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ITIL 4 introduces the concepts of Service value System, Service value chains and Service value streams.

That's a lot of value!

It's also causing a bit of confusion about the difference between Systems, Streams and Chains.

To cut through the jargon and try to explain this in practical terms, and specifically how a product like HelpMaster might assist with this, let's use the example of on-boarding a new employee.

Service Value System

The service value system is a high-level analysis of all of the components, principles and practices that provide the benefit/value of having a dedicated process for this important business operation.  It would consider the organizational requirements, the legal/governance requirements, the personnel requirements and would also consider how such a system could be continually improved.

Everyone wins when an employee is on-boarded correctly - the employer, the employee, the business, the legislators, the financiers, the trainers... Everyone.  Think about all the good things that can come out of doing on-boarding the right-way.

The "output" of such a system is valueOn-boarding goodness.

The actual steps in performing on-boarding is a whole different beast.  This is where the service value chain, and service value streams take effect.  We're now moving into a more practical, hands-on part of the service delivery.

When on-boarding a new employee, multiple teams are almost always involved, sometimes other vendors/organizations.  There's often different paperwork, various on-line forms, banking details to collect, payment details to record, security checks to conduct, health and safety processes to adhere to.  Inductions and training is to be scheduled and performed.  There are physical walk-arounds / orientation, information technology accounts to be setup and configured - Active Directory, email, passwords and access to systems.  There's physical building matters to attend to - access to physical lockers, keys to cabinets/doors, carpark access….and the list goes on.

There are a lot of moving parts in the on-boarding process.

The Service Value Chain is a set of activities that address the various aspects of designing, delivering, planning, building and improving the delivery of the value.  This is where the operational parts of achieving the system value (good on-boarding) are discussed, designed and improved.

The Service Value Stream delivers this value in practical ways.  It is the working arm of the System and Chain, and in order to realise this value, you need to do some work.  Think of a service value stream as the actual tasks you have to perform as part of the process.  In order to perform an employee on-boarding, a service stream will reflect and reference the various outputs that were identified in the Service Chain in the outworking of its value.  They're all connected!

Designing workflow for employee on-boarding

This is where the HelpMaster workflow engine kicks in.  With the process designer, you can build a flexible and powerful workflow that can assist in each step of the on-boarding process.

The workflow designer has an assortment of workflow objects that can be configured for different tasks.  Think of each of these workflow objects as "programmable workflow Lego pieces". 

Simply find the right piece, set its properties, and join it to another piece of workflow Lego to build your workflow….


workflow objects for employee onboarding process design

workflow objects for employee on-boarding process design

…and just like Lego, we're always releasing new workflow objects with new powers and purpose.

Using a combination of the workflow objects, you build your workflow to support your on-boarding process.

Service Value Stream

Behold, a Service Value Stream for an employee on-boarding service!

Notice how the stream flows, bends, and branches according to different factors in the on-boarding process. 

ITIL Service Value Stream employee onboarding process

Process Design

Building such a workflow requires that you've previously mapped out all of the moving parts, and considered the key activities and components of the ITIL v4 Service Value System, the Service Value Chain and possible Service Value Streams.

Workflow and process design may include:

  • Defining what data capture should take place
  • Build relevant web portal pages / data input
  • Identify the stake-holders
  • Isolate key events within a process
  • Create relevant knowledge base articles and other documentation as required
  • Consider what communications are required.  Email, letter, message etc.
  • Established SLAs, OLAs and other timeframes, not just for the entire process, but also for components within it
  • Identify process milestones
  • Consider reporting needs
  • Create relevant approval points/documentation/standards
  • Provided training for everyone involved in the process
  • Ensured that all relevant governance and legislative process are considered referenced in the workflow
  • Etc, etc..

Building process and workflow at this level, requires deep understanding of the business, the process, the governance and corporate culture, to name only a few factors.

It's a deeply rewarding endeavour and a fascinating journey through the intricacies and particulars of a business.  Many people are involved in such a task, so good communication skill is essential, as is a solid grasp of not only business architecture and analysis, but also being about to configure and tweak software as part of the tool implementation.

ITIL v4 provides the framework for considering, designing and improving these things

HelpMaster provides the tool for logging, managing, building and executing these things

Remember that ITIL v4 provides common-sense, standard business concepts that provide some guidance around service delivery.  Focus on creating value, and continually work at improving the process and delivery chain that delivers that value.

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