Information Technology Service Management

Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) is the current watchword in providing effective operations and maintenance services. There are multiple frameworks available to provide guidance for implementation of effective ITSM. Of these, the most commonly used include the Information Technology Infrastructure Library Version 4 (ITIL V4), the Capability Maturity Model Integration Service Constellation (CMMI – SERV), the Microsoft Operations Framework, the ISACA’s Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) framework and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/ International Electrotechnical Commission(IEC)’s ISO/IEC 20000 guidance. Of these, ITIL is the oldest, and provides the basis for all of the other frameworks. But ITIL only provides certification at the individual level, while the others provide audit and assessment at the corporate level. For our clients, we have found that both the individual trainings resulting in ITIL certifications and our corporate level ISO/IEC 20000 registration provide the optimum mix of understanding and mature processes to provide a robust Service Management Solution.

All ITSM frameworks begin with the service desk, and supported by a robust Service Management System. This provides a single, central point for managing all incident and problem resolutions, coordination of activities and work orders, and, most importantly, centralized data about trends in issues, management of assets, and allocation of resources to support consistent, quality services across the full range of network, application, and storage issues that every organization requires. Significant to this framework is the use of methods to ensure continuous service improvement, so that over time, we address issues such as: improving resolution on first call; reducing the number of average calls per person; and providing effective problem management to identify and resolve recurring incidents, among other things.

But more importantly, according to Gartner, the true challenge associated with implementing an effective ITSM solution is that it requires a culture change (Gartner, How to Influence the Collective Mind to Adopt ITIL for IT Service Improvement, July 2011). Classically, infrastructure service has had a more ad hoc, "fire fighting" mentality associated with service delivery. The tendency of individuals to stop a technician in the hall and ask for immediate assistance is a practice that is difficult to change to a culture of process and structured service delivery. Yet we have found that the informal people network that has typically been the largest barrier to effective implementation of a systematic ITSM solution can also be the primary force for change. We have learned to work closely with these people, training them to the concept that implementation of an ITSM solution can help management and improve IT services significantly. The results have been significant – we have reduced the cost of IT service management by reducing the total number of calls, improving the mean time to resolve calls, and taking steps to support more effective IT management, asset management, and capacity management by centralizing information and using it as the basis for analysis to realize improved Return on IT Investments for our clients.


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