What is Transition? – Part 1: Introduction

What is Transition? – Part 1: Introduction

By way of introduction to this section, refer to the post on the Outsourcing Lifecycle. The posts dealing with the various sections of this phase will delve more deeply into Transition, providing  more comprehensive details concerning Transition, with particular emphasis on the impacts on the outsourcing client.

ITIL defines Service Transition as “to build and deploy IT services. The Service Transition/Transformation lifecycle stage also makes certain that changes to services and service management processes are carried out in a coordinated way”. These are two very separate activities:

  1. Building and deployment of IT services; and
  2. Changes to service management processes needed to deliver the services.


In the context of outsourcing, many MSPs consider Transition generally as the period of time during which the contract structures are implemented including governance, communications, billing, subcontractor management, all the review boards and their cadences, HR (especially if staff are moving over). This ensures the required interfacing is established between the client business and the MSP so that the services can be inserted/activated. Where the services are basically additive to the environment there is no Transformation, as there is no “change”.

We choose to consider both Transition and Transformation as different stages within the Transition phase of the Outsourcing lifecycle. Regardless of whether there is one phase or two, the same activities must be executed prior to the beginning of Operations, and each of the two stages has very different objectives.  For that reason, we considerTransformation by itself in later posts.

Things to remember about Transition of Services:

  1. Transition begins with contract-signing and ends with the initiation of activities for transformation. In situations where there is no Transformation, Transition ends with the beginning of service
  2. In transition, the service provider begins the assumption of responsibility for providing the contracted services.
  3. In transition, such clauses as SLAs are not yet in force.
  4. At the highest level, the major activities executed by the service provider include Human Resource Management, training, assessments, and planning for such things as communications and transformation, as well as governance, subcontract-management, billing and charge-back, contract management (especially where there is a regular flow of addendums or changes)..

Transition Objectives

As with any engagement, there are different perspectives to consider and each will have a different objective.

You, the Client

For the outsourcing client, Transition is a critical component in terms of the success of the outsourcing engagement. Regardless of your prior situation, or of the terms of the contract, at this point the outsourcing service provider will begin to establish the framework by which they will begin to assume responsibility for provision of the services as defined by the contract. As a client, this is also your first opportunity to influence the on-going relationship. Daily conventions and processes established here will become the de facto standards from this point forward. This is certainly not the time to sit back and let the service provider have total control. Above all, stability must be maintained here. Attitudes formed by client service consumers can be difficult to change, particularly if the quality of the service has a negative impact on the business or on how they do their jobs.

The Service Provider

Again, regardless or prior arrangements, the service provider must begin to assume responsibility for service provision. As soon as is practical, the service provider will, or should, begin planning for the transitioning of services. As with the client, maintaining stability is uppermost in the objectives of the service provider.

We will continue to explore the details of Transition in five further posts:

  • Part 2: Major Activities,
  • Part 3: Interim Process Definition and Execution,
  • Part 4: Managing Risk,
  • Part 5: Assessments, and
  • Part 6: Communications.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *