The idea for this article series came when I was clearing out the office recently. I usually have a good tidy up in between Christmas and the New Year - but I felt unusually energetic this weekend and the desire to 'de-clutter' my office got the better of me. Anyway, I found (tucked away behind an old printer) a copy of the CCTA's (remember them? Now they're the OGC! You know the owners of ITIL!) 1993 book, "Producing a statement of service requirements".
Way back in the olden days of 1993 this meagre 84 page "book" cost a
whopping $90 (£45 / 60e) but was so packed full of interesting goodies that I
just had to bring it back to life - and use my own interpretation of today's
meaning within a service operation. Sound ok to you?
Great, let's get on with some of the detail...
What is an SSR?
- A Precise and Complete Statement of the Requirements and Constraints for the IT Service to be provided
- An SSR forms the very foundation for a formal procurement of IT Service
- It provides a sound basis for the creation of evaluation criteria and the terms of the contract between a service recipient (or guardian of the service) and the service provider (let's think about an outsourcing deal here).
- An SSR describes the job that Outsourcers need to do. It is accurate, detailed and complete.
- An SSR enables a potential service provider to effectively bid for new service contracts.
- It enables service providers to fully understand what they are getting themselves into; derive an accurate costing model for running the service over time (and so helps them determine their profit!)
- It provides the service guardian with the opoprtunity to compare and contrast multiple prospective bidders in a competitive tender situation; enabling shortlisting and opening up focussed discussions about service requirements.
- It acts as the "definitive reference" (CCTA term) during discussions and ongoing negotiations between provider and guardian.
Why invest the time in producing an SSR?
Make no mistake - creating an accurate and in-depth SSR is tough work and involves detailed extraction of user/business and internal IT/IS requirements. You will need to overcome many challenges in producing one; such as gaining access to the right people, translating business requirements into more refined service requirements and obtaining approval that the completed document is in fact a detailed and accurate 'big picture' statement of what the business needs!
So, an investment in time and energy is definately required.
Why bother? Well, you will produce a document that enables:-
- solid backbone to base discussions, decisions and negotiations on
- effective change managements of the spefici details within the requirements
- fair comparisons between bidding repsonses can be made (protecting your organization from objections from certain bidders who suspect you may be unfair or biased in some way)
- validate what the current incumbant is actually delivering for you today. Even if you stay with your current provider - you want to know that they are hitting all the right spots for you.
What do I need to know about creating an SSR?
- Your business objectives
- Your internal IT / Technology Objectives
- The strategic positioning of your Service Delivery organization within your business
- Resources and skills needed to create an effective SSR
- Understanding of who else to involve (Legal, Business Sponsors, Commercial teams)