Service Management

 

Delivering IT services to the business in a consistent & reliable manner is challenging for most IT departments.  “Do more with less” is the mantra but how to do it was left vague and undefined. Often IT is called upon to develop systems for the business that require some ongoing tasks to maintain. These workflows are not technical in nature, but since they were initiated in IT they becomes politically attached to IT.  Business managers don’t readily volunteer to take ownership of tasks that IT developed.  Over time these orphaned workflows become liabilities to an IT department that will lead to a failure.  The scale of policies and philosophies required to gain control of an IT department is daunting. After trying to paste together a methodology from many management books I came across ITIL and was surprised to find a framework that answered the how to get IT done. The official ITIL site is a great resource for learning about the framework so I will only summarize its parts in order to define tools within each component of ITIL which I find useful for IT Management.

Service Strategy – Business Goals and Business Sponsor

Service Design – Effective Implementation. Specific Steps (What, When, Where & Who)

Service Transition – From Project to Day to Day. Show me the documentation

Service Operation – Efficient Workflows and Checklists

Continual Service – Measure IT, Report IT and Improve IT

It’s critical to be able to measure what IT does.  Usually IT professionals get caught up in doing things for the business that they don’t see.  Instead they need to focus on making things happen that the business wants. There is slight difference in the statements and my aim is not to confuse anyone, but understanding and accepting the difference is crucial in IT management. There are many activities that must be monitored and maintained in IT but not doing them may not lead to a failure on any given day. You can be really busy doing thing that need to be done that the business will just not care about. These are the activities an IT manager should strive to automate and/or outsourced. Internal IT staff should be focused on activities that make thing happen for the business.

In order to make these decisions you need to measure what you’re doing and automate what you can.  As an IT manager you must have some kind of service management tool in order to gather data from your endpoints (desktops, server, and router).  From this data you must be able to report trends from the events occurring on your network. These trends will define your metrics that will inform you and your team of not just network and device performance, but also their performance to the business. If you want to say you have value then you have to prove it. There are many tools (products & Service) out there for accomplishing this Kaseya, Enable, Levelplatforms, Zeinth, Spiceworks, TrackIT, and many more that I have used over the years.  I prefer Kaseya because of its scripting based approach to managing endpoints and ease with which reports can be automated.

Evaluating IT Projects and Budget

Compete vs Qualify

  • Mandatory
  • ROI
  • Breakthrough

Traditional IT Management by Technology

  • Network, Backup, Storage, Desktop, Security, Servers

But these are not “a service” to the business and thus it’s difficult to assign value to this silo based method. You get to value by creating teams around what the business needs.