IT Service Management (ITSM) & Operations – Overview of the Availability Management Process

Background

In many cases ITSM Availability Management Process is overlooked due to other frontline processes such as incident, problem and change management. I have provided a summary of this availability management process and significance below. I hope that the information is useful for your organisation in order to define and implement the process.
Objectives:

  • Availability management has to ensure that the delivered availability levels for all services comply with or exceed the agreed requirements in a cost-effective way and enables the business to satisfy its objectives.
  • Provide a range of IT Availability reporting to ensure that agreed levels of Availability, reliability and maintainability are measured and monitored on an ongoing basis.
  • Create and maintain a forward looking Availability Plan aimed at improving the overall Availability of IT Services and Infrastructure components to ensure existing and future business Availability requirements can be satisfied.

Scope:

  • Designing, implementing, measuring, managing and improving IT services and the components that are used to provide them.
  • Services and processes:
  • Business processes
  • Future business plans and requirements
  • Service objectives, current Service Operation and delivery
  • IT infrastructure, data, applications and the environment
  • Priorities of the business in relation to the services

Industry Good Practice for this Process

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Availability management is part of service design and it is one of the critical process because the reliability of a service or component indicates how long it can perform its agreed function without interruption.

Activities – Reactive (Executed in the operational phase of the lifecycle)

  • Monitoring, measuring, analysing and reporting availability of services and components
  • Unavailability analysis
  • Expanded lifecycle of the incidents
  • Service Failure Analysis (SFA)

Activities – Proactive (Executed in the design phase of the lifecycle)

  • Identifying Vital Business Functions (VBFs)
  • Designing for availability
  • Component Failure Impact Analysis (CFIA)
  • Single Point of Failure (SPOF) analysis
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
  • Risk Analysis and Management
  • Availability Test Schemes
  • Planned and preventive maintenance
  • Production of Projected Service Availability (PSA document
  • Continuous reviewing and improvement

Inputs/Outputs

Inputs:

  • Business information, organisation strategy, financial information and plans
  • Current and future requirements of IT services
  • Risk analysis
  • Business impact analysis
  • Service portfolio and service catalogue from service level management process
  • Change calendars and release management information

Outputs:

  • Availability management information systems (AMIS)
  • Availability plan
  • Availability and restore criteria
  • Reports on the availability, reliability and maintainability of services

Summary

In summary, ITSM Availability Management measures three important aspects: how long a service can perform without interruption (Reliability), how quickly a service can be restored when it has failed (Maintainability) and how effectively a third party supplier deliver their services (Serviceability). These three aspects are key performance measures in ITSM availability management. Availability Management has to be discussed at the design phase of IT Service Management. Hope you found the above information useful. Thanks

Cloud Operations Model and Project Stream – Considerations

Background

Cloud operations stream is responsible for designing and operation of the cloud model for the project and BAU activities. This stream is primarily responsible for people, process, tools and information. The model can change as the organisation’s requirements and type of business.  

Aspects Cloud Operations Model

Below is an example of key aspects that we need to consider when defining Cloud Operations Model.
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Cloud Operations Stream  – High Level Approach

Below is an example model for how to track a cloud program operationally.
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Cloud Operations Stream – Governance

Below is an example model for cloud operations stream governance, which can be used to guide the operations stream.
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Summary 

Hope you found some of these aspects and considerations mentioned above is useful. Thanks

ITSM – Service Catalogue – Summary

Definition

  • The Service Catalogue represents a trusted record of the services provided by Information Technology (IT), its default capabilities, measures and primary means of access and provision.
  • It is the means by which we articulate WHAT we manage and measure. It is the hidden power of how we set the customer’s expectations and exceed them.
  • It can provide an essential medium for communication and coordination among IT and its customers, and should distinguish between Business Customers (the ones paying for the service) and End Users (the recipient of the service).
  • If CMDB is the system of record for what IT did, then the Service Catalogue becomes the system of records for what IT does.
  • ITIL recommends the development of a Service Catalogue as the first step in the Service Level Management (SEM) process.

Why Service Catalogue is Required?

Show the value of Information Technology (IT)

  • For IT to be fully successful, IT needs to be strategically aligned to the business and positioned as a key enabler in achieving successful outcomes for the organisation.
  • It is not enough for IT alone to consider itself successful at what it does. IT needs to provide real value to the organisation that directly achieves business outcomes that the organisation wants to achieve and should be able to deal with the ever changing needs and demands of the organisations and their customers.
  • IT should also be capable of demonstrating how it provides business value to the organisation to ensure that IT is positioned within the organisation as a core strategic asset.

To support the above, it will be good for IT to develop a Service Catalogue that defines the scope, characteristics and costs of available services and products, and allows for better management of the IT environment as a whole.
The basic requirement to do all this is to have a clear definition of the services the IT organisation provides, the components and resources that make up the service, and the associated costs for these services.
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Why Service Catalogue is Important?

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Service Catalogue Types and Recommended Construction Approach

The two types of Service Catalogues are records based and actionable based.
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Characteristics of Different Views

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Attributes of a Service Catalogue

An effective Service Catalogue should be:

  • Constitutive – what IT does and does not, and on what terms.
  • Actionable – provides the means by which IT and its customers coordinate and conduct business.
  • Governing – conditions and controls defined in the Service Catalogue are integrated into the service delivery processes.

An ideal Service Catalogue should have the following six attributes:

  1. User-Relevant Services – A Catalogue that users understand
  2. Accessible Service Description – Speaking the customer’s language
  3. Objective Performance Accountability Metrics – Setting clear performance goals
  4. Actionable Pricing Information – Helping customers understand their costs
  5. Consumption Management Tips – Not all costs are created equal
  6. Adoption Facilitation Mechanisms – Reading like a best seller

Service Catalogue – Format

  • Service Catalogue can be a simple list in Word or Excel document, or as comprehensive as installing specific tools designed to create formal Service Catalogues.
  • The catalogue should contain items that are visible to customer, and additional information that used by service delivery team to ensure smooth delivery. Items visible to customer include:
    • A description of the service
    • Disclosure of any perquisites or required services
    • Approval levels

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Service Catalogue – Links to the Different Elements within IT Service Lifecycle

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Tips & Challenges with Implementing a Service Catalogue

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Recommended Implementation  Approach

Phase One – Build foundation

  • Start with simple
  • List all Service Management services containing key attributes and in customer perspective
  • Availability of Service Catalogue via selected media

Phase Two – Deploy

  • Detailed and comprehensive
  • Expand attributes to the most popular Service Management services in customer perspective
  • Service Catalogue document control
  • Marketing – Service Catalogue

Phase Three – BAU

  • Review, improve and expand Service Catalogue

 
Hope you found these useful.

The Consumption-based Service Management Model

One question all organisations should be asking themselves is what happens to traditional managed services models once we shift towards cloud computing?

In the past, managed service providers would tell you why, what and how they deliver service management so it will provide value to your organisation. The end result would likely be a fixed term service management model.

Technology has always been a fast-pace landscape which has made the delivery of long term value to customers out of service management agreements challenging. If you thought it was already fast, cloud computing has put the accelerator to the floor! All of which means the way service management models handle change has to go on a transformative journey as well.

What is service management?

ITIL defines Service Management as “a set of specialised organisational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services”.

There are two important questions any managed service provider must ask themselves:

  1. Are you capable?
  2. Are you providing value?

Key to answering these questions are people and the way that they provide value.

As we progress more towards a cloud computing model we find the following:

The managed service provider will intermediate between the cloud service provider and consumer, aligning the two and ensuring minimal service disruptions.

So how does this change the traditional methods of service management for an organisation?

Hello to the new approach

Let me introduce consumption-based service management (to be fair, it’s not a new concept but a model that will potentially redefine the way services are being delivered).

In this model the consumer pays for the value that you as the managed service provider will deliver on a consumption, rather than a fixed, basis.

I’m going to use a metaphor here:

As more and more organisations recognise the importance of the cloud, they have a ‘light bulb’ moment.  They come to realise that they only need pay for the said light bulb when it’s on. Also, typically the switch used to turn it on or off is included in this cost.

Was that metaphor enlightening?

The obvious follow on is to ask why should managing cloud environments not align with the way that the cloud is being consumed? Hence we arrive at a model based on consumption service management.

So what does this mean for the day to day operations of a managed services model?

The customer will cover the cost of the cloud provider and the supplier managing the service, ensuring the technology is being effectively managed, but to our metaphor above, why should they cover this when the lights are off? It’s here where we find value of consumption-based service management.

If the customer needs service management all the time, then you have to begin to wonder why? What are the changes one needs to put into place to remediate?

This change in model will surely flip everything upside down. How we measure service consumption in this case?

Is there a different way of measuring value? What impact that would have on the traditional measurements and costs associated?

Regardless of the above, the central goal to this consumption-based model will still be value, which will continue to drive conversations and delivered outcomes.

When you sit down to reflect or dream at what managed services for your organisation will look like in the cloud you should think about consumption-based service management and delivery thereof.

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