Service Portfolio Management – Optimizing the delivery of IT Services in

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Looking for a way to present to your customers the portfolio they’ve contracted in a customer friendly way? Trying to help the IT department understand the business value of a service? What is it that we offer to our business and by which means?
The Service Portfolio Management Plugin can help you out!
While a lot of companies are getting more and more mature in using ITIL processes, Service Portfolio Management is getting more important. It offers a central transparent oversight of the services you offer to your business, bearing in mind alignment of strategy, costs, demands etc.

Activating the Service Portfolio Management Plugin and the implementation of Service Portfolio Management will enable the possibility to present your customer what their company/department has contracted in a customer friendly graphical overview. It will create an additional catalog called, Business Service Catalog, showing all defined Business Services with their underlying Service Offerings and pricing.

Business Service Structure:

Business Service

The Business Service is the highest visible level in the Service Portfolio. It contains high level details of the IT Services you deliver to the customer.

Very important is of course to define what is in scope of this service. Besides that you should always define what’s out of scope. If you don’t define what’s out of scope, users will assume it’s in scope!

In Service-now it’s also possible to nest Business Services using parent-child relationships. This way a Business Service can be used as a container.

Each service you offer can hold price elements. The price model is set on the Business Service and is inherited by the underlying Service Offerings. You can choose between Fixed and Per Unit. The eventual price is set on each Offering.

Service Offering

Each Business Service consists of one or multiple Service Offerings. Each Service Offering consists of the generic Business Service, customized with specific parameters. One approach which is frequently used is the possibility to differ between bronze, silver and gold. Where for instance bronze is 5 x 8 support, silver is 5 x 12 support and gold is 24 x 7 support. Each of these offerings can have its own price.

In the Business Service Catalog the configured Business Service with three underlying Service Offerings is shown as follows:

Service Commitments

It’s also possible to measure the availability commitments. As soon as your Service Desk registers an outage on the Business Service, the outage times are held against the availability commitments which are registered on the Offering.


Customers have the possibility to add gauges to their homepage which shows the availability of the Business Services they’ve contracted. They can only add gauges of Offerings they are subscribed to.


Of course, just activating the plugin alone will not help. The following steps might help you in setting up the Business Services Catalog:

  • Define all Business Services
  • Clearly define the scope of each Business Service (what’s in scope and what’s out of scope)
  • Define all Service Offerings and variations per Business Service (ie Bronze, Silver and Gold)
  • Define pricing model on Business Services and configure prices on Service Offerings
  • Define all the Service Commitments per Service Offering
  • Define relations between Business Services and CI’s. This will result in a Business Service Map showing the relations between Services and CI’s. When registering outages on CI’s you can precisely measure the quality of the service, the way it performs, and which services are affected by the outage of a CI.

    Since Service Offerings are in fact also registered as CI’s in the CMDB, it’s also possible to include the Service Offerings in this structure.

To get a deeper understanding on how to activate the Service Portfolio Management Plugin and how to configure Business Services, Service Offerings and Commitments, I’d like to refer to the Wiki page of

SLA Commitments Plugin

To go one step further you can also activate the SLA Commitments Plugin. Service Portfolio Management – SLA Commitments allow commitments to be defined by an SLA, so that staff can track how efficiently the service desk meets commitments for a service offering.

More information about this topic can be found on the Wiki pages of
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me a mail on

9 Responses to “Service Portfolio Management – Optimizing the delivery of IT Services in”

  1. Conrad Says:


    Nice article.

    I’ve had a quick look over and in SNC and have a couple of questions:

    1. What are the differences between an outage and an incident?
    2. How do you link new or existing incident/s to an outage or service offering?


  2. Benjamin van de Water / 2e2 Says:

    Hi Conrad,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog.
    Question 1: What are the differences between an outage and an incident?
    Answer 1:
    An incident is an unplanned event which leads or might lead to a disruption (outage) of a service. An outage however doesn’t necessarily have to be an incident. A Change for instance can lead to an outage, but when your organization has properly implemented Change Management, it’s called “Planned Outage”. That’s why you can use outage types. The available out-of-the-box types are: Outage, Degradation, Planned Outage.

    Question 2: How do you link new or existing incident/s to an outage or service offering?
    Answer 2:
    Two ways:
    a. The link runs through the CI. Just add the related list “Outage->Configuration Item” on the CI record. In short: The CI is registered on the Incident and the outage is registered on the CI.
    b. Activate the “Task-Outage Relationship” plugin. This plugin allows users to create an outage from an incident and a problem form. Incidents and problems have many to many relationship with outages.
    After the activating the plugin you can right-click the blue bar and click “Create Outage Record”.

    Task Outage screenshot

    If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Best regards,

  3. Conrad Says:

    Thanks Ben, I’m still struggling with the application of outages within the incident management process.

    Scenario – If the Email admin notices Email offline – does he log an incident or an outage? or does he first log an incident and then create an outage for the incident? Would this be a manual process?

    Scenario 2 – Email is reported down from an automated event generated by the monitoring solution – does this generate an outage or a incident? or both.

    I hope you can see my train of thought here I want to look at it from a practical perspective.

    Thanks for your feedback.


  4. Ravikanth Says:

    Hi Benjamin,

    I have a question regarding the effect of outages on the availability of service offering.
    In the example you showed in the article, if there is an outage on the webserver, will it reflect in the availability of a service offering created for the Business service “Bond Trading” automatically?
    Is there a way in which we can achieve this?

    Thank You

  5. Benjamin Says:

    Hi Ravikanth,

    When you have a service offering with a service commitment, ie 99% Availability 24 x 7, the availability is calculated automatically as soon as you register an outage on the service offering.

    You can test this as follows in one of the demo environments.

    1. go to the homepage under self service
    2. click add content
    3. in the left column select Service Offering
    4. in the right column select Bronze apache Hosting
    5. Click on one of the “add here” buttons to add the gauge to the homepage

    6. Go to the configuration module and click on Business Services
    7. Open the Bronze Apache Hosting business service (which is in fact your offering)
    8. Add the related list outage->configuration item
    9. Add an outage of type outage (in this example it’s best to choose at least 24 hours in between start and end time)

    Now go back to the homepage and you can see that the availability has been recalculated.

    I believe this only works when you register the outage directly on the offering. It’s not inherited when you register the outage on an underlying CI (like the web server).

    Best regards,

  6. Paul D Says:

    This post is a great easy to understand explanation of the various levels of record available in ServiceNow.

    1.From your perspective, how do the Service Offerings connect into Service Catalog?

    2.What do you see as the different use cases for the “Business Service Catalog” (directly linked to Service Offerings) and the regular Service Catalog where Catalog Items are managed?

    3.Have you seen any linkage (dynamic or manual) between Business Services > Service Offerings > Catalog Items?

  7. Bunty Says:

    Very informative…something which we are building to a customer now…..but with lot of additional fields…will outage record created when raising a incident on a business service

  8. Maheshwar Says:

    Hi this is a very good summary of SPM

    One query here, does Maintenance window Service commitment affect the availability reports?

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