Standard Operations and Maintenance

Sandy, if you have any more questions, just let me know!

Standard Operations and Maintenance is really something that gets defined in the Service Level Agreement in consultation and negotiation with the customer. It is not really a determination made solely by IT or Operations. It is the customer or receiver of service that helps to establish whether an “outage” has occurred. Because we want to adhere to the terms and conditions set forth in the SLA we want strong controls in place.

I think it is not a question as to whether the Change Management process will be used or not used. It is more a question of the degree of Change Management that will be used. A solid approach would be to establish a clear definition of a Service Change in the organization.

ITIL says it is any “addition, modification or deletion of elements of the delivery of service” [paraphrased]. This is a broad definition and covers just about everything we do in IT.

So, next we need to identify what we actually do in IT to deliver and support services and see if it matches that definition. If it does we need to decide if we want to apply full ITSM control and tracking to that activity (e.g. rebooting a server). This means identifying Configuration Items, applying Incident and Problem Management, and so on through all our established ITSM processes.

Once we have identified the activities we do that constitute Service Changes, we can decide which ones fall under Standard, Normal and Emergency Change types. This will help us determine the degree of Change Management control for that activity.

• Standard: Pre-approved (one time to the Change Advisory Board), low risk, low cost changes, little potential for an “outage”

• Normal: Unique, higher risk, higher cost, greater potential for an “outage”

• Emergency: Cannot wait, serious impact, true emergencies (failure to complete paperwork does not count), “outage” already exists

The bulk of what might be considered “Standard Operations and Maintenance” should be done using Standard Changes. Like for Like (break fix-e.g. swapping network cards) items can be handled as Incidents, which are in effect substituting for a Standard Change.We should use Change Management to establish control, risk management and assurance of the delivery of service (value to the customer), rather than seeing it as an optional process.

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