Service Operation and the Service Lifecycle – Yesterday and Today

ITSM Best Practice will align five main process with the lifecycle of “Service Operation”.
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Event Management
  • Request Fulfillment
  • Access Management

 It was not too long ago that the idea of some of these processes were new to service providers. Most will find them to be common in today’s market place.  An organization may not literally follow the best practices for the service operation processes but most likely have some close facsimile when executing Incident, Problem, Request Fulfilment, and Event management processes for provisioning IT services and support.  In order to ensure identity management and authorization for access, some form of “Access Management” will also be needed to support an overall security policy in Service Operation.  I would like to focus on some thoughts for “Event Management” and early engagement of operational staff in the service lifecycle.

As organizations mature they begin to realize the value of taking these process activities and expanding the scope of their capabilities to address problems early in the lifecycle.  Finding defects (events) early in the development can ensure a more stable environment and also save an organization a lot of time, money and resources.  We used to think that if we instrumented our monitoring tools for components in the infrastructure that we were actually being proactive.  That is to say, the service provider could identify the incident in advance of the customer or end user and take action before there was a great business impact.  Hmm… is that really proactive?  We also used to think that getting an insurance quote in 15 minutes was great and today commercials make fun of that notion.

Benefits from “Event Management” and proactive monitoring in the production environment still ring true.  But, what if we applied that same mentality and method for monitoring to our development lifecycle.  What if we could proactively alert on events that could result in defects before products moved into the delivery lifecycle.  What if we could monitor manage, measure and report upon process activities to discover “problems” and “root cause” prior to a service being deployed.  The answer is that we could begin to design anti fragile software and more stable environments.  Even more important is that the service provider will gain a huge cost savings for the resource and effort that it takes when we are reactive and consistently in firefighting mode.

Caution!  It is critical that a service provider does not see a “Proactive” state of maturity in their organization as the end goal.  The idea is that once we become more proactive we can finally position our technical staff in design process activities such as Capacity, Availability, Security and others early on in the development and design lifecycle stage.  That is right! According to best practice for IT Service Management Capacity and Availability are actually processes in the “Service Design” lifecycle.  When asked, many IT practitioners position them as processes for “Service Operation”.  Including process activities for Capacity, Availability and Security early in the Lifecycle an organization allows us to design for availability, design for security, and also allows the provider to focus on a design that allows for tremendous cost savings while enabling the staff for success. 

There will always be a reactive side to these processes in support of problem and incident management but focusing on them early in Service Design will allow your organization to excel in “Service Operation”.  Once stable the true activities for monitoring, reporting and sustaining performance in Service Operation can be truly optimized.  Where are you?  Are your Incident and Problem management processes separate?  Can you optimize “Request Fulfillment” in a timely fashion to meet the need of your customers?  How are you applying “Event Management” to bring real business value?    

In addition to education opportunities be sure to check out some of the resources at this site for ongoing improvement of Service Operation:    http://www.itsmacademy.com/itil-lifecycle-course-service-operation-accredited/

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