Importance of ITIL in Customer or Service oriented IT Organisation
As a senior team member of the TBS support team, maintaining professional standards up to the top industry grade is a must. Part of my passion for process diligence is also in sharing best practices and methodologies with my colleagues or new joinees in Support Team and the wider IT community. In TBS we regularly revise our existing processes with amendments and improvement parameters, versus latest market standards.
This relates to TBS, as ITIL in general not only meant for Support departments and Support Team @TBS is having a wide scope of work, which does involves a pinch of work ethics from other departments like Testing Departments, Information gatherings, Managing Client’s expectation, hence ITIL in TBS Support Team is applied as a business, because at TBS we believe that while liaising with customers, potential leads, we are representing complete organisation as “Face of TBS”
Quick brief of ITIL
A customer is defined as “someone who buys goods or services”. Or in other words, in IT, the customer wishes to buy IT services. Often a large company have multiple business units/Departments with different need(s) for IT service.
ITIL is an acronym for the IT Infrastructure Library and provides a source of good practice in Service Management. ITIL is used worldwide by organisations to establish and improve capabilities in Service Management. In the same area, ISO provides a formal and universal standard for organisations seeking to have their Service Management capabilities audited and certified. While ISO is a standard to be achieved and maintained, ITIL offers a body of knowledge useful for achieving the standard.
Services may be acquired from a Service Provider, and a Service provider may provide any type of service. Within ITIL, the definition of a Service Provider is : “An Organisation supplying services to one or more internal/external customer”.
IT Service Management
Service Management is defined as “a set of specialized Organisational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.” These capabilities are shaped as functions and processes for managing services over a lifecycle, with specializations in strategy, design, transition, operation and continual improvement. These stated capabilities represent a service Organisation’s capacity, competency and confidence for action. Vision of transforming resources into valuable services is at the core of Service Management. In order to have strong Service Management, Organisation(s) have to adopt a service-oriented approach for managing IT applications, infrastructure and processes.
Organising IT Service Management – RACI Model
Its imperative to define roles and responsibilities within the Organisation, as this will results in having a successful Service Management.
Benchmark for a reputed organisation is the ability to make the right decisions quickly and execute them with utmost efficiency, which critically depends upon roles and responsibilities, for members of an organisation. Though the decision involves strategic choice or a critical operation, being clear on who has input, who decides, and who takes action will enable the company to more forward rapidly.
The RACI model is very effective in making an organisation’s decision to be made with pace and confidence. RACI is acronym for the four main roles of:
- Responsible: The member or Team responsible for getting the job done.
- Accountable: Only one member can be accountable for each task.
- Consulted: Member(s) who are consulted and their opinions are sought/taken in consideration.
- Informed: Member(s) or Group of Members that are kept up-to-date on progress.
Service Life-cycle Stages
- Service Strategy – Defining Strategy for the IT Service Management.
- Design – Design the services to support the strategy.
- Service Transition – Implement the services in order to meet the designed requirements.
- Service Operation – Support the services managing the operational activities.
- Continual Service Improvement – The interaction between phases are managed through the Continual Service Improvement approach, which is responsible for measuring and improving service and process maturity level.
Once all phases are accomplished, a service period is concluded and another service period begins.
Briefing of Service Lifecycle Stages
At the beginning of the Service Strategy, the IT Service Provider begins to set strategy by managing the requirement (Demand Management), and formulating a strategy to deliver service (Service Strategy), validating the sustainable costs (Financial Management) and introducing the service in the Service Portfolio (Service Portfolio Management). In this phase IT is required to use resources (costs) in consultancy projects at a strategic level. At this stage IT doesn’t provide value to the business.
When a strategy is complete, IT begins to design the service (Service Design phase) by setting the service level requirements for the service (Service Level Management), analyzing the required availability and capacity (Availability and Capacity Management), selecting the suppliers that will support service (Supplier Management), defining the adequate service continuity arrangements (Service Continuity Management), validating and designing the security requirement (Information Security Management) and introducing the service in the Service (Service Catalog Management).
In the third phase (Service Transition phase), the service is ready to be implemented in the live environment. The Service Provider defines the transition plan (Transition Planning and Support) and assesses, approves, implements and plans the change (Change Management Process). After the change implementation, the service is tested (Service Test and Validation) in a “pre-live” environment. If the test is successful, the service is documented (Knowledge Management) and its components are introduced in the Asset and Configuration databases (Asset and Configuration Management). The final activity is to release the service into the live environment (Release and Deployment Management) and after the “go-live”, a post implementation review will be made (Evaluation Management).
In the fourth phase (Service Operation phase), the service begins to be managed and supported in order to reach the agreed upon service level by managing the users’ support requests (Service Desk and Request Fulfilment), monitoring the service event and alerts (Event Management), restoring the service after disruptions (Incident Management), avoiding the incident causes and reduce the incident duration (Problem Management), managing in secure manner the utilisation of service (Access Management), maintaining the software (Application Management Function), executing the day-by-day activities (Operations Management) and supporting the infrastructure (Technical Management).
The Continual Service Improvement phase is involved during all phases of the Service Lifecycle. It is responsible to measure the service and the processes (Service Measurement), and to document the results (Service Reporting) in order to improve the service quality and the processes maturity (Service Improvement).
These improvements will be implemented in the next period of Service Lifecycle, starting again with Service Strategy. And afterwards with Service Design and Service Transition, the Service Operation phase continues to manage operations during all service periods.
Value/Outcome of ITIL
In brief, Process driven IT organisation(s) either large or small, can be very effective with all processes streamlined under 1 generic form, i.e ITIL because ITIL does help in improving and brushing up existing work mechanism with best outcome in terms of achieving organisational goals.