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Why Service Owners Are Integral to IT-as-a-Service Delivery


The service owner role is central for an IT organization that is operating IT as a service (ITaaS). Why? Because the service owner is accountable for delivering services to customers and users, and accountabilities include:

To act as prime customer contact for all service-related enquiries and issues
To ensure that the ongoing service delivery and support meet agreed customer requirements
To identify opportunities for service improvements, discuss with the customer, and raise the request for change (RFC) for assessment if appropriate
To liaise with the appropriate process owners throughout the service management lifecycle
To solicit required data, statistics and reports for analysis, and to facilitate effective service monitoring and performance
To be accountable to the IT director or service management director for the delivery of the service
Please note that I emphasize “accountability” instead of “responsibility.” The service owner is accountable, meaning they set the goals and oversee the execution. The actual execution is performed by individuals or functions that have the “responsibility” for each activity.

Let’s take a closer look…

The service owner is the main escalation point for all service-related compliments, complaints, and other issues. You can think of the service owner as a sports coach, directing how the team should play a particular game, but not really participating by playing in the game. As the coach is accountable to the team’s owner for the team’s success, so is the service owner accountable to the customer(s) and the service management director for ongoing quality of the service.


The service owner role has accountabilities in each of the five lifecycle stages, as defined by ITIL:

Service strategy
Service design
Service transition
Service operation
Continual service improvement
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