
  • Communication model

Reporting lines can either be solid lines, those where you report to someone like your manager. They can also be dotted lines, where you may report into someone based on activity rather than a traditional organizational structure.

Roles and responsibilities outline what people, based on their role, are supposed to do. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities ensure those doing the role know what they should be doing as well as what others around them are responsible for.

Systems of authority speaks to who can, or should, authorize activities. It also outlines who is supposed to take the ‘marching orders’ and perform the activities based on the system of authority.

A communication model is the process that organizations follows to share information among one another, as well as throughout the organization. This ensures that knowledge is transferred to the organization appropriately as well as making sure that the messaging is consistent to all who are consuming the information shared.

This is just one of the four dimensions of service management. Nothing in ITSM should be done in isolation so having the other dimensions in place is critical to getting the value we are searching for.  Stay tuned for additional posts on this subject.


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