UC Architecture Strategy #5--Services Model
UC is complex, but by breaking down UC into a set of service categories, each with its own sub-services, defining them, and providing common service management, the complexity can be managed.
As IT continues to evolve, business organizations continue to press IT to not only be faster, better, and cheaper, but to be easier to work with. Toward this end, cloud computing is taking off, in part, because IT is being broken down into a set of services that can be integrated together to create a solution. Whether it is a public, private, or hybrid offering, the end objective is to break the IT into a bunch of standard services that are integrated with information, processes, and people, to deliver a unified solution for a business organization.
A service model can be broken down into 6 categories:
1) Service Owner--An individual and/or team that is accountable for a specific service
2) Service--An IT function that provides specific functionality
3) Service Catalog--A list of all services that IT provides including:
a. Definition--What the service offers
b. Tiers--It is critical to offer two to four levels of service: A basic service that is very cost effective and has a best effort support model, to a premium service with full functionality, high availability and support. This gives business users the choice on service quality versus cost.
c. SLAs--The availability, performance, delivery, and other metrics around the service
d. Chargeback--Units of charge, major cost drivers, and standard monthly rates. Private cloud solutions need to cover the upfront cost to build the service and spread cost out over 3 years.
e. Information--A URL for more information along with a name and number of the service owner for more detailed information.
4) Relationship Manager--A broker between the service provider and business customer.
5) Service Level Agreements--Every service should be a contract with written definitions of SLAs, how they are measured, and penalties. IT should have OLAs (operational level agreements) with their partners.
6) Charge Backs--Billing based on usage and/or per user to cover implementation and support costs.
Figure 1. IT Services Model
In IT infrastructure, services are categorized into a stack of major service areas, with each area having its suite of services. Building a portal or back-end business application such as ERP or SCM uses a fairly standard stack of IT infrastructure services that are well defined, as shown on the left side in Figure 2. These services focus on machine-to-machine communication. On the right side is the stack of communication services. Communication services are defined as the services required for person-to-person or person-to-machine communication. The application layer is used as the bridge between users on devices accessing backend system information.
Figure 2. IT Infrastructure Service Categories