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What is it?

The adaptive service model shows the concepts that make up a service. It is a very high-level, abstract model, of the architecture of a service and the related service systems. This sort of architectural model is often known as a ‘meta-model’ because it is a model that enables models or architectures to be built. The picture above shows a high-level view of the meta-model. The model is ‘open source’, licensed under the creative commons license so that it can be freely used.

The meta-model forms basis for a more detailed service management architecture and ontology in the future.

  • Meta-model Describes classes, or ‘types of things’ that are needed. For example “process” or “role”
  • Architecture Describes specific instances of things that are needed. For example “incident management” or “service desk agent”
  • Ontology Provides detailed specification of how things interact. For example the format of a “service incident” message

Why would anybody need it?

Well, most people wouldn’t, at least not directly! One use of the model could be people who design service frameworks. The aim is for there to be one, standard, way to describe services, even though the details may very hugely between, say the service that you get from a bank, or from an hotel or from your smartphone provider. This model also deals with services that are provided by one service provider to another (a service chain – or service value chain). Other uses of the model might be for a trainer to help people think about services and how they need to be managed, or for a manager of a service provider to facilitate a discussion of services and value with their staff.

Having this clear, abstract, description of a service will enable us to create detailed architecture and ontology. These will in turn provide a framework for services that can interact with each other in a standard way. Let’s say that something goes wrong with a service you have, you can report this in a standard way as an incident – but, with this model, if your service provider has to send it to one of their service providers, they won’t send an e-mail, that can be misunderstood, but a service incident message.

This meta-model will allow all sorts of existing frameworks to adapt it to become more compatible with each other. Because this is available under a creative commons license any organisation can use it, or can modify it and use their modified version. If you are a technical, or jargon person, you may know about ISO 20000, ISO 9000, Togaf, SOA, ITIL, Cobit and other frameworks or standards. All of these, to some extent work with services, with this meta-model they could become more compatible with each other so that you, the end-user, are spared the inconvenience that can be caused when services don’t work with each other.

Is it all ready – can I use it now?

This is the first draft of the meta-model. It was produced by a group of experienced experts, known as the Taking Service Forward initiative (the TSF logo at the top) as the starting point only. The next activity is for this to be taken by the service community as a whole (which includes you, if you’re interested) and by crowd-sourcing, develop the next stage. The membership of Taking Service Forward is not fixed, but will include all the people who contribute to the framework.

The key stages going forward will be:

  • Completing the meta-model – we expect some fundamental changes to occur as a result of input and feedback from the community, and many details need to be added before this level of the model is complete
  • Creating a service management architecture, based on the meta-model
  • Creating a service management ontology, based on the architecture

It will also be possible to develop domain specific architectures based on the model. For example an IT Service Management architecture could be created, which would have entities that relate to IT services.

Although the meta-model is not yet complete you can already use it to facilitate discussions about services with your suppliers and customers, as well as within your own organisation to ensure that people really understand the concept of a service.

I’d like to help get this to the next stage – what do I do?

The first thing to do is to look at the detail, the diagram above is a simplified version of the big picture. The full detail is kept on this site: http://www.takingserviceforward.org/

You will need to create a log-in, with your e-mail address and agree to the copyright conditions – the creative commons license means that, though any contributions you make will be acknowledged, they will become part of the model, free for other people to use and adapt.

A lot of stuff seems to be missing – where are ‘Incidents’, ‘Configurations’ …..?!

Yes, indeed, lots and lots of detail is not contained in the meta-model. Once the meta model is complete, the next stage will be to produce actual architectures and, from then, ontologies and to produce different views into the architecture showing these ‘missing things’.