IT service providers may have one or many services that they sell to customers. For each of these services there has to be a service owner The official definition of a service owner in ITIL service management is this: the role that is accountable for the delivery of a specific IT service. The service owner is responsible for the service management of a specific service in the organization. The service owner is also the representative of the service in the whole organization. In other words, he is the spokesperson of the service. Ultimately, ownership for service management resides with the service owner for a particular service in an organization.

The tasks of the service owner in service management

The service owner has several tasks to perform as part of service management to ensure that the service that he is responsible for is running efficiently according to ITIL best practices. By performing these tasks to the best of his abilities, he ensures proper service management for the service that he is responsible for.

Task of the service owner #1: Establishment of inputs for service attributes as part of ITIL service management

The service owner must provide inputs to define the service’s attributes aligned with ITIL. For example, the performance of the service is an attribute of the service and service owner is responsible for meeting planned and targeted levels of performance in a service. If the service meets and exceeds its initial targets, new targets should be aimed at and service should be improved progressively if service management is performed correctly. The service owner must be hands-on in terms of his involvement in ensuring that the service reaches its targets and that performance increases year after year.

Task of the service owner #2: Taking ownership of knowledge of the service for service management

The service owner is ultimately responsible for the service management of a particular service and must know exactly how his service operates and must have detailed knowledge of its components. As he is the spokesperson of the service in the organization, he should have satisfactory knowledge about the service to plan necessary steps to achieve desired outputs and performance when managing the service according to ITIL standards. He should be in close consultation with the technical staff allocated to the service to ensure that he has the necessary know-how about the service that he is championing.

Task of the service owner #3: Escalating major incidents as required by ITIL service management best practices

The service owner must be aware of all issues with the service, no matter how big or small. If there is a severe problem in the service the service owner will be the point of escalation for major incidents as the ultimate person responsible for the service. At this point,the service owner must take the necessary actions to solve the problem that has occurred. This is a critical part of service management and also the reason why the service owner must have sufficient, or ideally in-depth knowledge of the components of the service. This will assist the service owner to determine the best course of action along with other decision makers to remove the problem and getting the performance of the service back on track

Task of the service owner #4: Attending service review meetings to facilitate service management

Review meetings must be held regularly as ITIL best practice. As the representative of the service, the service owner must attend all internal and external service review meetings to ensure that his service is managed properly. If a service is not performing well or not meeting its KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, the service owner must take the necessary corrective actions to improve service performance. This is again an important part of service management and a responsibility that lies with the service owner.

Task of the service owner #5: Assistance with ITIL continuous improvement drives as part of service management

Continuous Service Improvement, or CSI for short, is an inevitable aspect of service management and the service owner must cooperate with the CSI Manager to determine service improvements, prioritize these improvements, and plan the implementation of these improvements. In order to have better service management, services should be improved regularly. Through continuous improvement, whether in a service or a process, an organization can grow from strength to strength and a service owner can play an important role by following correct service management procedures that is aligned with the goals of the CSI manager.

Task of the service owner #6: Service management and attending SLA and OLA meetings

The final task of the service owner is to attend SLA and OLA creation meetings. SLA stands for Service Level Agreement and OLA stands for Operational Level Agreement. These agreements briefly define the requirements and expectations of a service and its customer. Since the service owner is responsible of a service, he can provide commitments about performance, availability, capacity and so forth about its service. Therefore, when preparing SLAs or OLAs, the service owner must be informed and must attend the meetings regarding the service he owns. Correct SLAs and OLAs creates transparency as to what is expected of the service provider and the customer and also helps the service owner to do better service management.

A service level agreement describes the expectations and requirements of a service provider and its client

Service owners are important role players in effective service management within an IT service provider organization. Without competent service owners, no one will take any ownership or responsibility for a service. Also when that service breaks down or stops performing according to its KPIs and performance targets it will have a heavy impact on the IT service provider’s ability to conduct its business. Therefore, it is paramount that any IT service organization who takes ITIL service management seriously should have sufficient service owners allocated to its respective services in order to have sufficient resources to conduct effective service management.

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