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IT (information technology) service providers often assume that efficient and effective service delivery can be achieved by migrating to a standard set of tools. This assumption is true only if the service provider has monolithic control over the scope and architecture of the customer environment. The trend, however, is toward selective outsourcing, customer control over the architecture of IT solutions, and retention of legacy tools. Target environments are extremely heterogeneous, and the ability of the service provider to control them is diminishing. Consequently, there is a need for a new approach to IT service workflow automation and a new generation of service-delivery management systems that support heterogeneity and collaboration. This paper introduces a new approach to automating complex and variable workflows, applies this approach to IT service delivery management (SDM), presents an SDM architecture based on this approach, and discusses an SDM implementation driven by this architecture. Our implementation architecture leverages service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles by defining loosely coupled service components and a service fulfillment pattern that dynamically integrates them. We discuss the modeling of performance metrics for service delivery and describe how the monitoring and management of key performance indicators (KPIs) are supported as an integral part of our SDM platform.
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