I am finding it rather difficult to review this book. There are two primary reasons for this. First, it’s more of a reference book, so I think I’m probably a bit unusual in that I read it from cover to cover. Second, it’s massive. There is just a lot of material in this book–and that probably explains why it’s more of a reference book. Nevertheless, I thought I would put some thoughts together for people who might be thinking about reading the book.
The first chapter of the book is an introduction to ITIL. If you’re already familiar with ITIL, this chapter serves as a good reminder of what ITIL is. Similarly, the second chapter is an introduction to service management as a practice. Again, if you’re already familiar with the concept of service management as a practice, this chapter will provide you with a good refresher.
The heart of the book begins with the third chapter, which covers the principles of service strategy. This chapter lays the foundation for everything else that is to come in the rest of the book. For those people who have completed the ITIL Foundation exam, it will provide them with greater insight into the Service Strategy life cycle stage than what they previously had, which is nice because it can help to close some knowledge gaps.
The fourth chapter is–by far–the longest and most complex chapter in the book. Its contents include the five service strategy processes. It begins with Strategy Management for IT Services (which is not emphasized on the Foundation exam). Next, it covers Service Portfolio Management in great detail. The third process is Financial Management for IT services in which a lot of financial mathematics are explained. The fourth process is Demand Management (which, again, is not heavily emphasized on the Foundation exam). Finally, the fifth process provides detailed information about Business Relationship Management.
The fifth chapter reviews governance, architecture, and implementation strategies. Although there are some valuable nuggets in this chapter, I personally found some of it to be redundant from the previous chapter. The sixth chapter focuses on organization, much of which is a review–and refinement–of the organizational structures that were introduced in the Foundation exam.
The seventh chapter is about technology considerations. For a book that emphasized IT services, I found this chapter to be somewhat lacking. While there is a lot of good information about ways in which technology can be used for service strategy, I was hoping for more information, here. Of course, ITIL is vendor neutral, and I expect that this is reflected in this chapter.
The eighth chapter is an overview of implementing service strategy, which builds on the information in chapter five. The ninth, and final, chapter provides information about the challenges, risks, and critical success factors associated with service strategy.
The book concludes with several appendixes: Present value of an annuity (sadly, in pounds only); a description of asset types; service strategy and the cloud, which was a great appendix on how cloud computing is shaping IT service management; some related guidance in other publications; risk assessment and management; and inputs and outputs across the service life cycle.
Overall, I would say that this is a very good reference book. I don’t think that I would recommend and anyone read it from cover to cover unless he or she is studying for an intermediate or advanced ITIL exam. Nevertheless, if you’re involved in IT service management–at a strategy level–this is a good book for your bookshelf.