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Heartbeat processes

June 15, 2021
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Service Management is not a theory, it is a way of life. It resonates with what any layman does in his/her day-to-day life. In today’s world, where the consumer is the king and has a wide range to choose from and hence is a buyers’ market, it becomes imperative for any kind of business to serve their customers well. Be it as basic as power, telephony, internet, cab services, food delivery or a flight journey to a resort stay – everywhere the consumer expects best of the service and it is for the service providers to ensure they deliver that and to do that they need to effectively do Service Management. 

Here for this section, we are considering IT Service Management and how ITIL helps to deliver that. ITIL is a framework to support ITSM. However, in reality ITIL is more of common-sense approach that follows Dr.Deming’s principle of PDCA cycle – Plan, Do, Check, Act. ITIL follows the same principle and with all the processes that it has in the latest version, the most commonly used processes are as follows:
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However, before explaining the 4 processes in very simple terms and in brief, let me touch a term we all use these days in our day-to-day life, i.e. - SLA. I will go a bit further and also explain what OLA is as well as what are the underpinning contracts. These 3 components too are key for ITSM. 

SLA : Service Level Agreement.

OLA : Operational Level Agreement.

Underpinning Contracts : The contracts you have with your own vendors internally to   

   support your customers.

  1. For any service organization, the SLA’s are committed to the customer during the signing of the contract.
  2. The operations support team are then usually asked to beat the SLA’s and hence OLA’s come in to picture.
  3. To support all of this, the organization depends on several vendors and it is up to the service providing organizations to ensure right vendors are chosen to deliver as per the contract.

To fulfil the above and as noted earlier, the most important processes that serves this purpose are:

Be it your health or the organization’s health, one needs to monitor it. Configuring thresholds and enabling alerts is key as it warns you and you get time to act before any issue/incident occurs.

There are times when in spite of having controls in place, still an issue occurs, and an incident is raised. An organization needs to have major focus in resolving the incident in best way possible and keep the communication clear. The incident needs to be updated and the updates should tell a story. One needs to measure and keep reducing the MTTR (mean time to restore).

Every incident will either have a workaround or a permanent solution but most of the times it is not known until and unless we do a root cause analysis. This is needed to know the underlying unknown cause of the issue. Once known, there needs to be a corrective action plan to fix it as well as to prevent it from reoccurring.

Often the corrective actions from the root cause analysis (RCA) will have fixes that will mean to make some changes in your environment, some of them may or may not impact other services but to ensure that impact analysis needs to be done, also a roll back plan needs to be in place. Remember, we are putting in the change to fix an issue not to open several other. CAB – Change Advisory Board plays a huge role in ensuring effective change management.

To conclude:

All in all, these 4 processes that are described at a high level are most important ones and are interlinked as well as compliments each other. Needless to say, they eventually help our Service Level Management and in turn Service Management.

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