In corporate environments the importance of designing a service that is easy to understand, operate and change should not be underestimated. The result of that exactly defines how successful a business is.
Neglecting this makes you less competitive. A lot of consequences follow, from increased costs in maintenance, to the loss of quality.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) focuses on a lot of these aspects, that's why modern companies often highlight having even the most basic ITIL Foundation certification as an additional requirement that is considered an advantage. The course itself is deeply theoretical and boring as hell and I would really only recommend it to people who have practical experience, but as the business employment requirements go up, you might consider to add it to your bag of knowledge.
In my perfect world an efficient service model would be described as fully automated solution that requires almost zero manual user interaction and communication (those human communication costs can really ruin any business, remember how often the client starts inquiring about something unrelated to his original request? especially if it's direct human contact!). A crazy thought - imagine what would happen if every single user of Windows operating system would have an option to contact Microsoft support directly.
And then comes the cutting down maintenance and change operation costs, which is a tough task for any business.
So what products are there on the market to get there?
One of the more recent solutions that I've noticed on my radar is Microsoft System Center Service Manager Beta 2012.
The initial impressions are that you can build and integrate any process of your business by using pre-defined templates and built-in tools or by scripting each step separately. All based and made available to users through a self-service portal.
You start with something simple as "Add a new employee to Department N" and build the whole process workflow from there - configure an approval process, configure a domain user account, configure AD groups for that account, send an e-mail with the initial password, links to company policies, guidelines.
Or implement a process that allows the colleagues of an employee to request an account unlock/password reset/new password request for his user account instead of calling service desk directly by phone.
These examples can be made available with a single click. Options are almost limitless, provided you have the resources and time to manage and integrate such products into your environment and really make sure they suit your needs.
Case study: FullArmor Integrates Microsoft Solution Accelerators into PolicyPortal
Sneak Peek at Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2012 Concepts