Service Management

  • Do your incidents (any service degradation) last longer than you’d expect?
  • Is it always difficult to know who is responsible for managing a problem?
  • Do you feel that lessons learned from previous problems have not been implemented?
  • 80% of problems are caused by a change of some sort.  Do you know what changes have been made to your systems at any one point?
  • Is the system always unavailable for maintenance purposes just when you really need it?
  • Do your customers feel that their needs are not understood and therefore their expectations are not being met?
  • Do you feel that you don’t really know what the total cost of ownership is for your IT systems, i.e. how much it costs to run them now and over the next 5 years?
  • Has IT performance become even more visible as boardroom issues, i.e. unacceptable degradation of service has caused loss of productive hours, higher costs, loss of revenue or perhaps even business failure?
  • Are you being challenged to demonstrate value for money in IT?

If the answer to some or all of the above is YES, then it may be necessary to implement new or enhance existing IT Service Management processes.

What is meant by ‘IT Service Management’?

The ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) definition of IT Service Management is : a top-down, business driven approach to the management of IT that specifically addresses the strategic business value generated by the IT organisation and the need to deliver a high quality IT service. IT Service Management is designed to focus on the people, processes and technology issues that IT organisations face.

The Service Management processes are divided into two core areas, Service Delivery and Service Support.

What are the benefits of using a methodology like ITIL?

ITIL provides a systematic and professional approach to the management of IT service provision. Adopting its guidance can provide such benefits as:

  • reduced costs
  • improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes
  • improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service delivery
  • standards and guidance
  • improved productivity
  • improved use of skills and experience
  • improved delivery of third party services through the specification of ITIL or BS15000 as the standard for service delivery in services procurements.

What are the elements of IT Service Management?

  • Incident Management  –  Service reports ; Incident statistics ; Audit reports
  • Problem Management  –  Problem statistics ; Trend analysis ; Problem reviews
  • Change Management  –  Change schedule ; Change statistics ; Change reviews
  • Release Management  –  Release schedule ; Release statistics ; Release reviews ; Testing standards
  • Configuration Management  –  Reports ; Statistics ; Policy / Standards
  • Availability Management  –  Availability plan ; Targets / Thresholds ; Reports
  • Capacity Management  –  Capacity plan ; Capacity reports ; Targets / Thresholds
  • Financial Management  –  Financial plan ; Costs & charges ; Budgets & forecasts
  • Service Continuity Management  –  IT Continuity plans ; Risk analysis ; Disaster recovery contracts

Which elements to implement first?

The question often asked is, ‘Which process shall I implement first?’ The real answer is, all of them, as the true value of implementing all of the Service Management processes is far greater than the sum of the individual processes. All the processes interrelate with the other processes and in some cases are totally dependent on others.

However, it is also recognised that it is unlikely that organisations can do everything at once. It is therefore recommended that the areas of greatest needs be addressed first.

Silica Associates’ offering is to undertake a detailed assessment to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of the IT service provision. This will be undertaken by performing Customer satisfaction surveys, by talking to Customers, by talking to IT staff and by analysing the processes in action. From this assessment, short, medium and long-term strategies can be developed  –  according to ITIL disciplines. It may be that ‘quick wins’ will need to be implemented in the short term to improve the current situation but these improved processes may have to be discarded or amended as part of the medium or long-term strategies. If ‘quick wins’ are implemented it is important that they are not done at the expense of the long-term objectives so these must be considered at all times.