1 VOL. 1 Année 2005 Le magazine itsmf Chapitre Luxembourg TABLE DES MATIERES Management Summary 2 MAI 2005 Enfin! Votre premier numéro! Une petite organisation...the key to 4 service manage- ITIL et BS ITIL et les 6 universités ITIL et ISO 7 Round table 8-9 Incident Inside Story SLM 10 La parution de ce premier magazine n aura pas pris 9 mois, mais presque! Qu il est ambitieux de vouloir créer un magazine pour une toute jeune organisation comme itsmf Luxembourg. Nous espérons néanmoins que ce premier numéro vous apportera satisfaction et aiguisera votre curiosité quant aux futurs numéros. Nous adressons tous nos remerciements à l équipe itsmf Belge qui nous a vraiment aidé et nous a fourni de la matière pour remplir les 12 pages de ce premier numéro. Au sommaire de ce numéro, quelques généralités sur ITIL et le service management, un article paru dans la presse sur notre organisation, deux pleines pages sur les contrats de qualité de Service (SLA), les évolutions et l orientation vers la normalisation de ITIL. Bonne lecture. Merci de nous être fidèle et n hésitez pas à nous donner de la matière pour que le prochain numéro soit encore plus riche, plus intéressant, en bref, votre magazine sur la qualité des services IT! The goals of itsmf Luxembourg - to develop and promote best practice in IT Service Management - to develop and help the expansion of the Service management in Luxembourg, for both industries and government environment - to engender professionalism within IT Service Management personnel - to provide members with a relevant forum in which to exchange information and share experiences with their peers - to provide a vehicle for helping members to improve service performance and liaise with other parties that share an interest in IT Service Management Et voici les logos utilisés par l itsmf Luxembourg.
2 Page 2 Management summary A quick overview of ITIL A De Facto standard focused on Processes, Quality and Customer. ITIL SERVICE MANAGEMENT Whenever you have people using a service you need to manage that service. Service Management s objective is to ensure delivered service meets, and continue to meet, the business needs in a cost-effective way. Service Management is needed to deliver Quality IT Services Why having Service Management? IT is everywhere, more and more complex and evolving more and more rapidly. IT is important for the business, therefore there is a need, to control the risks and costs related to IT, and those to have structured approach to deliver IT services. Service Management bridge the gap between IT and the business What is ITIL? Best Practice s for IT Service Management A reference model for IT infrastructure management De Facto Standard Focus on Process, Quality and Customer Fit to purpose in order to meet the agreed level of service (not more, not less) Quality improvement need to meet Customer changing requirement To manage, you need to monitor and measure. KPI Focus on Customer ITIL is deeply focused on the customer need s, ultimately bringing the Business objective and strategy to the IT Strategy. ITIL framework is a collection of disciplines The ITIL library series will comprise five principal elements, each of which have interfaces and overlaps with each of the other. The Service Delivery and Service Support are the two main disciplines put in practice in the real world. Focus on Process ITIL bring a structured framework, aiming at managing the quality and quantity of delivered services in a controlled and disciplined way. The ITIL framework brings, Repeatability, Consistency, Stability, Staff Confidence and Quality Focus on Quality
3 Page 3 The Service Delivery book looks at what service the business requires of the provider in order to provide adequate support to the business Customers Service Level Capacity ITSCM Availability Finance To ensure all IT services are agreed upon with the customers and actually delivered in accordance with the agreement in order to meet business needs To have the right capacity, in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost To support Business Continuity Management (BCM) by ensuring the required IT services and infrastructure can be recovered within the required, and agreed, timescales, minimising any effect on the business To optimise the capability of the IT infrastructure and supporting organisation to deliver a cost effective and sustained level of Availability that enables the business to satisfy its business objectives To provide cost-effective stewardship of the IT assets and resources used in providing IT services (enacts the financial policy defined at the company level) Service Delivery The Service Support book looks at what service the business requires of the provider in order to provide adequate support to the business Customers Configuration Service Desk Incident Problem Change Release Configuration Management covers the identification, recording and reporting of IT components and services. Provide a logical model of the infrastructure and of the services Provide accurate information to support all the other Service Management processes (and correct any error in record) Provide a single point of contact to all users, dealing with their "problems", questions and request in order to help them to get the best of IT (offers general advice and guidance) Window on the level of service and professionalism offered by IT Restore normal service asap in order to minimize the adverse impact on the business and to ensure that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. Provide a solution or a workaround Covers incidents and service requests Minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems by diagnosing and resolving service faults, and by proactively preventing the occurrence of incidents and problems Ability to manage the volume of changes needed in an organisation with minimum adverse impact on services Ensure impacts, costs and risks are assesses Provide control through a standard framework and discipline for changes To have an holistic view of a Change to an IT service and to ensure that all aspects of a release, both technical and non technical are considered together The focus is the protection of the live environment through the use of formal procedures Service Support
4 Page 4 Prélancement itsmf à la chambre des métiers le jeudi 17 Novembre Article paru dans Entreprises Magazine, mars itsmf Luxembourg : une petite organisation qui monte itsmf (it Service Management Forum) est une organisation à but non lucratif, gérée par ses membres dont les objectifs sont de développer et de promouvoir les bonnes pratiques en matière de Service Management, d aider à la diffusion et à l expansion de ces bonnes pratiques vers les industries, le monde bancaire, les institutions européennes ou gouvernementales, ou d induire une professionnalisation des personnes impliquées dans des services informatiques explique Sylvie Prime, membre actif du comité directeur: «Notre rôle est donc de diffuser le plus largement possible l utilisation de ces bonnes pratiques, de les promouvoir par des conférences et tables rondes ou, comme nous en avons le projet, par l édition d un magazine à compter de fin mars ou début avril De par la présence de Service Managers confirmés à ces tables rondes, il s opère, avec les participants un véritable transfert de connaissance et de conseils. Le chapitre itsmf Luxembourgeois a été créé en décembre dernier, date à laquelle la première conférence sur le Service Management a réuni plus de 90 personnes. ITIL permet d intervenir sur les processus du Service Management. Il est considéré comme le standard de facto pour la qualité des services informatiques. Il s agit d un recueil de bonnes pratiques qui viennent des pays anglo-saxons et date de la fin des années 80s. Pour information, ITIL se compose d une fonction : le Service Desk et de 10 processus : la gestion des incidents, la gestion des problèmes, la gestion des configurations, la gestion des versions, la gestion des changements, le Service Level Management, la gestion de la disponibilité, la gestion de la capacité, la gestion financière des services informatiques et la gestion de la continuité des services informatiques. «A ce jour, itsmf Luxembourg compte plus de 110 membres payants, 40 membres invités grâce à la dizaine de sponsors actifs, parmi lesquels on retrouve de grandes entreprises de la Place, qui ont tout de suite adhéré à l association. En quelques mois seulement, le bilan d its- MF Luxembourg est donc déjà très positif» précise Sylvie Prime. ITIL a le vent en poupe Grâce à l impulsion des chapitres itsmf de 26 pays différents, ITIL connaît aujourd hui un véritable succès. Le nombre de personnes ayant suivi le cursus «ITIL Foundation» est en croissance exponentielle, de même que le passage de la certification du même nom. Le nombre d entreprises impliquées dans la mise en place de certains processus ne cesse de croître et les résultats sont au rendez-vous (amélioration de résultats, meilleure perception des utilisateurs). Cet intérêt vers ITIL touche tout autant les sociétés de services et de conseils que les moyennes ou grandes structures ; les collaborations entre ces entités n en seront que facilitées de part un langage commun, une compréhension de la finalité de chaque processus et un objectif commun : la qualité en matière de services informatiques. Mais ces bonnes pratiques ITIL restent aussi accessibles aux PMEs et PMIs, rajoute Sylvie Prime. Un bel exemple en est le projet NOE- MI (Nouvelle Organisation de l Exploitation et de la Maintenance Informatiques) géré par le CRP Henri Tudor dont la méthode est désormais transférée vers des sociétés de services désireuses de s approprier le modèle. Le principe en est simple : partager un ou plusieurs informaticiens entre plusieurs PMEs et PMIs n ayant pas la masse critique pour embaucher un informaticien dédié. 3 des processus ITIL sont respectés scrupuleusement dans le modèle NOEMI. NOEMI est un label géré par le CRP Henri Tudor. itsmf Luxembourg est ouvert à toute entreprise qui souhaite faire de la qualité informatique une de ses priorités. Des informations sont disponibles sur le site Personnes de contact : ou
5 Page 5 Standardisation in Evolution - ITIL & BS15000 ITIL is today still the most consistent and comprehensive documentation of best practice for IT Service Management. Used by over a thousand organizations around the world, a whole ITIL philosophy has grown up around the guidance contained within the ITIL books. ITIL consists of a series of books giving guidance on the provision of quality IT services, and on the accommodation and environmental facilities needed to suport IT. ITIL has been developed in recognition of organizations' growing dependency on IT and embodies best practices for IT Service Management. The ethos behind the development of ITIL is the recognition that organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on IT in order to satisfy their corporate aims and meet their business needs, this leads to an increased requirement for high quality IT services. ITIL provides an established foundation for qualitative IT Service Management. The widespread adoption of the ITIL guidance has encouraged organizations worldwide, both commercial and non-proprietary, to develop supporting products as part of a shared 'IT Service Management Philosophy'. The ITIL books are written today in such a way that the BSI Management Overview (PD0005), BS (Specification for service management), BS (Code of practice for service management) and the ITIL series form part of one logical structure. The BSI Management Overview serves as a management introduction to the detailed guidance in ITIL, and correspondingly, the individual ITIL books offer expanded information and guidance on the subjects addressed in within BS For more information about British Standards, visit the BSI website (www.bsi-global.com). The itsmf International Organization is working closely with the British Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the British Standards Institute (BSI) to this end. Other public organizations are starting to collaborate with Local itsmf Chapters to contribute to a general framework alignment from a quality perspective. In 2004, the Dutch itsmf Chapter (www.itsmf.nl) has initiated collaboration with local non-profit organizations active in the ISO and EFQM competence domains. The Belgian itsmf Chapter (www.itsmf.be) intends to follow this initiative in the first half of There is a wide range of products and services available today. Non-proprietary elements include - ITIL Publications (www.ogc.gov.uk) - Qualifications (www.ogc.gov.uk) - itsmf (www.itsmf.com) Elements provided by commercial companies include consultancy, software tools and training. Elements provided by commercial companies include consultancy, software tools and training. A Luxembourg, avec l impulsion du CRP Henri Tudor, un groupe de normalisation SC7 (Sub Committe 7) a été lancé et va permettre à notre Grand-Duché de disposer d une voix, au même titre que les Etats-Unis ou l Angleterre, etc dans le cadre de l acceptation de cette nouvelle norme ISO correspondant à la BS Le site itsmf Luxembourg. Si vous vous y êtes déjà connecté, vous aurez peut-être remarqué que le site n est pas encore optimisé. :-) Les présentations des différentes conférences s y trouvent mais nous en disposons pas à ce jour d un vrai forum de discussion. Nous sommes toujours en phase de discussion avec la France et la Belgique pour partager une seule plate-forme hébergeant les différents sites francophones. Pour la rentrée de septembre, une décision aura certainement été prise. Nous vous tiendrons informés.
6 Page 6 Achat de livres sur ITIL, le Service Management en français.. En étant membre de itsmf Luxembourg, vous pouvez bénéficier de remises de l ordre de 5 à 10% sur les livres commandés chez EXIN (Pays-Bas) ou en Angleterre (itsmf). Pour ce faire, la procédure est très simple: commandez les livres en précisant que vous êtes membre de itsmf Luxembourg Exin ou itsmf se chargent de nous contacter afin de valider l information Vous bénéficierez de la remise sur la facture Deux sites : ou rubrique bookstore. Le premier livre officiel ITIL traduit en français est sorti! Après de longs mois de traduction, de contrôle de la qualité, de nouvelles traductions et de nouveaux contrôles de la qualité, le voici enfin. Son prix : environ 37 en version française (33 pour les membres itsmf)editeur : Van Haren Publishing itsmf Luxembourg dispose d une trentaine d exemplaires, éditions françaises (et anglaises 27 pour les membres itsmf). N hésitez pas à nous en commander! ITIL aux portes des universités françaises par Thierry Chamfrault, Responsable de la Commission Patrimoine, Education, Normalisation - itsmf France Responsable Qualité de Services - Bouygues Télécom Il est rassurant de constater que l'essor et la forte intégration du référentiel ITIL au sein des entreprises et des administrations ne laissent pas indifférent le monde de l'éducation française. De nombreuses écoles et universités ont commencé à intégrer dans leur cursus une sensibilisation - voire plus - aux concepts véhiculés par ITIL. Les cursus impliqués vont de l'iut (bac + 2) jusqu'au master IT (Bac +5) tel que le master MSIT de l'école des Mines de Paris et d'hec (Haute École Commerciale). La dualité "université - entreprise" devrait permettre à chacun de valoriser pleinement et efficacement l'émergence de la "gestion de services", source d'évolution pour les deux parties: De son côté, le monde de l'éducation va mettre sur le marché des acteurs en parfaite adéquation avec les besoins, plus facilement intégrables dans les entreprises, parce qu'ayant dans leurs gènes la conscience que la gestion des services est essentielle, qu'une application n'est belle que lorsqu'elle est disponible et performante De telles ressources sont encore rares. La mise en œuvre du "just in time" pourrait, au sens ITIL, se traduire par : mettre à disposition des personnes "au bon moment, au bon endroit, à un salaire juste". L'entreprise va pouvoir s'enrichir de nouveaux collaborateurs pour qui "service", "production", ou "qualité de service" sont des termes pleins de sens et qui auront enfin en tête le cycle de vie de la solution qu'ils développeront. Ils penseront "service" lorsqu'ils écriront PHP ou J2EE De plus, cela permettrait de mettre en avant et de valoriser des métiers trop souvent ignorés des nouveaux acteurs du marché (voire de l'entreprise elle-même). La demande en formation sur ITIL est actuellement en très forte progression. A contrario, la capacité à y répondre, est très certainement encore bien loin d'être suffisante. Anticiper dès la formation initiale est un acte opportuniste. Si nous portons notre regard vers l'avenir, avec une maturité collective plus forte, pourquoi ne pas envisager la naissance, au delà d'itil, d'une culture de la Gestion des Services, kit de base - voire de survie de tout informaticien. Nous avions rêvé d'intégrer de nouveaux collaborateurs à forte valeur ajoutée, l'université Française est entrain de le faire. Le monde de l'entreprise ne peut que se féliciter d'un tel élan, duquel - il faut le reconnaître - il a été à l'initiative. Il faut aller encore plus loin et construire sur ce pont jeté entre les deux mondes. Faire en sorte que les entreprises apportent leur contribution et s'impliquent pleinement dans la démarche. L'itSMF peut jouer le rôle de catalyseur pour qu'à partir de la gestion des services, le décalage existant entre l'entreprise et le monde de l'éducation se réduise enfin. Lors de sa conférence annuelle, itsmf France a proposé un débat autour de ces thèmes.
7 Page 7 ISO and ITIL in one service! At TechTeam Global, we continuously experience the power of quality in the services we deliver. The ISO9000 certification has been awarded to TechTeam since 1995 and quality has been a driving factor in the delivery of services ever since. The integration of an ITIL process map has furthermore increased TechTeam s capabilities and is proven to be a best-in-class quality driven Service Desk solution. Based on more than 20 years of experience in IT-services, TechTeam has created a proper ITIL service model, which has proven its advantages within our own Service Desk and within our client s Service Desk solutions. The strength of the model is its adaptability to the specific requirements of our customer says Lieven Vanbrackel, Process Manager at TechTeam Global. ISO and ITIL go hand-in-hand The added-value of ISO9000 certifications to the IT Outsourcing businesses as provided by TechTeam is a nobrainer and has positioned TechTeam as a quality-driven service provider. But, quality doesn t stop with ISO. That s where it starts. And I would even say: That s where you have to start. The ISO certification has made every TechTeam employee aware of the fact that quality is the base for a good service. And that is what it is all about: Think quality. By adding best-practice guidelines defined within ITIL, the TechTeam Service Desk solutions have again taken an enormous step forward in improving their IT services. But of course, we had to start somewhere. So, we started with the adoption to the ITIL process map within our own TechTeam Service Desk. That process map has been defined as follows and clearly shows the relationship with the TechTeam business model: These first steps in the world of ITIL have opened new doors to the TechTeam IT team within Europe: Efficient delivery and management of services along with their alignment with business objectives is crucial today if you want to stay at the competitive edge as an IT-organization, says Stephane Olmanst, IT-director TechTeam EMEA. What Stephane says is in fact: You always have to do more and better without bursting the budget. And that is the challenge we are facing every day with all of our customers. TechTeam definitely feels that implementing ITIL processes has increased the quality awareness within the whole organization, a fact that also the ISO auditor noticed and confirmed. Tools and Technology Of course TechTeam had to invest in tools. But, the investments have proven their value within the own TechTeam IT organization but also continue to prove their value within the multiple Customer Service Desks which are managed by TechTeam: Self-Service portal environment; Incident Management toolset; Knowledge Management toolset; Workflow tools; Remote Monitoring tools; Configuration Management databases, Data Mining reporting tools and Service Level Monitoring tools (telephony, incidents, problems, etc.).
8 Page 8 The workshop report: «Table ronde» on the topic of Incident Management Foreword The report is a summary of a workshop covering Incident Management. The goal was to share experiences and ideas with the coaching of itsmf s animator. On February the 10th, around 20 persons shared these topics of interest: Motivation and resistance to change Escalation (Problem between support s team) Classification / Categorisation 1 - Motivation Problems / Questions: How to motivate SD agents to fill out correctly resolution s record to feed the knowledge base? The problem is not only accuracy, real life example show that agents do not enter resolution record at all, resulting in poor knowledge base. Staff or the organization don t care and resist in adopting new procedures and rules. How can we introduce ITIL processes in such an organization? How to deal with resistance in Changes? Table s discussions: Lifecycle: The lifecycle of motivation has to be considered. Motivation can be high at the beginning of a change in the organization, when everyone understands clearly the benefit, outcome and purpose of the Service Support implementation. After the initial excitement period, new habits start to take place, and motivation can decrease. Comments: Motivation can be destroyed easily by the management Culture element start from top, and is cascaded down Motivation affects particularly the Service Desk because it s a difficult job Fear and resistance of Change: Resistance to change is happening at the beginning Change is uncomfortable, so badly perceived Employee who stick to their heroes behaviour Want to keep their powers Linked to Company culture There is a case where employee doesn t change (or even a whole department), obstructing the quality of services. Consider assignment rules and managerial action (it s the company rules and policies!). Culture: It was noted that the culture of a company is a lot more difficult to change than implementing Service Support. The change of culture is resisted by veteran/senior/ mid-management employee, those who are in place since years, and have deep knowledge of the company, and of the very culture to be changed. Salary is not a driver for motivation, as much as a good working atmosphere. Team spirit, good inter-team collaboration and creativity are far more motivating and supporting than, what money could bring. Waking in the morning, and worrying to go to work is a motivation s KPI. To do: It s important to explain the benefit not only for the business, but to everybody To make understand that working and collaborating for a mutual benefit is the key. Motivation has to be managed and fostered: Initiate awareness and communication campaign Management support and buy-in from Senior Mgt. Start with quick wins Deal with Heroes Behavioural training, One to one coaching Have a continuous awareness campaign (training for new comers, ongoing communication on IT achievement and improvement, publication on intranet, ) Motivate the helpdesk by: Following training, passing certification (ITIL foundation) Have a turnover in the IT department to foster collaboration and acquisition of knowledge, and awareness of the business Project task assignment with interesting technological objective (not related to Incident, but linked to Problem and operations) 2 - Escalation Problems / Questions: How to prevent a ticket to not be forgotten or be lock in a support level team? How to resolve the Ping Pong between Service Desk and support team?
9 Page 9 Peoples working on Problem management and operation team are not always willing to shift to incident support as quickly and as effectively as it should. Table s discussions: Generally escalation processes are built in the support software tools, via alerts and escalation workflow. Functional Escalation depends on: 1 A good classification of incidents 2 Linked to the expertise/knowledge of support team 3 Understandable prioritization mechanism Hierarchical Escalation depends on: 1 Knowledge of the Business services and the IT infrastructure that support it 2 Hierarchical level and scope of management s authority 3 Incident duration threshold and related business impact Incident ticket progression has to be fast: have short escalation time, do not wait until the end to escalate. Some service desk centre account the number of closes ticket per agent. This PKI may have adverse impact on the general behaviours of the SD s agents: Lost of motivation, as those who has many small incidents can have the performance, versus those who work on longer incidents. Competition between agent, will alter the quality (focus is to close ticket, instead to supporting customers) Heroes: Are those who most of the time alters the escalation process, example: To please a colleague, he spent more effort than needed and alter the prioritization Implementing a SPOC/Service Desk imply to cut operation s teams from the users. Operation s heroes may encourage users circumvention (to keep their credit). ITIL is about communication, collaboration, transfer of knowledge, creation of procedures and processes improvement. Focus on people skill rather than individual. There is no place for heroes in ITL. To do: Meeting will all players, and absolutely include the Service Desk in IT meeting! Explain that the focus is on customer and processes, not on technology! It s again cultural. The same effort to address motivation should be initiated, as communication and awareness campaign, involved all support and operation teams Looks after escalation incident Opportunities to improve and learn: Identify tickets which moves from one team to another Most of the time it s an underlying problem related to personal and group relationship, as conflict, missunderstanding between team, etc... Manage the escalation processes and procedures: It s not just relying on automatic escalation software tools Support and involvement of managers Manage priorities and revised classification Staff should be aware of the business and IT organization 3 - Classification Classification is the process of formally identifying incident by origin, symptoms and cause. Cover different characteristic: category, type, impact, urgency,.. Classification is one of the processes of Incident Management, which is difficult to get it right. The classification is used to: match to IT services, known errors and resolutions select the best support group to handle the Incident identify the priority based on impact and urgency help to assess and handle quickly the resolution help to identify recurrence of similar incidents Problems: Second level support from operation team has different categorization specification, and doesn t accept the model used for incident management. Staff doesn t adhere to it, as there are too much levels, details and definitions. Especially when it was written by intellectual minded engineer, aspiring to built the perfect model. Be careful with the Misc category, which serves as an all purpose queue To do: Not too many categories (a good rules is maximum 12) Avoid numerous deep category level (3 max.) Simple is better and less prone to human error (better to have ticket correctly categorize in fewer classification, than having many errors Ticket s category change during the lifecycle of the incident, as it passes through different support team. This is a good practice, as it better reflect the reality, and adheres to the different categorization s perception of support teams. (Have all the categorization s states recorded in the ticket s history) ITIL recommend having the customer closing the incident. This can be automated with Auto close features found on most helpdesk software tools Don t to spent too much analysis and intellectual effort to built the best categorization system It s all about navigation! The Art of adapting the path you follow, using the best of your peoples, tools and processes. Article by: Daniel Bonnans SES Astra
10 Page 10 The Key to Quality Service Level Management Introduction ITIL has clear definition of Service Level Management and goes into great detail regarding the process, implementation and the content of the key deliverable the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The question is, is the SLA really the key deliverable? ITIL does not go in to great detail of other items that form the make up Service Level Management and in particular Service Level Requirements (SLR s), Operational Level Agreements (OLA s), Underpinning Contracts (UC s) and the Service Catalogue. This article focuses in more detail on these items and aims to provide detailed guidance on their production. The final outcome will be an understanding of whether ITIL is too focused on the production of SLA s? Service Level Agreements Although this article will not focus on SLA s it is vital to outline what we mean by an SLA. A Service Level Agreement is a documented agreement between IT and its Customer (Internal to an Organisation), on the levels of a service being provided. In my opinion the most important aspect of an SLA is that it is an Agreement and hence bears no contractual weight to meet these targets but it is still a commitment. The SLA should not favour one side but be a fair reflection of what the business wants and what IT can provide and not a smoking gun held pointing towards IT or a method of avoiding providing an adequate service to the business. It does however set expectations of what should be provided. The obvious risk of missing Service levels is damage to the business however one of the biggest failings of not hitting agreed Service Levels is the effect this will have on Customer perception that can ultimately result in Customers losing faith in IT. Another common failing is the inability for organisations to create agreements which are simple to read and concise. An SLA should not be twenty pages long (and my experience this is not uncommon) but be simple, easy to read and preferably no longer than 3 to 4 sides of A4. ITIL itself identifies ways of making this work across large organisations with multiple services. The use of Customer based SLA s (one SLA per Customer across multiple services), Service Based SLA s (one SLA per service), and multi-tiered SLA s where there will be Corporate based SLA s, Customer based SLA s and then Service Based SLA s in three tier format all offer the ability to enable the creation of simple easy to manage SLA s. The Mathematics of Service Management and some simple rules to follow when creating metrics, can be applied to SLA s, OLAS and UC s. Many organisations spend far too long coming up with encompassing SLA s that in truth are not measurable. And thus never give an understanding of how the service is performing, therefore all the work put in to their creation is wasted. Service Level Requirements As mentioned at the very start of this article do we put too much emphasis on SLA s? To begin to understand this, the first question one should ask is where does this agreement come from? To ensure that an SLA can be drawn up and be a fair reflection of business and IT, it is vital the business requirements for any service can be clearly understood and documented. In a mature ITIL environment gathering the requirements will be supported by the Service Desk where appropriate, who are speaking to Customers everyday, and frequent liaisons with the Availability Manager to discuss the Customers perception of the service but even in this environment the ability to gather and document a true set of Service Level Requirements which can then be made in to an SLA is far from simple. The simple fact is that IT and the business speak a different language. To enable requirements to be gathered it is vital that initially Customers are simply asked what they need from a service avoiding the focus on SLA headings such as Availability, Throughput etc. as these will mean little to an everyday User or Customer. In an ideal world where time is not an issue it is useful to sit with Customers who use a service (or in a service being created for the first time, through development, build, UAT etc) and understand their requirements not just take what they say and translate to what we think they want. Once it is clear what they want from a system and you understand what they mean from their requirements it is possible to begin to transfer the information into an SLA. The basic template should be derived from, and maintained within Service Level Management. It may be that certain headings of an SLA are not applicable and if this is the case there is no reason to merely create requirements. This draft should be totally focused on the Customer and reviewed with the business to allow them to understand the translation of their requirements to an SLA and gather a picture of what each section of the SLA means. From this, negotiations can then begin. IT should go away with the requirements and understand if these can be met and where not, be able to offer reason and options. The best way to ensure the business can appreciate why a requirement can or cannot be met, is when it is put in financial terms (extra cost of 24 hour availability). The negotiation period will often result in multiple draft Agreements but the focus must always be what is the most we can provide our Customer without overstretching IT. Operational Level Agreements Now we understand where the agreement comes from how can we begin to ensure that the levels are met within IT? Operational Level Agreements (OLA s) are internal. The easiest way to look at an OLA is that it is an agreement within IT, which does not include an external supplier or internal Business Customer. To ensure an SLA is met it is vital that IT works together to ensure the targets can be hit. A vital piece of the Service Level Management process is prior to implementation of an SLA is that any OLA s and UC s are reviewed. What is the point in creating an SLA, which cannot be met because internally, between support teams, there are no targets?
11 Page 11 An OLA follows a very similar (if not identical) structure to an SLA. It can be interested in the typical areas highlighted in SLA s such as Service Hours, Responsibilities, Support details etc. however the requirements internal support groups have on each other are very different to those outlined in the SLA which encompasses a business perspective. This will mean the language used in OLA s and focus will usually be more technical than in SLA s. It is acceptable to have OLA s that do not focus on typical SLA items such as Availability and Service Hours but are merely a set of statements agreed between IT areas because there is no specific Service to measure. This could be between an IT area and IT procurement where there is no IT service but without this in place IT kit may not be purchased in time to support SLA s somewhere else in the business. A common misconception of OLA s is that every SLA has a specific set of OLA s in place to meet them. This would result in departments having multiple, potentially duplicate, OLA s and become unmanageable and impossible to measure. An example of an OLA that every IT organisation should have in place is between the Service Desk and the support groups. This is vital in restoring service and hence part of meeting all SLA s. OLA s are notoriously difficult to get in place, as internal areas often do not want to feel that one area is being pressured more than another. It begins an interesting internal IT battle where it is vital that the Service Level Management team are empowered to make decisions. Underpinning Contracts Underpinning Contracts (UC s), often called Schedules, are contractual agreements between any third party suppliers of IT Support to your IT Organisation. It is vital to keep these up to date and ensure that the third party will provide required levels of support as necessary. This is different to an OLA and SLA because it is contractual so these targets MUST be met once agreed and failure for meeting these targets may well result in legal action. The UC will be full of legal jargon and hence will also be larger than an SLA or OLA and is more complex to read. The important thing to remember when writing and agreeing an Underpinning Contract is to ensure you aim the targets at the correct level. For example if your Service Hours are too high the Contractor may charge more for their service, if they are too low an Organisation may incur large costs for out of hours support. This is a fine balance but one which must be accurately managed by the Service Level Manager and their team. Service Catalogue How do we know what Services we provide and hence what needs an SLA in place? This is the one of the jobs of the Service Catalogue. The Service Catalogue is often overlooked in its importance. The best way to approach the population of a Service Catalogue is to understand what Services the Customers perceive. It is not uncommon for a Customer to have a single service that is made up from three or four separate applications where at least one of these is invisible to the business. By asking Customers (i.e. SLR s) you can begin to document what goes in to the Service Catalogue, where the complete set of ITIL processes are in use it will be possible to get some of this information from the Service Desk who receives comments directly from Customers on the Services provided. Any Service Management tools should also be audited as Services forgotten about by IT may still be active and have had Incidents, Problems and Changes logged against them. The Configuration Management Database Conclusion will also outline Services, but the key is always to understand the Customers perception. A Service Catalogue can appear in many different formats such as word documents, spreadsheets etc. and ITIL does offer guidance on the sort of information captured in the Service Catalogue, however expanding on this to make a catalogue a worthwhile within an IT support Organisation, I personally feel the following items should be considered: * Service Name * Basic Service Description * Key Business Users * Importance of Service * Key Support Areas * Planned Maintenance/Outage data * SLA (in place + where it is located) By providing slightly more information it is possible to use this resource within a Service Desk to support the allocation of priority to faults and direct Incidents to the relevant area alongside the Configuration Management Database. This will also aid in the general support Service Desk staff can give to improve Customer satisfaction through system knowledge, understanding Customer usage etc. The Service Catalogue should also facilitate the ability for organisations to speak the same language. I personally empathise with ITIL in its reluctance to detail how to use OLA s, SLR s, UC s and the Service Catalogue because these subjects are not simple to define. The techniques in writing and documenting SLA s are much more prescribed than any of the other areas that are open to debate and an Organisations Service Level Management groups perception of the framework. It could be a weakness that this is the case as many companies have decided against OLA s and UC s and use SLA s throughout their IT support structure which will often detract, and potentially destroy, the benefits delivered by Service Level Management due to the prescribed format of SLA s which will not fit third parties and internal support groups., however every organisation is different and hence every OLA and UC format will also differ from organisation to organisation. ITIL is very focused on the production of SLA s but I do not believe that they over emphasise this point. The framework is very much Customer based and trying to improve the IT service that is provided to the business and hence looks at how the production of SLA s helps support this. The important thing to realise is that SLA s are pointless if they mean nothing and without the deliverables highlighted within this article Service Level Management will fail as a process. If SLA s are the key deliverable of SLM then it is fair to say that the above deliverables are the locksmith cutting the key to ensure it fits the Service Level Management lock. Article by: Karsten Smet
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